How do you test for defective drywall in your home?


Quick Answer

Defective drywall, popularly known in the press as Chinese drywall, requires visual inspection by an expert and outside lab testing to identify accurately, although telltale signs include a strong sulfur smell and eye or skin irritation. Corroborating evidence of defective drywall include elemental sulfur in the drywall core and blackened, corroded copper electrical wires.

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Full Answer

Defective drywall is typically present in homes with drywall installed between the years 2001 and 2009. This drywall has a high concentration of sulfur in the drywall core, causing electrical circuits and wires in contact with the drywall to become corroded and blackened. Additionally, these drywall panels emit sulfide gas and induce corrosion.

All of these factors can be tested at properly equipped laboratories, although home-testing kits exist. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that these test kits are not federally approved and neither are most commercially available inspections and other quick fixes. The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers homeowners information and guidance on how to test and remedy defective drywall through its Safety Education Center website. This website provides homeowners with comprehensive access to drywall investigation documents, an email address and phone number where complaints can be filed, and email alerts for further information the investigation obtains.

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