Does Your Home Have Chinese Drywall?

 

Kross Inspectors is the FIRST Home Inspection Firm in the Country to offer Chinese Drywall Inspections. To date, we have performed over 16,000 inspections throughout Florida!

Kross Inspectors does include a Chinese Drywall Inspection for FREE with Full Home Inspections on Homes Built 2001-2010. Appointments are available within 24 hours of your call. 

Below are a few frequently asked questions. If you do not see your question here, please email Info@krossinspectors.com or call our Chinese Drywall Hotline at 1-877-496-4662 for a free telephone consultation with one of our experienced Inspectors. Inspectors are available Daily from 8am-8pm to take your call. You may also sign up for our weekly "Chinese Drywall Update" at the bottom of this page.  

 

chinese drywall

2005 was the most active hurricane year in recorded history.  This along with the housing boom during that time caused a shortage in supply of American made drywall.  An estimated 550 million pounds of drywall from China was shipped to U.S. ports to help keep up with demand. 

During 2007 and 2008, a new phenomenon of rapid corrosion of copper evaporator coils began to occur in newly constructed homes.  In many cases, the air conditioning systems failed within 6 months of occupying the home.  Several tests conducted by government agencies and private sector companies revealed that the drywall installed in these homes was producing a volatile sulfur gas that created tiny pin holes in the air conditioning system's evaporator coils.  These tiny holes allowed the unit's refrigerant to be released, disabling the unit's cooling properties.  It was also found to be affecting all of the home's ferrous metal components, including copper ground wires, copper & brass plumbing components, etc.  Personal property such as precious metals and mirrors also were affected. 

Many of the occupants of these homes complained of respiratory problems including sore throats, coughs, nose bleeds, and sinus headaches. 

Since the drywall associated with this problem was imported from China, the media quickly labeled the phenomenon as "Chinese Drywall". 

    Update 7/1/2012:  Kross Inspectors has now positively identified problem drywall manufactured by an American company.  This revises our findings in over 16,000 Inspections that we now have laboratory proof that a domestic company has provided problem drywall to consumers.  To find out more, call our Chinese Drywall Hotline at (877) 496-4662 or email Info@krossinspectors.com.

defective drywall

The composition of the defective drywall was found to have higher concentrations of elemental sulfur (orthorhombic sulfur) than that found in non defective drywall.  (See Executive Summary Released On 10/29/2009 by the Interagency Task Force on Chinese Drywall)

The Consumer Product Safety Commission serves as the lead agency within the interagency task force that also includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as well as the Florida Department of Health, the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and the Virginia Department of Health, among others.

The general public is encouraged to monitor the federal government's drywall investigation at www.drywallresponse.gov

Great progress has been made by the Federal Interagency Task Force in identifying homes that may contain problem drywall.  Please visit www.krossinspectors.com/chinesedrywallinspection to find out more about the latest techniques recommended by the Task Force.

chinese tainted drywall

There are many different methods of identifying homes with defective drywall.  The most popular method is a protocol developed by Kross Inspectors, the first Home Inspection company to offer Chinese Drywall inspections.  This protocol is popular due to its comprehensive and invasive, yet NON destructive method of identifying symptoms of defective drywall.  To find out more about the Kross Inspectors Chinese Drywall Inspection, visit www.krossinspectors.com/chinesedrywallinspection

xrf

No.  Studies performed by the federal government have found that XRF technology often produces false test results. This may mislead consumers into making big mistakes.  XRF technology tests the drywall for the level of Strontium contained.  Testing has proven that the strontium in drywall is NOT the source of the problem.  The only testing considered reliable by the Federal Government and Professional Inspectors is laboratory chamber testing for the presence of orthorhombic sulfur.  Currently there are no field tests available.  These tests must be conducted within an independent laboratory and are only representative of the individual sheet of drywall in which a sample was removed.

However, studies have proven that if positive indicators are not found in the Kross Inspectors comprehensive visual Inspection protocol, then laboratory testing is not necessary. 

    Consumer Warning:  DO NOT hire an Inspector that cites any guidance issued by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission older than 3/18/2011 - Inspectors using outdated guidance issued by the CPSC are placing consumers at great risk. 

This is very complicated.  Defective drywall is suspected of being imported to the U.S. from 2004 through 2006 (but confirmed cases were found outside of that date range).  The most predominant year built of homes found to have defective drywall is 2006.  However, it should be noted that defective drywall has been found in homes as old as 1965 (home was remodeled with defective drywall). 

Kross Inspectors has conducted over 16,000 Chinese Drywall Inspections since early 2009.  These inspections have revealed that only 5% of these inspected homes that were built between 2004 and 2008 were found to have defective drywall installed. (Cases were found in homes built as early as 2001 and as late as 2010)  That may not sound like a large percentage, but if you take into consideration that the U.S. Census reports over 8 million single family and multi family housing units were built in this time period, then approximately 400,000 of those homes may be affected by defective drywall. 

Are there any Home Builders or Developments that I should avoid?

It is rare to find any home builder or development that was not affected.  Therefore, you should use caution with any home built or remodeled since 2001.  

Can Chinese Drywall spread from one condominium unit to others?

Of course the drywall itself is not an organism that can grow and multiply. In order to understand, consider the actual problem itself:  Defective drywall contains elements that create a chemical reaction when subjected to higher temperatures and humidity. This chemical reaction produces "off gassing".  This off gassing can naturally travel beyond its source.  However, the typical condominium building constructed during the suspected time period is built to standards that prevent the "off gassing" from traveling to adjoining units.  

Our best advice to give to a homeowner if we have confirmed that their home is affected by defective drywall is to contact an attorney immediately.  Although some builders are assisting in remediating the problem, it is always a good idea know your rights in a situation as sensitive as this.  Many law firms across the country have turned to Kross Inspectors to provide expert witness and inspection services for their clients. 

On March 18, 2011, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Consumer Product Safety commission (CPSC) issued interim remediation guidance to help homeowners.  This release can be found by clicking HERE.  The guidance issued does outline a very common sense approach that simply entails removing the source of the problem (the defective drywall) and replacing the components that are affected.  However, the guidance does leave some elements that may cause the home to display symptoms AFTER the defective drywall is removed, often rendering the home uninsurable or unmarketable!

Consumers are cautioned to be wary of companies and contractors offering these services.  Not only should consumers verify that the contractor is licensed and insured (specifically for Chinese Drywall Remediation). 

    Consumer Warning:  Beware of companies that offer to inspect AND remediate.  An alarming number of companies are surfacing that offer to confirm the problem, then make thousands of dollars in profit making the repairs!  This is an obvious conflict of interest.

Consumers are encourage to hire a non affiliated third party inspector to oversee and document the remediation process.  Furthermore, a professional review of the Contractor's remediation "Scope of Work" or "Protocol" is encouraged BEFORE paying a deposit!  To find out more about remediation consultation and inspection services, visit www.krossinspectors.com/drywallremediation.  Please call our Chinese Drywall Hotline at 1-877-496-4662 for a free consultation PRIOR to hiring a contractor to remediate your home!

How much does it cost to repair a home that is found to have Chinese Drywall?

There are now hundreds of contractors performing Chinese Drywall Remediation services throughout the country.  We have witnessed remediation efforts that cost as little as $15 per square foot and up to $85 per square foot.  Please keep in mind that you do "get what you pay for".  The lower cost remediation contractors tend to take "shortcuts" that do compromise the process and leave the home's occupants at significant risk.  It is important to compare the Contractors' "Scope of Work" or "Protocol" before making a decision.  Consumers should also understand the risks involved (health and safety) when comparing. 

Be very diligent in your research.  We have witnessed many speculators entering the market thinking that a Chinese Drywall home is a great opportunity for a profit from flipping.  Most of these speculators realized, AFTER PURCHASE, that in order to maximize profit, they could not perform a FULL remediation of the property.  These speculators bought one or two homes, then stopped after losing money on each deal and sometimes even having to keep the home because the home was not properly remediated!

There are a few insurance companies that offer coverage for remediated homes.  However, the most valuable protection a consumer can obtain is a third party "witness" that ALL drywall was removed from the home.  Common sense tells us that the best solution is to remove the source of the problem (the drywall).  The only way to ensure this is to have a disinterested third party review the remediation process and ensure that all drywall was removed from the home and replaced with non-defective drywall.

However, if a remediation contractor offers a warranty or insurance policy with their Chinese Drywall Remediation contract, this too should be reviewed by an experienced consultant PRIOR to engaging the contractor's services. 

No.  The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulations has confirmed that individuals performing Chinese Drywall Inspections DO NOT have to be licensed.  Unfortunately, this does allow many inexperienced individuals into the field of Chinese Drywall Inspections.  As the leading provider of Chinese Drywall Inspections in the country, we caution consumers to verify that an individual is experienced and qualified to perform a Chinese Drywall Inspection.  All of our Inspectors undergo rigorous training in our proprietary Drywall Inspection protocol.  You can rest assured that you are receiving an accurate inspection from Kross Inspectors.

 

On 11/29/2010, Fannie Mae issued a service announcement modifying its current policy for unique hardships from problem drywall. To view this update, please click here: Fannie Mae Announcement 11-29-2010.pdf 

 

Our review of the updated policy did not reveal any significant changes to the announcement made by Fannie Mae earlier this year.  The original announcement allows for a forbearance of six months to those homeowners that prove they have suffered a hardship due to REMEDIATING a home that had defective drywall.  The udpated policy provides for additional extensions of this term. 

 

Unfortunately, the only borrowers that may qualify for forbearance are those that spend the money in order to remediate.  With cost of remediation being tens of thousands of dollars, this assistance from Fannie Mae remains to exclude a typical borrower that owns a home with defective drywall! 

Consultations are available to those considering purchasing a Chinese Drywall home and those that may suspect their homes contain defective drywall by calling toll free 1-877-496-4662.

On 9/30/2010, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance providing relief to homeowners who have suffered losses due to Chinese Drywall.

This guidance provides a "Safe Haven" for homeowners that have Chinese Drywall under section 165(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.  This code normally allows deductions for losses arising from fire, storm, shipwreck, or other casualty, or from theft.  However, the "Safe Haven" provided by the IRS is that losses caused by "Corrosive Drywall" are now allowed under this code. 

The "losses" allowed by the IRS are the reduction in value due to the home containing Chinese Drywall or the expenses incurred by the homeowner to remediate the home.  The IRS has allowed simplification of the casualty loss deduction to permit tax payers to use the cost to repair the damaged property as evidence of the decrease in value of the property.  Losses are excluded when a homeowner has a claim with an insurance company or litigation in court for which there is a reasonable prospect of recovery. What does all of this mean? 

  • Individuals who pay to repair damage to their personal residences or household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall may treat the amount paid as a casualty loss in the year of payment. 
  • Taxpayers who have already filed their income tax return for the year of payment generally have three years to file an amended return and claim the deduction.The amount of a loss that may be claimed depends on whether the taxpayer has a pending claim for reimbursement (or intends to pursue reimbursement) of the loss through property insurance, litigation or otherwise.
  • In cases where a taxpayer does not have a pending claim for reimbursement, the taxpayer may claim as a loss all unreimbursed amounts paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances resulting from corrosive drywall. 
  • If a taxpayer does have a pending claim (or intends to pursue reimbursement), a taxpayer may claim a loss for 75 percent of the unreimbursed amount paid during the taxable year to repair damage to the taxpayer’s personal residence and household appliances that resulted from corrosive drywall. 

 What should you do if you suspect your home contains Chinese Drywall? 

  • Obtain an Inspection Report that confirms your home contains Chinese Drywall.  Seek a qualified and experienced Inspector to perform the Inspection. 
  • Obtain estimates from a qualified Chinese Drywall Remediation Contractor.  This will determine the amount of your "losses" from corrosive drywall.
  • Provide both of these to a Certified Public Accountant for further guidance on deducting the losses. 

Kross Inspectors was the first Home Inspection firm in the country to offer Chinese Drywall Inspections.  With almost 7,000 Inspections performed, our Inspection reports are widely accepted by Courts of Law, Lenders, Insurance Companies, Local Governments, and the IRS. 

Download the IRS Revenue Procedure 2010-36: rp-2010-36.pdf 

We at Kross Inspectors are committed to helping keep the public informed about this phenomenon now found in 37 states.  Please visit this page often, along with our blog at www.krossinspectors/blog to see more information as it is released by government agencies and from our research team.  To receive immeidate notification of new events and information regarding Chinese Drywall, subscribe to our newsletter below:

 

 

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