Suncoast Inspections is an independent residential and commercial inspection
firm trained in
the the detection of Chinese Drywall. We do not do repairs, we
assess your circumstances without future monetary income entering the
equation. Our clients can rest assured they will receive a fair and honest
evaluation. Our inspectors will inspect
your home using the Florida Department of Heath (FDH) protocol for a visual
inspection. Take time to read the
Could your home have Chinese
If your home was constructed between 2001 to 2007 you could have
Chinese drywall. Mostly it has been found in homes constructed
during the height of the housing boom and shortly after Hurricane
Katrina 2004 to 2007. Materials were in short supply, Contractors
and builders unknowingly used millions of pounds of abundant and cheap
imported defective Chinese-made Drywall. Some estimate that approx.
100,000 homes Nationwide in 35 states have been effected, 35,000 in
Florida alone. Ports of entry include Miami 85,000 tons and Tampa 69,000
tons. In Broward County (Miami area) one case dated back to 2001.The amount of boards
in your home could vary from one board to the entire interior wall
finish and possible the ceilings. The Florida Building Code
requires 5/8 ceiling board be used on all residential ceilings, no Chinese drywall was manufactured in 5/8"
thick boards. It was reported at the Chinese Drywall Symposium in
Tampa that Chinese Drywall did get into Lowe's and home Depot which
could widen the scope.
The majority of the reports to the CPSC have come from
consumers residing in the State of Florida
(More than 90% of reports continue to be from Florida,
Louisiana, and Virginia.) while others have come from
consumers in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California,
Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky,
Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan,
Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New
York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South
Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia,
Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District
of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 2,360 homeowners have filed
complaints of possible drywall-related problems including damage to
electrical wiring, plumbing, utilities, and a variety of health
Builders with Chinese Drywall: MI Homes, Lennar Homes
What are some of the symptoms of
There may or may
not be and odor. If there is the odor could smell similarly to
rotten eggs or sulfur or just an unusual odor.
- The off gassing of the sulfurs can corrode copper pipes indicated
by a black, sooty coating of un-insulated copper tubing leading to and
in the air handler, wiring, blacken jewelry and silver.
- Documented multiple failure and replacement of the air handler
evaporator coils every 12 to 14 months after occupying the new dwelling.
- Homeowners with Chinese drywall have complained about irritated
throat, itchy eyes and skin, Difficulty breathing, persistent cough,
bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus infection and
asthma attaches. Note, to date there is no documented health
symptoms that do not clear up after the occupant has left the effected
dwelling. The FDH (Florida Department of Health) and DR. Viamonte
Ros, Florida Surgeon General has stated there is no imminent health risk
associated to Chinese drywall exposure. While drywall-related corrosion
is clearly evident, long term safety effects are still under
- Corrosion at mirrors (darkening of the corners), pictures, coins,
plumbing fixtures, door hardware and appliances.
- Intermittent operation or failure of appliances (refrigerator,
dishwasher) and electronic devices such as televisions and video game
What to Look For:
- The copper tubing inside and outside the air handler will turn
from a bright/dull copper to black.
- Removed the electrical switch and outlet cover plate. The
copper will turn black.
- The back of the boards will be labeled. It may say "Chinese
Drywall" or "Knauf Plasterboard, Tianjin" Tianjin is the city of
origin in China, "Knauf - Tianjin China ASTM C36", "China", "Made in
- Care must be taken when house shopping as this could lay dormant
for years if the interior environment is controlled reducing or delaying
the chemical reaction.
- Power outrages and dimming or flickering lights without any
specific cause like the air conditioning turning on.
- Arcs or sparks, bright flashes or showers of sparks anywhere in
the electrical system.
- Buzzes or sizzles unusual sounds from the electrical system.
- Overheating of parts of the electrical system such as switch
plates, dimmer switches, outlet covers or cords and plugs.
What is CHINESE DRYWALL?
It is basically the same as American drywall but it appears to have
higher levels of Iron Disulfide, Hydrogen Sulfide, Carbonyl Sulfide,
Sulfur Dioxide, Carbon Disulfide and high levels of Strontium. A
chemical reaction occurs and these chemicals off gas and is some cases
create an odor which grows worse with heat and humidity.
What is DRYWALL (Gypsum Board)?
Gypsum board is the generic name for a family of panel-type products
consisting of a noncombustible core, primarily
of gypsum, with a paper surfacing on the face,
back, and long edges.
Gypsum board is often called drywall, wallboard,
or plasterboard and differs from products such
as plywood, hardboard, and fiberboard, because
of its noncombustible core. It is designed to
provide a monolithic surface when joints and
fastener heads are covered with a joint
Gypsum is a mineral found in sedimentary rock
formations in a crystalline form known as
calcium sulfate dehydrate. One hundred pounds of
gypsum rock contains approximately 21 pounds (or
10 quarts) of chemically combined water. Gypsum
rock is mined or quarried and then crushed. The
crushed rock is then ground into a fine powder
and heated to about 350 degrees F, driving off
three fourths of the chemically combined water
in a process called calcining. The calcined
gypsum (or hemihydrate) is then used as the base
for gypsum plaster, gypsum board and other
To produce gypsum board, the calcined gypsum is
mixed with water and additives to form a slurry
which is fed between continuous layers of paper
on a board machine. As the board moves down a
conveyer line, the calcium sulfate
recrystallizes or rehydrates, reverting to its
original rock state. The paper becomes
chemically and mechanically bonded to the core.
The board is then cut to length and conveyed
through dryers to remove any free moisture.
Gypsum manufacturers also rely increasingly on
“synthetic” gypsum as an effective alternative
to natural gypsum ore. Synthetic gypsum is a
byproduct primarily from the desulfurization of
the flue gases in fossil-fueled power plants.
Drywall is manufactured in sheets that vary in length and thickness.
Typically 1/2" thick drywall is used on the walls and 5/8" thick is used
on the ceilings. As of 11-2009 no Chinese drywall was manufactured
in 5/8" thick boards. The only way you could have Chinese drywall
on your ceilings in the state of Florida is if the contractor improperly
installed 1/2" board on the ceilings.
What Should You do if you
have Chinese Drywall?
Lawyers are circling this issue and telling people to join their
class action lawsuit. We would advise you to take this on slowly.
Do not sign up just yet. The states and federal government are trying to
get a grip on this problem, they are going to set the standards, no one
wants to touch the issue due to the possible legal ramifications. I would start at the your states
health department and the federal level first.
- The most important issue is your health and safety.
If you are suffering from the health symptoms described
as common to the reports of exposure to problem drywall,
please consult your physician as soon as possible. If
you experience any of the electrical or fire safety
concerns described as common to the reports of exposure
to problem drywall, please consult your local gas or
electric supplier and a licensed electrician or building
inspector as soon as possible.
- You should contact your State and local authorities
to report your concerns and get direction on any help or
resources in your area.
- You should also report your concerns to us using the
- You should also consider contacting your insurance
company and homebuilder to report your concerns.
- If you suspect you have gas or electrical problems
please consult your local gas or electric supplier and a
licensed electrician or building inspector, as soon as
State of Florida:
To File a complaint with the Division of Consumer Services:
To File a Complaint with The Florida Department of Business &
The states stance on disposal of Chinese Drywall:
The Florida Senates statement:
Florida's Attorney General:
The state is also referring to the federal level. Below is a
link to the Technical Symposium on Corrosive Imported Drywall (Chinese
HUD - Housing & Urban Development
Department of Housing and Urban Development today (Dec. 22, 2009)announced that
FHA-insured families experiencing problems associated with problem
drywall may be eligible for assistance to help them rehabilitate their
properties. In addition, HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
Program may also be a resource to help local communities combat the
CPSC - Consumer Product Safety
"Released today (Nov. 23, 2009) is additional information from the investigation of problem drywall including the results from three preliminary scientific reports: a fifty-one home indoor air study; an electrical component corrosion study; and a fire safety component corrosion study. Most significantly, the fifty-one home report released today finds a strong association between the problem drywall, the hydrogen sulfide levels in homes with that drywall, and corrosion in those homes".
The reports rough drafts are out but
they have cautioned not to cite or quote so we have decided not to
provide these reports until the final drafts are complete. Below
is a link to their executive summary.
Below is a link to the CPSC Chairman's Letter to the states
The following offers some more detailed specifics about the
health and engineering investigations to date. This
information came directly from their website.
The most frequently reported symptoms are irritated and
itchy eyes and skin, difficulty in breathing, persistent
cough, bloody noses, runny noses, recurrent headaches, sinus
infection, and asthma attacks. Since many consumers report
that their symptoms lessen or go away when they are away
from their home, but return upon re-entry, it appears that
these symptoms are short-term and related to something
within the home. Some of these symptoms are similar to
colds, allergies or reactions to other pollutants sometimes
found in homes. As such, it is important to carefully
determine if the reported symptoms are related to the
drywall and not any other environmental factors or
pollutants in the home.
We are aggressively investigating whether scientific
evidence exists linking chemical emissions from the drywall
to the reported health complaints. At this time, however,
any such relationship or long-term health effects are
We are undertaking a multi-tracked testing approach to
assess the impact on human health. The data collected will
form the basis for a health risk assessment.
- In-home air sampling (field)
studies - Continuous, real-time measurements of the
sulfur, acid and other gases, including the presence of
freon byproducts. Measurements will take into account
humid conditions as well as various times of day.
Testing will be done over longer time periods because
many symptoms have been reported to occur after hours of
- Laboratory elemental
characterization studies of domestic and imported
drywall - Characterization of components of drywall
and identification of any differences.
- Laboratory chamber studies of
domestic and imported drywall - Chamber studies to
separate and isolate chemical emissions from drywall as
opposed to chemicals emitted from other home products
(e.g., carpets, cleaners, paint, adhesives, beauty
Electrical and Fire Safety Investigation
Consumers have reported blackened and corroded metal in
their homes. Particularly, consumers have reported failures
of certain components such as: (1) premature failures of
central air conditioning evaporator coils located indoors as
part of the central air conditioning unit air handler; and
(2) intermittent operation or failure of appliances, such as
refrigerators and dishwashers, and electronic devices such
as televisions and video game systems.
To date, CPSC has not received any reports of fire,
electric shock or fire pre-cursor incidents (such as
discolored, overheated/burned out, or smoking components)
related to problem drywall.
Visual examination of electrical wiring within affected
homes by CPSC staff showed varying levels of corrosion on
the exposed portions of copper wires, in particular ground
wires, since they are not insulated. The presence and extent
of corrosion within a house, or even within a room, however,
We are investigating the electrical and fire safety
issues in the home, including the corrosion of components
such as fuel gas piping and fire safety devices, and any
immediate or long-term fire and safety concerns. Particular
areas of focus for this investigation include:
- Electrical components
including residential wiring, receptacles, switches,
circuit breakers, panel boards, ground fault circuit
interrupters (GFCIs), and arc fault circuit interrupters
Possible concerns with electrical components include:
- Deterioration of connections
such as where a wire is connected to a receptacle or
where a circuit breaker is installed in a panel
board. A degraded connection could develop hot spots
resulting in overheating and possibly fire.
- Erosion of copper conductors
over time, reducing conductor crosssectional area
and compromising its physical integrity. If the
corrosion is progressively eating away at a wire,
the wire would eventually lose its capacity to carry
current and start to overheat or become physically
weak and break.
- Damage to circuit traces or
electronic components on printed circuit boards
causing failure of protective devices like GFCIs,
arc-fault circuit interrupters, and smoke alarms,
which can present shock and fire hazards from the
loss of protection provided by these devices.
- Gas service components
including flexible connectors and copper piping. The
concern is that potential gas leakage due to corrosive
pitting of piping could present a fire or explosion
- Fire safety components
including smoke alarms and fire sprinklers. For smoke
alarms, potential concerns include damage to electronic
circuitry and degradation of the sensor. Either
condition could result in an inoperable smoke alarm. For
fire sprinklers that use metallic fusible elements,
potential concerns are that corrosion may adversely
affect activation temperatures. Failures of these
devices can put consumers at risk.
The investigation into electrical and fire safety issues
is a two-part engineering component test program: (1)
metallurgical analysis of various components collected from
affected residences to characterize the type and extent of
any damage; and (2) exposure of new components to elevated
levels of gases, identified in the drywall chamber studies,
as part of an accelerated corrosion test program to
determine long-term exposure safety implications. A
metallurgical analysis of the accelerated corrosion will
enable comparison with the actual collected samples from
Information for this publication was
provided by: The Gypsum Association website, EMSL Analytical Times
June 2009, The
NAHI Forum Summer & Fall 2009, FABI Seminar June 2009, Division of
Environmental Health State of Florida, State of Florida's Technical
Symposium on Corrosive Drywall, November 2009, HUD, CDC Drywall
Information Center, CPSC.