Chinese drywall found in Houston

The client asked me not to disclose any information. But I encourage you to read Nick Gromicko, Rob London and Kenton Shepard article on “Chinese Drywall” and include a disclosure on drywall in your inspection agreement, otherwise…

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How old was the home? What area of town?

4 year
north Houston

Another inspector found some in some townhomes off 288 not far from downtown about 3-4 years old two to three months ago. The AC coils were entirely black and he said there was a distinct smell.

4 or 5 years ago, before the coverage on the subject, I had a newer house that had weird blueish corrosion on the wires in the panel. I think I might have even posted a question about it on here. Since all this coverage about the drywall I really wonder about that house. The client backed out due to major drainage design issues (picture a half acre bowl with the house smack dab in the middle), so I don’t have any connection or reason to pursue it. Would be interesting to know though.

I’ve come across 2 cases in Houston…one in Forest Cove in Kingwood and one at a condo/townhome complex at the intersection of 288 and Beltway 8 South…Forest Cove home was less than a year old at the time (this was in 2009) and the townhome 2 years old…classic symptoms…especially the smell.

I had heard
that there was Chinese Drywall found in China…
Imagine that…

From email yesterday (sender identified at bottom)-

Chinese drywall is still entering Texas today, since 2001, from Mexico through El Paso, and other border crossings without any labels.

Chinese drywall, or “tainted drywall”, is more prevalent in Texas than anyone had imagined and is suspected to be state-wide in new construction, remediation, renovation, and/or remodels. Toxic Chinese Drywall Investigation Continues with Texas Discoveries. Americas Watchdog and its Homeowners Consumer Center is now announcing that the Chinese toxic drywall is in Texas, in significant quantities, and this Chinese drywall issue is about to turn into a first class national disaster. Florida will easily go over 100,000 new homes, and we are certain the same will true of Texas. Http://HomeownersConsumerCenter.Com and

Many homeowners have contacted and continue to contact the Homeowners Consumer Center for inspections of their home, to determine if Chinese drywall is present. Once positively identified, the center offers names of attorneys, etc.

90% of the homeowners refuse legal assistance, decide they would prefer to remain anonymous, and immediately list the home for sale, without disclosing the issue.

Many homeowners notify their mortgage company, disclose the problem, and request assistance, which is denied. The home results in foreclosure. The bank has been informed and documents in the file, and they even fails to disclose the problem to the next buyer. The house is sold “as is”. In many cases, the same bank becomes the mortgagee for the new homeowner.

In Houston and Conroe, 15,000 new homes built between 2004 and 2007, have been identified as having Chinese drywall. Another 15,000 have been identified, resulting from hurricane remediation. Austin also has a substantial number of affected homes. It is strongly suspected this is a state-wide issue, including Dallas – Fort Worth. However it becomes more difficult to identify because of decreased heat and humidity. Heat and humidity hastens the corrosion of copper. On the south side of Austin, corrosion is highly visible. On the north side of Austin it is less discoverable, suspected because of the decrease in humidity.

The government spent about $3 million researching if the vapors could be discoverable by monitoring systems and determined this was not successful or detectible.

Even though the US has stopped Chinese drywall from entering through major sea ports, the materials still enter the US daily through border entry ports from Mexico, including El Paso, under NAFTA free trade, and has for 10 years. Three weeks ago, a border agent in El Paso stated Chinese drywall still enters the US today. He further stated the odor from the trucks hauling the drywall is so strong, it affects their dogs’ ability to sniff for drugs or explosives. Although the drywall is manufactured in China, some of the labels have been change to “Mexico”. More alarming, most labels are completely blank, with no ASTM number. Knauf Tianjin is the most known manufacturer, however there are a dozen more manufacturers, some owned by the Chinese government.

Of additional concern is the E&O insurance policy. In the last two years, many insurance companies have added exclusions for “Chinese Drywall” or “tainted drywall”, which leaves the inspector un-insured: i.e. General Real Estate Inspectors Association (GREIA) – PENN AMERICA; International Placement Services, Inc. (IPSI) - UNITED NATIONAL SPECIALTY INSURANCE COMPANY – DIAMOND STATE; and Ace Westchester or Westchester Surplus Lines.

In September 2009, when Ace Westchester excluded drywall, I contacted several home inspectors. At that time, it was believed Texas was not affected. Today we know Chinese drywall has been entering Texas since 2001 and it has truly become an issue.

Further information to follow soon, including a list of builders who have used Chinese drywall for new construction.

Larry Battarbee
Battarbee Insurance Agency

Farmers Insurance
(903) 723-3202
Cell (903) 391-8250
My Computer Fax 1-888-777-9770
Office Fax (903) 723-3436

Pool chlorine will cause the copper wire to turn bluish green. More on the green side. See photo.