Chinese Drywall input needed

Need some input from you guys.
I did a 2002 house today. The whole house had a smell to it, but it was not a sulfur smell. It was really hard to describe. It almost smelled like wet dogs (no joke) throughout the whole house.
The copper lines running to the air handler were black. The air conditioning system was replaced in 2006 and was icing up, both at the air handler and the condenser unit.
I pulled off outlet covers in the kitchen - copper wires were fine.
I pulled off outlet covers in the utility room (where the air handler was) and the ground wire was black.
I pulled of outlet covers in the master bathroom, which is on the same side of the home as the air handler, and the ground wires were black.
I did not pull any more covers.
The distribution panel was in the garage. All the wires looked normal.
The wate heater was leaking at the elements, but the copper was fine.
I suspect that this is from Chinese Drywall from my findings. Of course the buyers realtor thought otherwise.
I have indicated in my report that there are indicators that the home has Chinese Drywall and that testing is necessary. I also indicated that if those tests come back negative that they still need to test to determine the cause of the odor.
My quesiton is this:
Where does my liability stand for this? If there is no Chinese drywall, can the builder (the seller is the bank) come after me. Does anyone have any verbage that they would use in this situation. Believe me - I am 95% certain that I am right. The age of the home is slightly before all the hoopla came out, and I am just looking for thoughts and ideas. My report will stand - i would just like some feedback from those of you in the trenches.


Excellent information and I have read it, but it does not tell or advise me on what to tell my client.

I would put some big alarm bells around the text. I would put a link in my report to that document. I’d inform them of your suspicions. Tell them you cannot endorse it. Refer them to the FL Dept. of Health and drywall specialists (if there are any). Advise them to do their own research. Advise them to have the drywall point of manufacture traced prior to the close of escrow. What else can you do?

I’ve not yet encountered it.

I have encountered it several times here in SE Louisiana. You have to tell your client of any suspicions you have, whether or not the realtor wants to hear it. Just make sure to tell them what you see and that you recommend further testing. One problem that I have found is that the tainted drywall may have been installed in certain parts of the home. There is no way for you to know and you have to let them know that. All that you know is that you see signs of it and they need further testing. I put this in my notes.

No type of testing whatsoever for “Chinese” or “tainted” drywall was conducted. However, there were signs (darkening) of visible copper piping and wiring and “sulphur” or “egg” smells were noted during the inspection.

I also put this in my final comments:
The inspector is not qualified to detect the presence of Chinese Drywall. Accordingly the issue of Chinese Drywall “and it potential problems” is beyond the scope of the inspection report.

Bill - we have seen this issue pop up on the radar screen and sent the following email to all of the inspectors we insure. You might want to include it in your Pre-Inspection Agreement.


As plaintiff’s attorneys begin to salivate over the defective Chinese Drywall issues, FREA is urging all its Members to include the following in their pre-inspection agreements:

This inspector is not qualified to detect the presence of Chinese Drywall. Accordingly the issue of Chinese Drywall (and its potential problems) is beyond the scope of the inspection report.

Best regards,
The FREA Support Team

I actually have a one page disclaimer that I make all of my client who are buying houses buit after 1999 sign.

disclaim, disclaim, disclaim. to date we do not even have a recognized testing protocol. here is the real scarey part. many of the people researching this believe that stronium may be the culprut. when exposed to moisture stronium can turn into sulfur. the point being you could do testing and come up with a clean house and then a year later a window leak could cause a reaction.

This indicates chinese drywall is an environmental issue and outside the scope of a home inspection? Seems alot of inspectors in South Florida don’t want to admit that. Nick said awhile back they had someone developing a “test” for chinese drywall. Any news on that?

Yes ESML and Pro Lab can test the drywall. Contact them for imformation.

Here is some important infofor you William.

Even if a homeowner does not file a claim over the drywall and remains covered, they could later be denied a claim for a fire or another calamity if insurance investigators determine the home contained undisclosed Chinese drywall.
“If you think that by not telling your insurance company about the drywall that you’re protected, you’re sadly mistaken,” Durkee said.

I see a drywall inspection coming before getting a insurance policy on everything built between 2000-2008.

Way to go Greg, always looking for another opportunity to make more money. :D:cool:

I don’t have to think about it, the State is doing it for me. You should see the other mandatory inspections that are coming in just a few years.

There will be 1000’s of homes getting cancellation notices in a few years.