Move insulation to check for Chinese drywall ?

Hi all
Need your opinions.
I have a client who wants me to do an inspection for him, however he is concerned about chinese drywall. I have explained that the easiest way to check fopr this ot look at the outlets, AC and panel to see if the wires are going black.
He understands that but is still very concerned with the house and has asked if I could check a number of outlets in each room. 5 bedroom 6 bathroom 2 story house at least 5000 sqaure feet.
He understands that there is an extra charge to check all these extra outlets but he also wants me to pull back the insulation in the attic in as many places as possible and number everything with a picture to make sure there is no chinese drywall there.
So my question is this:
Is this something any of you would be willing to do and if so what is a fair price to charge. I fugured the attic would take the longest and is going to be the hardest. Also being here in Florida it is going to be sweltering up there.
Thanks in advance.

Chinese Drywall - Int’l Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI)

Chinese drywall includes most defective drywall that was imported from China from 2001 to 2007. Mostly homes built in 2006 will raise a red flag in Cape Coral.
This tainted drywall emits sulfuric gas and noxious odors and can cause corrosion on metal surfaces, internal writing, appliances and electronics.

Dangers from Chinese Drywall

Corrosion resulting from Chinese Drywall can create issues with electrical appliances, including alarm systems and smoke detectors. In very high concentrations, Chinese drywall emits hydrogen sulfide, a dangerous gas that is considered fatal in high levels. The highly toxic compounds found in this drywall can be particularly dangerous to growing children. It affects not only their bone growth but also their nervous system.

Signs of Chinese Drywall

Rotten egg, sulfur or ammonia smells upon entering your home can be signs of Chinese drywall. Not all owners report these smells, so it is important that you look for signs of corroded copper wires, air
conditioning coils, and corrosion on other metal sources.

Where does it come from?

A complete understanding of the sources of the issue with Chinese drywall is not known, but it suspected that mined gypsum (which contains high level of strontium) was included in the production and may be the cause of the defect.

What year was it built.

Built in 2006 - Florida

I am pretty confident checking the wiring in the panels and outlets. Just curious to know if any of you guys would go to the extent of checking the drywall in the attic underneath the insulation to make sure it is not the Chinese brand. And if so, what would you guys charge for something like that. I have never had this request before.

I don’t leave the office for less than $350.
That would be my fee around here.
However, You will have to figure how long it would take you to do it.
If it isn’t to far away from you …$150 an hour would be about correct.
Being 2006 it is possible it could have it…

I’d probably go higher on the fee because I would not want to do it in the first place.

I was thinking the same thing $150 an hour.
I am doing the home inspection but this is additional that he wants. He basically wants every accessible part of the attic checked for this stuff and at least 2 outlets in every room.
I also don’t want to do it - but I do want the home inspection so guess I might have to.

OK! Then. Add another $150 to the fee.
All you would have to do is pull the cover off the air handler and look to see if the coils were black… Then go in the attic and look at the drywall backing to confirm.

You need to add your location to your profile.

If this is the case, I would report that no Chinese drywall was found during the inspection. NOT, there is no Chinese drywall in the home. But, you probably knew that. Just a CYA comment. :slight_smile:

Good idea - lets hope there is none.
I might be doing it on Tuesday. I will report back my findings

Frankly, you need to re-think this whole mess.

Have you any idea how many sheets of wallboard are in a house of that size?
A different batch or order may have been used in 1 bedroom, or on the staircase, or in the kitchen pantry ceiling, or who-knows-where. You plan on pulling all the insulation to check every piece? And not to mention the walls in all the rooms will go unchecked.

I would disclaim the whole enchilada, especially since the client is hyper sensitive to the issue.
Recommend a specialist to check or test for “contaminated” drywall ( it wasn’t all Chinese…)


I did have a long discussion with the client and brought up all your points. He is aware of this and we both agreed that not everything can be covered. Actually already have that in writing from him. We agreed that I would do what I can and check what I can. I will also adjust my service agreement accordingly.

Dom made an EXCELLENT post

On a 5,000sf house there are dozens of opportunity’s to have different batches of drywall. In Kansas City I’ve only seen it once and most of our guys have NEVER seen it. Last year I was doing a 2500sf house with NO thought of Chinese Drywall AND in one unfinished basement room saw a water stain on the insulation on an inside wall. I pulled the insulation batt up to look and see if anything else was wet. Lo and behold I had chinese drywall inside the cavity on the 1 wall facing another inside room.

At that point I pulled insulation batts all over the basement, attic, etc … ONLY 2 pieces I could find. Was there more there OR ???

Your guy sounds anal and a potential lawsuit down the road if it came up somewhere you DID NOT spot check … I think like Dom said I’d DISCLAIM it and refer him elsewhere on the testing.

IF you get greedy however, it would be a TOTALLY different inspection for say $350 - $400 and limited in time like say he gets 1.5 hrs for that fee.

So here is the update.
I did the inspection today – wow that took long.
I checked at least 2-3 outlets in every room (some light switches as well) – bathroom included.
Checked both A/C coils.
Everything was clean – no blackening of wires or coils.
Also checked a number of ceiling boards in the attic and all the ones that had labels were made in the US.

So as I was about to leave the customer asked me to check the plug for the fridge – which was at the top of the fridge. Lo an behold the wires were totally black.
Along the same wall as the plug for the fridge I had checked some GFCI’s and they were clean.
The perpedicular wall right next to the fridge had 4 light switches which were also clean.
The bathroom switches which were behind the fridge wall was also clean although the outlets were not on the same adjoining wall.

The seller’s agent and the buyer had told me that the microwave did not work – there was not power to it. Unfortunately the seller found out after I had left that the board for the microwave had to be replaced and was on order. This plug for the microwave was on the same wall as the fridge but also on the same wall as the clean GFCI’s.

So what are your thoughts – is the failure of the microwave a coincidence or do you think it is due to chinese drywall?
What about the firdge outlet – the only one that was black.
Apparently the seller did have some drywall in the house removed and tested a while back (not sure when)
Attached is a picture of one of the coils - both were the same.
The other picture is of the fridge.