What is Chinese Drywall?
The term “Chinese drywall” is a reference to a type of drywall used in the earlier 2000’s that proved later on to be defective and destructive to homes. It was manufactured in China, hence the designation “Chinese.” Over 100,000 homes built between 2001 and 2009 have been negatively impacted by Chinese drywall.
Chinese drywall is destructive to the indoor air quality of a home due to its emission of dangerous, volatile chemicals, and also can damage piping, air conditioning, or even jewelry of someone who spends a lot of time in the home. The damage is caused by the off gassing of various sulfuric gasses which become airborne. The gasses then come into contact with chemicals on other surfaces and cause a reaction. When inhaled, the chemicals found in Chinese drywall can cause symptoms associated with asthma and allergies. Many homeowners report chronic headaches, fatigue, and the onset of new respiratory problems.
This drywall was used in over 20 states, many in the southern U.S after a blast of hurricanes hit in the early part of the century. Ironically, the damaging effects are amplified under hot and humid conditions, which predominate in the south. By the time people realize their home has been built with Chinese drywall and there is a big problem, they are often already stuck with the house.
Chinese Drywall Remediation Costs
If you discover your home is built with Chinese drywall, many contractors will suggest replacing all of the defective drywall. Many will also suggest replacement of all wiring, fire alarms, outlets, circuit breakers, and sprinklers. While the government has relaxed its recommendations for remediation slightly after conducting several studies measuring the extent of damage done and health risks, they still recommend at least replacing light switches, alarms, and circuit breakers because of the corrosion that can occur after extended exposure to the sulfide gasses.
How much the solution costs depends on the extent of the damage, potential damage, and what you decide to have done. At the very least, replacing the basic things like smoke alarms and circuit breakers could end up costing several hundred dollars, in addition to the thousands of dollars you’ll likely pay to have the problem drywall removed and replaced. Many homeowners have played $30,000 to $40,000 or more to have all of the drywall replaced, as well as the wiring, A/C, and other damaged hardware in their home. Pricing can depend on the area you live in, the square footage of the home, and whether or not you need a permit to do the work. In many cases, however, the cost of repairs has ended up costing a good fraction of the home’s value.
Chinese Drywall Settlements
In 2013, when the damage done by Chinese drywall was emerging and apparent, five class action settlements were approved by a U.S. federal judge. The settlement insisted that those responsible for the faulty drywall pay damages due to the homeowners affected by it. The total sum due was equal to hundreds of millions of dollars. Over 10,000 owners of properties where the drywall was used were supposed to have benefited from the settlement. The main company targeted in the settlement was Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co Ltd., but others were also deemed responsible. The Chinese companies targeted appealed the settlement, and did not fully comply—only a small fraction of homeowners affected have received any payment. Many who have had to wait years, and had already been affected both by their health and financially in the meantime.
The majority of settlements under the original Chinese drywall settlement program occurred in 2013. However, some people are still able to file claims if able to prove the Chinese drywall is present. Unfortunately, some people have not realized the drywall was in their home causing damage until it was too late—they already had developed respiratory problems, and started experiencing a breakdown of hardware and wiring in their home.
How to Test for Chinese Drywall
There are several ways to determine whether or not your home has problem drywall present. The longer the drywall has been in the home, the more “symptoms” that may be present. There are basically two steps to testing for Chinese drywall—a visual inspection and looking for evidence of corroboration. The visual inspection will involve looking at the wiring and A/C coils—blackening is a sign that the drywall is present. Also, a visual inspection will involve examining the drywall itself and seeing when it was built. The problem drywall was only installed between 2001 and 2009, so if your drywall indicates dates installed outside of these dates, it is probably not Chinese drywall.
In the second step of determining if you have Chinese drywall, between two to four of the signs must be present to confirm the drywall is bad. If the drywall was installed before 2004, four signs must be evident. If it was installed in 2005 or after, two signs must be clear. The potential signs include sulfur present in the core of the drywall; copper sulfide present on wiring; high sulfide gas emissions; and corrosion caused by the drywall once in a lab. These four signs require lab testing to be proven. Another sign is that there are Chinese markings on the drywall. This doesn’t necessarily mean the drywall is from the bad batch but can be one identifying sign.
The Best Products for Chinese Drywall Remediation
Sometimes, it may not be necessary to completely remove everything affected by Chinese drywall. Also, even if you do remove and replace the drywall, wiring, and other appliances, some of the effects may still linger. OdorKlenz offers a line of products that can safely and effectively eliminate the odor and many of the health hazards associated with Chinese Drywall. While some remediation techniques focus only on certain parts of the home that have been affected, OdorKlenz takes a “whole house” approach, covering all of the bases—with their technology, indoor air quality as well as all home surfaces are considered in order to achieve maximum protection from the negative effects left behind.
Perhaps the most noticeable and concerning the effect of Chinese drywall is the odor it emits. The sulfuric gas combinations are what typically cause the unpleasant, and in some cases, unbearable odor, as well as health symptoms. All of OdorKlenz’s products aim to address this issue on a molecular level, destroying the contaminants from the source. You will not find any masking agents or artificial ingredients in the OdorKlenz line of products. Such ingredients would only temporarily address the issue, and not resolve any health concerns—masking agents merely cover up any smell temporarily and often contribute to even worse health symptoms. We recommend combining products to approach the harmful drywall chemicals from both the air and any surfaces, but regardless of which OdorKlenz products you use, you will see a difference within days.
Many homeowners who have been adversely affected by Chinese drywall have seen a big difference when adding OdorKlenz products to their remediation plan . The OdorKlenz Filter for HVAC can be used in the existing HVAC system of the home, and specifically targets the sulfuric corrosive gasses associated with the faulty drywall. Standard HVAC filters are unable to do so—they may filter out certain particles like pollen, dust, or other allergens, but do nothing to actually deactivate these compounds on a chemical level. Worse, they often end up releasing these particles back into the air.Most homes will see a dramatic difference within 10 days of using the OdorKlenz filter. The NanoActive technology is the best in the industry—it is comparable to that used in other natural disaster relief efforts at home, or when fire or water damage occurs. Until being manufactured by OdorKlenz, this type of filter technology was not available in a convenient cartridge that works with existing systems.
Benefits of OdorKlenz Structural Surface Treatment
· Optimizes the outcome of remediation by establishing an active, protective barrier on potentially contaminated structural building materials.
· Immediate surface decontamination – irreversibly captures and destroys residual Chinese Drywall-associated chemical pollutants.
· Prevents corrosion of metals and recurrence of Chinese Drywall-associated unpleasant and noxious odors.
· Safe and green – natural earth minerals, non-toxic, non-corrosive, benign byproducts. No extraordinary handling or disposal precautions.
· Aids in protecting workers from hazardous chemical exposure during remediation.
· Visual affirmation of application to exposed surfaces.
· Proven effective in Chinese Drywall homes.
Apart from air filters which can correct indoor air quality, you will need to address the chemical residue that sticks to surfaces as a result of off-gassing from the drywall. The OdorKlenz Surface Treatment is one product that is so versatile that it can be used on both hard and soft surfaces. Contamination from the drywall may linger on nearby surfaces like carpet, wood, or other areas of the home. OdorKlenz’s unique technology not only eliminates the foul sulfuric odor leftover from corrosive drywall, but it also deactivates those gasses on a chemical level. This source odor treatment continues working long after it has been applied, allowing for continuous decontamination.
Even personal belongings can assume the unpleasant odor from the drywall. Running clothes through a regular wash cycle may do very little to get the smell out. That’s because normal laundry detergents contain lots of fragrances and masking agents that just cover up the smell. OdorKlenz Laundry products use similar technology to the air filter and surface cleaner to neutralize and get rid of these smells from clothing and other washable items.
Regardless of the product or combination of products you use, OdorKlenz has many advantages when it comes to choosing them Chinese drywall remediation. Their easy to use products have been proven effective. They work within your existing air system, eliminating the need to spend extra money on extra equipment. All of the products they offer are non-toxic, safe, and green, meaning you can feel good about your health and the environment when you use them. These solutions are excellent to use regardless of what stage you are at in the remediation process—if used before replacement of any drywall or hardware, they add a protective barrier and extra protection for contractors doing to work. If used afterward, they continue minimizing any lingering toxins. OdorKlenz can truly make all the difference when it comes to saving your home from damage done by Chinese drywall.