April 2012

Is There Chinese Drywall in Atlanta?

I was doing a standard inspection on a small ranch in Snellville built in 2001. Since the buyer was out of town and could not attend, I try to take extra photos and go into more detail. There was nothing out of the ordinary until I got to the electrical panel. I noticed a dark discolorization on the copper wiring. Thinking this was odd, I made a note in the inspection report to have a qualified licensed electrician check it out.

Wiring

Next, I went to the water heater where I again noticed a discolorization on the copper cold water piping. This sent up a red flag.

Piping

I remembered this was a sign of how to identify Chinese Drywall; however, I knew there wasn’t any in the Atlanta area, at least none that I knew of. I wanted a second opinion, so I called someone I felt was a very experienced home inspector, Bob Mathews and asked if he had ever heard of any being found in the Atlanta area. He answered that he has not seen any, but heard that Bowen may have used it on a few  homes.

At this point, I made a note in the inspection report stating there was evidence of Chinese Drywall and recommended further evaluation by a qualified professional. Even though I was certain that it would not be Chinese Drywall, I wanted to be covered.

When the buyer’s realtor arrived, she asked how the inspection was going. I responded that there was nothing out of the ordinary, except for the evidence of Chinese Drywall. I told her what I knew about it and what could happen to the house as a result. She was concerned about how its existence could be determined for certain, who could test it and the cost. Since this experience was new to me, I called Shannon Cory for advice and put him on my speaker phone, so the agent could hear the conversation. Shannon covered the same problems I did, and mentioned that it can also affect the air conditioning evaporator coils.

He said I could take a 2 inch x 2 inch sample to a testing lab myself to make the final determination. He also recommended I go into the attic to see if there was a vaulted ceiling where they used fiberglass batt insulation. If so, the insulation could be lifted to see if there was a label on the drywall. When the agent pointed to the attic space over the front of the garage, I told him we have a good place to check where there was no insulation. I thanked Shannon for his help and ended the call. I told the agent, I would take a sample of the drywall and drop it off at EMSL’s lab in Atlanta.

Next, I climbed up into the area over the garage. There, in big purple letters, were the words “Chinese Drywall.”

Chinese Drywall

I took several pictures, showed them to the agent, and she immediately called the buyer. I told the buyer what we found, and why there was a problem with the drywall. She wanted the house and asked what it would cost to repair it.  I said that there is a big possibility that every piece of drywall may need to be replaced. That meant removing all plumbing fixtures, cabinets, counter tops, wood trim, appliances…..everything in order to replace the drywall. It would cost tens of thousands of dollars. She still wanted the house! The agent took a long time to convince her she didn’t want this house, and she would find her another one.

The buyer’s agent called the listing agent, who was also the owner, to let her know what we found. The listing agent said it was a Ryland home, and she would call them to see what they had to say. I finished the inspection, gave the agent a copy of the report and went to my next inspection. Oh, did I mention that both air conditioning units were not cooling…at all.

Three days later, I received a call from the listing agent asking the telephone number of the testing lab. She said Ryland was going to test it, and also she was going to test it. I gave her the information and hung up. I was impressed that Ryland was still involved after 11 years. Time will tell the final outcome. The moral to the story is, yes, there is Chinese Drywall in Atlanta.


Quote Of The Month

"Story writers say that love is concerned only with young people, and the excitement and glamour of romance end at the altar. How blind they are. The best romance is inside marriage, the finest love stories come after the wedding, not before.”
Irving Stone


A Tip Of The Hat To:

Mark Lackey
Atlanta Housing Source at
Solid Source Realty, Inc.
PO Box 923116
Norcross, Georgia 30010
404-886-8789

****Thank You****