Thursday, March 28, 2013

Chinese Drywall

Sarasota, FL           High:  64    Low:   43

Man, was it windy today! Steady 30 mph. winds!  It only got to 60 so we decided to head back to Lakewood Ranch to look at houses with our very capable realtor, Brenda Wilson of Keller and Williams. We've been looking hard for a couple of weeks, then we took a break for a couple of weeks for awhile, just not sure if we are ready to think about settling down and coming off the road. We're still not sure, but we decided to go looking once again.....It's fun! And it's a great thing to do when it's too cold to go to the beaches and too cold to sit outside and read a book, and no good movies at the movie theater. If we find the right house at the right price, we might change our minds! But first, the researching, and remember, Eldy researches things for a long time before deciding to do anything. So no worries, mate. We are still fulltiming, and planning to leave April 7th for other parts of Florida.

No photos today except of ones from the Internet relating to Chinese dry wall. This is an informational blog today!

We saw some great houses...We saw one awful one... We had a good laugh when the minute Sparky walked into the house, she said, "That's it for me, let's leave." It was dark, it was filled with heavy, dark, ornate furnishings and humongous oil paintings covering the walls, and brand new deep burgundy carpet in the bedroom. Dark, dark, dark. Brenda said, "Hope there's no audio with the security system" as we exited the house rather quickly....We laughed....

One house that caught our interest had no furnishings in it. It appeared totally new on the inside...but the cabinetry in the kitchen and bath was awful, and cheap looking. This house had had Chinese drywall in it. There was full disclosure sitting on the kitchen counter for prospective buyers. Apparently, there are all kind of health hazards with drywall in Florida homes installed from about 2001-2007 when Florida had a total of 7 or more hurricanes. The builders couldn't keep up with demand, so they imported drywall from China. Florida has 56% of the drywall claims, the most of any state affected, the rest being in Texas, Louisiana and a couple other states. Apparently, the drywall gives off sulphur fumes that smell like rotten eggs, especially when the doors and windows are closed and the chemical reactions with the drywall and surrounding electrical, plumbing, corrosion of metal components and copper lines cause rapid deterioration and failure of electrical appliances. It creates an ashy grey residue on air conditioner coils and any copper lines in the walls, and other appliances and wiring that have ground wires.

The drywall can cause health issues--breathing, respiratory problems, bloody noses, persistent sore throats, sleeping problems, allergies and asthma. Yikes! Now we have something else to think about when looking at houses....the date the house was built or remodeled....It is not clear anywhere on the internet that Sparky could find, what regions in Florida are most affected, but she is assuming it's the hurricane prone east and west coasts of Florida. It is also very unclear which builders used this, but a couple are suing the manufacturers of the drywall from Asia. There are websites (mainly lawyer ones, naturally) that tell you what to look for inside the home if someone is concerned about this. Drywall gets painted, plastered, and covered, so the tip about looking for "Made in China," or look for "China" stamped on the board, or "Knauf", the German builder that imported this drywall, is probably not the most helpful tip! We bet there are a ton of scammers out there willing to test a home for Chinese drywall and charge a ton of money for doing it, and a ton of lawyers ready to take someone's money on this issue.

We actually gave some serious thought to this one particular house. It had been gutted to the studs and totally redone. It would be like purchasing a new home at a FAR lower price. It had had an inspection by an engineering firm that the house was free and clear of the offending drywall. BUT--the homeowner fees were high for the neighborhood--those HOA (Homeowner's Association fees) were 360.00 a month...too high for us...That does cover a swanky clubhouse, maintenance and landscaping. But there was ZERO view in the backyard, what little backyard there was--a high retaining wall blocked the view of a major thoroughfare through Lakewood Ranch, the area where we've been looking lately. Not the best lot....So, we'll keep looking.....And watching out for Chinese drywall.


  1. I try to avoid anything made in China, which means I don't often buy anyting new.

  2. My sister and I have been reading a lot about many of the U.S. processed foods and frozen foods coming from China--Green Giant frozen vegetables for one. She also said a huge percentage of our antibiotics come from China, and/ or the ingredients to make many of our medicines. Now that's pretty scary, too!

  3. Wow. I never knew anything about this drywall. What a bummer to find out the drywall is bad.

  4. It does pay to do the research,never know what you might find.