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Chinese Drywall Test | Chinese Drywall Testing

Testing Chinese Drywall

I don’t have any of the signs of Chinese drywall, why should I get a test?

If you don’t have any of the signs of Chinese drywall — corrosion, rotten egg smell — your home may not contain problematic drywall.  The issue is, however, that potential buyers, insurers, and lenders are not satisfied by the fact that the symptoms are not present yet.  The risk associated with defective drywall is so significant — the cost of repair can exceed $100,000 — that anything short of underwritten and insurable Chinese drywall testing will not suffice.  This means that, even if your home does not have defective drywall, potential buyers are not considering it because a home in your neighborhood does contain tainted drywall.  Now, imagine if you could include in your property listing the fact that your home is “100% certified and insured as free of tainted drywall.”  The peace of mind that one statement produces will allow you to sell your home.
Similarly, your insurer and lender will want more than a simple visual drywall test.  An underwritten test will allow them to be able to renew homeowners insurance and refinance the home.

What do you use to test for problematic drywall?

Tainted drywall testing involves analyzing samples for known markers that are indicative of defective drywall.  Several less expensive alternatives are being marketed, but FTIR and XRF look to be the future of accurate Chinese drywall testing.

Unequivocally, FTIR and XRF testing have been proven by the Consumer Products Safety Commission to be the most reliable Chinese drywall tests.  These tests analyze drywall samples for carbonate sulfide and strontium respectively.  Each of these tests provides nearly perfect accuracy.  Defective drywall testing that utilizes both technologies in tandem overcomes any sampling contamination.  Drywall compound, or mud, can show up in FTIR analysis as a false positive.  That compound, however, does not affect XRF drywall testing.

Why aren’t all inspectors offering Chinese drywall testing that includes FTIR and XRF?

These technologies are not new.  Several labs in the United States even offer to analyze drywall samples as part of a drywall test inspection.  The problem is that, in this setting, each sample costs $150 to $200 for analysis on just one of the two machines.  Analysis on the second will involve another $150 to $200.  An average home contains upwards of 150 boards of drywall.  In this environment, comprehensive Chinese drywall testing would involve $45,000 in testing fees alone.  Add to that the cost of collecting samples and the insurance policy premium, and drywall testing could cost $50,000.Obviously, that is not price that the vast majority can afford.  Drywall testing at that cost is not a feasible option.  Our defective drywall testing is the only affordable and insurable option on the market today.
What makes Certified Chinese Drywall Testing different?
Certified Chinese Drywall Testing does not pay outside laboratories for testing.  The equipment used for this defective drywall testing does not necessitate a laboratory setting and the expense associated with that setting is what contributes to the cost of sampling mentioned above.  Both pieces of equipment are available in portable versions, allowing Certified Chinese Drywall Testing to reduce overhead and minimize the cost of sampling associated with drywall testing.

What does FTIR Chinese drywall testing involve?

FTIR, or Fourier Transformed Infrared Spectroscopy, relies on the measurement of infrared light that either passes through or is reflected by a sample.  The resulting spectrum is compared against a library of known molecular fingerprints.  No two compounds will produce the same results under FTIR analysis, creating a powerful tool for identifying unknown compounds at a molecular level.As it relates to drywall testing, FTIR is used to identify carbonate sulfide, a marker that the CPSC has identified as unique to Chinese drywall.

FTIR has been central to laboratory analysis for nearly seventy years.  This technology is well establish and is respected and accepted within a court room setting.  The fact that this technology is so credible and well established further reinforces its use for problematic drywall testing.

What does XRF drywall testing involve?

XRF, or X-Ray Fluoresecence, drywall testing involves bombarding a sample with X-Rays and measuring the effects.  Each element produces a different energy under this condition and the results are used to identify the various compounds in a sample.As it relates to a Chinese drywall test, XRF is used to identify strontium, which the CPSC has identified as a unique marker of Chinese drywall.

Who determined that these technologies are reliable for drywall testing?

The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has concluded in their most recent report that these technologies are the most reliable Chinese drywall testing equipment.“Using both FTIR and XRF measurements of carbonate and strontium, respectively, was therefore determined to be the most sensitive and specific marker of imported drywall.”
   –Draft Final Report CPSC Drywall and Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment. November 18, 2009. Pg. 104 of 128.

“Results from this study indicate that the concentrations of Strontium measured by XRF and carbonate ion (carbonate) using FTIR, determined that drywall can be used in combination to reliably identify suspect drywall.”
   –Draft Final Report CPSC Drywall and Indoor Environmental Quality Assessment.November 18, 2009. Pg. 1 of 128.

How is drywall collected for this analysis as part of drywall testing?

Comprehensive tainted drywall tests involve sampling and testing drywall throughout the home.  In an effort to minimize the invasive nature of Chinese drywall testing, Certified Chinese Drywall Testing utilizes a specialized 1/4″ core sampling device.  A third technology is utilized to guarantee that only one sample is taken per sheet of drywall.  With this device, a drywall test is only minimally invasive while guaranteeing a comprehensive Chinese drywall test.Because this is the most comprehensive Chinese drywall test available, Certified Chinese Drywall Testing is the only company to offer fully insurable results!  Other companies have Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance that covers Chinese drywall testing.  These same inspectors then over to sample just a few areas of the home.  The insurance only guarantees that the specific areas sampled are not defective drywall.  These tests start at $2,500 and offer very little in the way of a true guarantee.

How much does a certified drywall test cost?
The price of a drywall test depends on the size of the home.  The size of the home impacts the time and number of samples required to test the entire home.  The average cost of a certified drywall test is $1,500.  Other companies offer less expensive tainted drywall testing, but their results are not guaranteed and not insurable.  What good is a report showing a home to free of defective drywall if the report is not respected by insurers?  Don’t waste your money on a Chinese drywall test that does not sample the entire home with a protocol that is insurable.

Group/bulk discounts are available as well.  Contact us for a free estimate of your Chinese drywall test.

The states most impacted by Chinese drywall testing are:
  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Virginia