CPSC releases Chinese drywall remediation guidelines

To get rid of Chinese drywall problems, you need to take your house down to the studs. That's the federal government's recommendation released last week, the first government-endorsed solution to Chinese drywall.

It comes after months of research by the Federal Interagency Task Force on Problem Drywall, a multi-agency group led by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The guidelines call for replacement of:

  • all possible problem drywall;
  • all fire safety alarm devices (including smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms);
  • all electrical components and wiring (including outlets, switches and circuit breakers); and
  • all gas service piping and fire suppression sprinkler systems.

The task force emphasizes the “interim” nature of the recommendation and says it will continue to research the issue. Although Chinese drywall may corrode other metals, such as copper plumbing and HVAC coils, the task force says it focused on replacing metal that could affect homeowner safety.

Thorough cleaning of the house after the materials are removed also is recommended.

“Consumers should request that individuals and firms that offer remediation strategies that differ significantly from this interim guidance explain those strategies to the consumer’s satisfaction before the consumer’s purchase of those services or products,” the task force report says.

Get the complete Chinese drywall remediation guidelines from the CPSC website.

Although industry groups have created certifications and licenses for drywall remediation, none is endorsed by a state or local government.

In Florida, the state with the most reported Chinese drywall cases, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation advises people to use licensed contractors in the various relevant trades: licensed electricians to replace wiring, plumbers to replace plumbing, etc.

In other states, a web search on the state’s name and phrases like “trade license,” “trade licensing” or “contractor licensing” typically yields the right site.

If you aren't sure if you have Chinese drywall, visit Angie's List and log in to your account. Do a keyword search for “Chinese drywall” and it will find relevant contractors who can diagnose your problem.


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