The not-so-great drywall of China

Home Sale Hindsight

Q: I bought a home and am concerned that it has a lot of the symptoms of Chinese drywall. Did the real estate companies that were listing these homes have any responsibility to determine if the house they are selling has this product, either due to a remodel or in the original building of the home?

A: From 2005 to 2007, two severe hurricanes and the housing craze incited a major wave of home construction, leading to shortages of some building supplies that particularly affected the southern United States. Some homebuilders — especially in Florida, Virginia and Louisiana — began using drywall imported from China. Since that time, homes containing Chinese drywall have been reported as having all sorts of problems, including corrosion of copper plumbing and electrical wiring, appliance failures, a strongly sulfurous (i.e., rotten egg) odor, and even health problems.