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North American Drywall Contractors May Have Their Hands Full

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North American Drywall Contractors May Have Their Hands Full

Published: 02/04/2010 by Patsy Hamilton

Some drywall contractors and builders in Canada and the US used defective materials between the years 2001 and 2007. The US recently released guidelines saying that thousands of homes will need to be “gutted” in order to make them safe according to Associated Press reports.

The defect has to do with drywall manufactured in China. There are still questions about what caused the defect. The theory is that China used coal fly ash, which releases toxic sulfur gases, to manufacture the gypsum board.

There are no questions about what effects the gases have. They cause health problems. People living in homes with as little as three sheets of the defective material may experience dizziness, sore throat, headaches, bloody noses, eye irritations and fatigue.

Those symptoms are considered “non-specific” by doctors. So at first, it was difficult to establish a link between the health problems and the bad boards.

Some homeowners in Florida were forced to leave their homes. Their insurance claims were denied. A few of the big builders went out of business. So the homeowners were left with nowhere to turn except the courts.

It’s been an ongoing problem in the US where an estimated 100,000 homes were affected. The number of Canadian homes that were affected is unknown.

Canadian drywall contractors could have purchased the defective products in British Columbia, the Prairies or Toronto according to reports. About 929,000 square meters is believed to have been imported through Vancouver.

In the US, most of the affected states are in the south. Florida, Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama are among the states mentioned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

In addition to causing health problems, the gases released by the drywall causes damage to electrical wiring and copper pipes. The sulfur dioxide gas reacts with humidity in the home to corrode these items. The gas is said to give off an unpleasant rotten egg smell and make homes “uninhabitable”.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines call for the replacement of electrical outlets, air conditioning units, fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and gas pipes, among other things. So, not only will drywall contractors be busy, electricians and other home improvement specialists may see an increase in their business, too.

Consumers that had construction work done between 2001 and 2007 could contact the builder, an environmental engineer or a qualified home inspector. It is believed that importation of the defective boards stopped following those years. Some of the better drywall contractors are aware of the problem and may be able to identify the defective boards.

This “crisis” is one example of how important it is to make sure that the contractor you hire uses high quality materials. It is always a good idea to get several estimates and compare them. If one seems significantly less than the rest, it’s smart to be suspicious. The contractor might be using low quality materials.

It’s easy to get several estimates and compare contractors here at You’ll find a number of reputable drywall contractors to choose from.

Patsy Hamilton is a home improvement journalist at for more great useful home improvement articles please visit:

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