Building Envelope Science Institute (BESI)

Pros & Cons of Remediation Structures with Chinese Drywall


Mr. Mulholland addresses pros and cons of the four main approaches to remediation of structures with Defective (Chinese) Drywall.

There are many methods or approaches to remediation practices in the construction industry. The current crisis with defective Chinese drywall that is diffusing low levels of sulfur compounds like hydrogen sulfide, carbonyl sulfide, carbon disulfide and others creates a serious concern as to the method of remediation. There are four main methods or approaches to remediation currently being used or considered:

1). Leave all drywall in the home and diffuse chemical treatments into the drywall by painting it, coating it, encapsulating it, spraying it, or sealing it, or add filters to stop it, capture it, clean it, and diffuse it through mechanical means. No drywall, electrical, or other materials that show signs of corrosion are removed.

2). Remove only the drywall that is considered foreign (Chinese), assuming that it is defective or causing the diffusion of sulfur compounds, while leaving domestic drywall and all other building materials in the home.

3). Remove all the drywall as well as corroded or contaminated materials, which includes cross-contaminated drywall in a home and all materials and metals showing signs of corrosion. This method is also known as “gut out,” which means removal of all the electrical wiring, copper plumbing, inside HVAC units, duct work, all fire and security equipment (life safety elements), and any other item that shows signs of damage.

4). Tear down the structure. Remove any evidence of the structure’s existence. This is full demolition of the home which only leaves the original foundation.

To help everyone understand the four different methodologies that are currently being considered in the marketplace, we must first understand the pros and cons of each method or system.

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