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IMS Adds Improved NAHB-tested Chinese Drywall Remediation to Service Offerings

For years, the homebuilding industry has been searching for an alternative way to remove Chinese drywall from the interior of a house without going down to the bare studs of a property.

Integrated Mortgage Solutions, a provider of property preservation and rehabilitation services to mortgage lenders and servicers, has started a remediation method that can save homeowners and lenders tens of thousands of dollars and can also expedite turn times for restoring homes plagued with health and safety problems.

Unlike traditional remediation methods to repair drywall, the Houston-based company’s method does not require the complete removal of existing wallboard to achieve a long-term remedy. Instead, the restoration happens by using a water-based, nontoxic biochemical that neutralizes the compounds and noxious odor produced by the defective drywall.

The biochemical product is applied in spray form to the front of the defective drywall, as well as to the inside by drilling holes and filling wall cavities with a foam version of the formula. All areas of the home are sprayed with the product and any hardware affected by the drywall is replaced during the process.

Sandia National Laboratories developed the product for the U.S. Department of Energy as well as for the National Security Administration’s chemical and biological national security program. The product has been tested successfully for over two years and is warranted for three years against recurrence of odor and corrosion.

“Finally, there is a safe, well-tested alternative available, and we wanted to make it available as quickly as possible to our clients,” said Cheryl Lang, president and CEO of Integrated Mortgage Solutions. “Chinese drywall has been a problem of staggering proportions because there are millions of homes and businesses that have the defective drywall panels.”

Chinese drywall is the term for drywall with an abnormal composition that causes it in humid climates to emit gases that damage home components such as ground wires for electrical outlets and air conditioning units, as well as personal property like microwaves and computers.

The defective drywall causes health problems including burning eyes, sore throats, bloody noses, insomnia and respiratory problems. The product also causes homes to smell because of the sulfur gases that are emitted, basically making them uninhabitable.

According to the Port Import Export Reporting Service, more than 550 million pounds of drywall was imported into the United States from China since 2006. PIERS said more than 60,000 homes could have been built with the volume of drywall brought into the country over the last five years.

The faulty drywall has been used in the rebuilding efforts of storm-ravaged coastal communities such as the Gulf Coast and Florida due to the inability of domestic suppliers to meet growing demands for the product.

Remediation using the biochemical product can be completed in less than one-third the time of traditional methods and also reduces overall costs by up to 50%. Despite the process being painstaking, Lang said homeowners dealing with this problem should consider utilizing this restoration method.

“For a good-sized family home, the old method can cost up to $100,000 and take 10 weeks or more,” Lang said. “The new method for the same home would be roughly $60,000 and take three weeks or less. It represents a great leap for REO managers tasked with restoring and remarketing properties quickly, as well as investors desperate to recover value.”