First off, there is no substitute for a bonified inspection by someone that does their job every day and knows their business.
But as a home owner wanting to know some "Chinese drywall" indicators consider the following:
1. Odor-often there is an offensive smell associated with these materials
2. examine the mirrors for indications of a deteriorating image
3. Homes built between 2004 and 2007 should be examined closely
4. remove electrical outlet covers to visually inspect the exposed copper wire. If it's coated with a "blackish" material consider further investigation
5. Remove the AC cover to inspect the copper cooling coils. Again a black corrosive coating on the copper elements should be examined further
6. explore the attic paying close attention to the exposed edges of the sheet rock. If the edge wraping has Chinese writing consider the material present
A factor often overlooked is the fact that it's possible that only a portion of the home was completed with Chinese drywall. Depending on the amount used, it could make detection much more difficult. Another reason why a professional should be used.
We hope you find this information helpful,
Additionally, we have heard of a test that may prove of value over a period of time. They say that placing a shiny new copper penny somewhere in the home that over time will turn a blackish color...also an indicaton that further investigation may be warranted.
Debbie Albert, PA
Coldwell Banker Residential