Proving that the drywall manufacturer is at fault is the most difficult part of drywall construction defect claims.
Types of Drywall Defects
The most common drywall construction defect is the cracking of the gypsum.
- Center Cracking - This type of cracking occurs in the middle of the drywall joint and often results when there is a shift or movement in the drywall panel. These cracks are caused by either movement of the structure in which the drywall is attached or is a defect in the drywall itself. Getting the drywall manufacturer to pay the costs of cracked drywall is extremely difficult because it is almost impossible to prove whether the crack was due to the structure or due to a faulty piece of drywall. There are also no standard measurements of movement that drywall should withstand before cracking.
- Hairline Cracks - These cracks are tiny, virtually unnoticeable cracks that can occur inside the gypsum panel. Since the outside is covered in paper, it is impossible to tell if the panel of drywall has a hairline crack.
Before Making Your Drywall Construction Defect Claim
To save yourself time and money, before you go through the often time consuming process of filing a defect claim against the drywall manufacturer, consider the following:
- Make sure you installed the drywall according to the manufacturer's recommendations - Drywall manufacturers often suggest particular brand names of drywall screws, nails and joint compounds. If you did not used their recommendations, it is unlikely they will pay your claim.
- Look closely at the installation - If your drywall is sagging, it may be that you didn't properly secure the drywall screws. If, while installing the screws, you broke the paper of the drywall, you inserted your screws too far, thereby making the attachment of the drywall to the stud weak and causing the drywall in that area to sag.
- Nail popping - If for some reason you decided to use nails instead of screws, some nails will "pop" or begin to come out, even if you used drywall tape and a high quality joint compound. This is not a manufacturer's defect.
- Moisture damage - If you installed your drywall in a basement, then you must install a vapor barrier in order to prevent moisture damage to your drywall. If you did not, this is also not a drywall manufacturer's defect.
- Using the proper drywall - Make sure the drywall you used in areas subject to moisture, like bathrooms for example, is water-resistant (drywall for bathrooms is green or brown as opposed to white). If you did not use the proper drywall in these areas and as a result it is defective, you cannot file any drywall construction defect claims.
What to Do if Your Drywall is Defective
If you have gone through the above check list and have determined that your drywall is, in fact, defective, there are a few courses of action you can take if you so choose.
- Contact your contractor or sub-contractor - Let them know what is going on and find out what they are going to do about your defective drywall. If the contractor determines that the drywall is defective, they will often contact the manufacturer for you.
- Contact a lawyer specializing in construction defects - Go through your local yellow pages or Google "construction defects lawyers" to find a lawyer in your local area.
Some drywall defects are very minor and really not worth the time to file a lengthy and time-consuming claim. Sheets of drywall are relatively inexpensive and replacing the defective piece or pieces is a lot easier than trying to make a claim against the drywall manufacturer. If, however, the drywall in your entire room is falling apart and you have determined that it is no fault of your own, it is a good idea to file a claim. Replacing a couple of pieces of drywall is no big deal, but replacing the drywall for an entire room is very costly.