New Treatment System Aims 
To ‘Fix' Chinese Drywall Problem 

When John Rider of Abshield first caught wind of the Chinese drywall crisis in 2008, he couldn't guess how big a problem it would become. But he was sure that there must be a better solution than removing all the bad wallboard and replacing it with new drywall. 

So his company got to work developing a process for treating the tainted drywall problem at the source without removing the sheetrock. In less than a year, the company began field testing a system that was formulated to address drywall off-gassing and related odors by applying a coatings matrix to both sides of the board. Called the Abshield process, the process is designed to draw gasses and odors from the tainted drywall to migrate into the coating for neutralization and adsorption. 

On exposed surfaces, that coating is applied directly. To coat the interior cavities and concealed spaces behind the wall, the installer uses an electrostatically charged forced air impulse device to inject a powder blend behind the walls. The entire process costs about 75 percent less than removal & replacement. It's also much quicker – about 5 working days, rather than the 90-120 days often quoted for installing new drywall. 

Beyond those advantages, Rider insists that the Abshield process is actually a better solution. “We have heard from people who have done removal and replacement but still have the odor,” he said, explaining that the associated building materials – such as insulation materials and the studs – typically become cross contaminated from exposure to the original gasses. “I'm not opposed to removing the old sheetrock, but I am opposed to putting up new sheetrock before you've appropriately treated the associated building materials. The problem is that doing both throws you into a price category that is nearly the value of your home.”

The product has undergone extensive independent testing by Columbia Analytical Services, which also happens to be performing tests for the government. Abshield also continues being evaluated in the field, but so far the results have looked good, according to Rider. “We had to do a lot of expensive laboratory tests before we could start working on actual homes,” he said. “We're working in the Coral Gables area and the South Florida area now.”

Once the drywall outgassing is under control, blackened metal surfaces can usually be restored to their original appearance with ordinary household cleaners. Air conditioning coils, however, are often so thin that replacement is the best option.
The system's initial formulators were careful to develop a product that would itself be environmentally safe. The Abshield coatings are carcinogen free, formaldehyde free, halogen free, solvent free, and contain little to no VOCs.  

The process has already attracted the interest of some major homebuilders. “We're in negotiations to do 70 homes here, 90 homes there,” said Rider. And if continued testing proves fruitful, Rider looks forward to licensing dealers/installers outside of Florida. 
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