Buying a home can be the most exciting time of your life. In order to protect your family make sure you know what some of the issues are that have been found in homes. Always hire certified inspectors to analyze any potential problems.

1. Chinese Drywall

During the housing boom in Florida from 2004 to 2006 many builders imported drywall from China due to shortages in the US. Shortly after home owners moved into their new homes, they noticed a strong odor coming from the walls that they were unable to clear up. This drywall smells like rotting eggs, and has been found to corrode copper wiring, air conditioning coils and other metals. In many instances people have had to move out of their homes for breathing related health problems. The easiest way to find out if the drywall in the home you are thinking of buying is from China is to go up into the attic and look at what company name is printed on the back side of the drywall. The only drywall manufacturer from China that has been implicated to date in this is Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin Co. Ltd.

2. Georgia Pacific Siding and Louisiana Pacific Siding

Both these companies created a siding product that was made of from various combinations of wood veneers, fibers or flakes, bound together with glues, resins, and/or waxes. The main problem with this siding is that it had moisture-related failures due to product or installation defects, or improper maintenance. As a result class action lawsuits were filed against these companies. Louisiana Pacific case has been settled. The Georgia Pacific case is still in progress. If there are any signs of the siding failing, I advise having the siding removed or repaired before purchasing a home.

3. Artificial Stucco

Many homes were sided with artificial stucco siding that is made up of foam base coat, reinforced with mesh, then another base coat and finally a finishing coat of stucco over the top. This is a great product because it adds insulation value to the home. However, it can also be a serious and very expensive repair if it isn’t installed correctly and/or water gets behind it. This stucco is also known as EIFS Stucco. There are numerous lawsuits pending against most, if not all, of the EIFS suppliers. If the EIFS Stucco is applied on a wood framed home, it has a tendency to keep any moisture that leaks into the house, inside the walls, which leads to wood rot. If it has been properly installed on a concrete block home, you should have no problems. If you love the home, you could require the present owner to replace the stucco and make any repairs at their expense with an appropriate new finish before you purchase the home.

4. Plumbing

Certain types of pipes used for the knauf insulation systems in homes have been found to have problems. Galvanized piping tends to rust. Some of the plastic or polybutylene piping caused leaking problems and class action lawsuits were filed. The best type of piping seems to be the copper tubing as long as it is installed properly. If you are concerned about the piping for the plumbing in your potential new home, make sure you have it thoroughly inspected before purchasing the home. It could save you some costly plumbing repair and environmental cleanup bills down the road.

5. Lead Paint

Lead-based paint is hazardous to your health. It can cause irreversible brain damage and can impair mental functioning. Older homes may contain lead based paint. Consider having any home built before 1978 tested for lead paint. If the paint tests positive for high levels of lead you will need to hire a professional contractor who is experienced in removing lead paint. Don’t think that just painting over it will solve the problem. Your state and local health departments have information about lead poisoning prevention programs. They can also give you information about testing labs and contractors who can safely remove lead-based paint.

Knowing about these issues can make your home buying decision a lot easier. It can also save you time, money and potentially your health. Research anything problem you find and ask lots of questions of your inspector if you have any concerns.