We recently bought a home with an upstairs loft area, advertised as a bedroom. We've found out from several contractors that the drywall is unusually thin--almost 1/4 inch. We've put two gigantic holes in the wall by accident in two months. For the state of Virginia, in the building code, does drywall have to be a certain thickness in a bedroom area?
The building code won't help you here. Even if it was against code (which it probably is not), you already bought the house. Building codes aren't retroactive inasmuch as you can say, "hey, this violates code! I'm going to sue the person who did it!" If that was the way things worked, everyone would be liable for everything, because all houses are full of code violations committed by both homeowners and builders, many explicitly OK'd by building inspectors themselves.
If your drywall is so thin that you're regularly damaging it, you don't have a lot of options besides replacing it with thicker drywall or putting another layer on top of it. Shouldn't cost more than $1-2k if it's only a single room, if that.
This should have been caught by the home inspection. If you have a verified inspection by a certified inspector they are required to mention anything that violates building code and usually something that goes against best practices. Some inspection companies may warranty their guys inspections for 6-12 months.
The home inspector would have seen the drywall thickness when pull outlets out. I have followed good inspectors around 20+ times and basically copy what they do. I am pulling out at least 2 outlets on every house and if it is older it might be 5-10. I would easily be able to tell if 1/4" drywall were used.
There is nothing in the code that requires a specific type of drywall be used and there are various other materials of various thicknesses that can be used instead of drywall.
The only time that code requires a specific thickness of drywall is for fireproofing, usually between your garage and living area or between attached homes. Then again, it doesn't have to be drywall.
As others have mentioned, the code only applies at time of construction or significant alternation.
Since you already own the house, you are stuck with it, so you can either chose to live with it as-is and repair when necessary, or replace. While you could just place another layer on top of the existing drywall, this requires extending all of the electrical boxes.