Philadelphia: what's the rule regarding insulation?

5 Replies

Hello everyone,

I wasn't sure where to post this, but here's my situation.  I'm currently in the process of rehabbing a house in Philly.  It's an interior unit row home with basement, 1st floor and 2nd floor.  Got all my permits.  Inspector from L&I came out and said that the front and back walls need to be insulated.  So I noted that and after he left, I realized that in the basement, I will be taking down the interior drywall, but one the 1st and 2nd floors, drywall will be placed on top of the existing drywall.

After the inspector left, I tried calling him, but I can't get in touch with him, so I thought I would ask someone here.  I have 2 questions:

1. Since I will be removing existing drywall in the basement, I'm sure I have to insulate the walls before I put new drywall down.  But what about 1st and 2nd floors?  I'm not removing the existing drywall.   Should I still insulate them?

2. Inspector told me that whomever does the insulation, they need to provide a certificate that it was properly done.  I know I can rent a machine that blows insulation from Home Depot.  Obviously, there will be no certificate if I do it myself.  Do I have to hire a company to insulate the walls?  Can I do it myself?

Those of you with experience, please point me in the right direction.  Dealing with L&I in Philly is an absolute nightmare.

Thanks in advance.

I'm guessing @Ethan Giller may be able to answer this for you. He's done a bunch of rehabs in the city. 

My guess is, if you pulled permits for that room, it's got to be brought up to code. This happened on our last flip when electrical permit was pulled for the whole house instead of just the rooms we were making changes to. We then had to upgrade the entire house to todays code (arc fault breakers and tamper-resistant receptacles). 

Unfortunately, I think it would depend on the exact permit pulled, how much work is being done, and likely the whims of the specific inspector.  Usually we get permits to do a full gut rehab or we get EZ permits for specific work so I haven't run into this myself, sorry!  I think your best bet is to confirm with that inspector exactly what he expects, as sometimes the requirements seem somewhat subjective and flexible...

Thank you all for your feedback.  I tried contacting the inspector on multiple occasions, but he's not returning my calls.  Why would he, right?  There's a huge cost factor between insulating just the basements walls vs insulating all 3 floors.

Yeah Russ, I feel your pain.   Major costs difference if all 3. Its anyway you can contact a supervisor or email the inspector who came?  How long did it take to contact him the first time?  Time is money and I would be blowing up there phone,  or down jfk trying to get a inspector back out. Reminds me of why I hate dealing with the city.