Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
Post your experiences here
Published on September 6, 2005 By Draginol In Home Improvement

Back in 2003, I had my basement finished using the Owens Corning Basement System.  It's an alternative to dry-wall that looks similar to dry-wall but is actually soft to the touch (that is, it is almost like a cushion).

The advantages of Owens Corning's system to normal dry-wall (According to Owens Corning) include:

  • Basements can be finished much quicker.  The 1200 square foot or so of our basement that we got finished was done in about 10 days (compared to months with dry-wall).
  • It is very damage resistant -- it doesn't scratch, it looks the same 2 years after the fact.
  • It is allegedly black mold resistant.  Drywall, being made of wood, can serve as a place for mold to grow.  Owens Corning's system is synthetic, nothing grows.
  • It's water damage resistant -- you can get it wet and it looks fine once it dries.
  • It acts as a great sound proofing mechanism.  The basement is quiet.
  • It has good acoustics. Great for home theaters and such.

It also has down sides:

  • It's quite expensive. Significantly more-so than Dry Wall.
  • The sales people who sell it use an obnoxious hard sell technique that is, IMO, borderline unethical.
  • It is hard to modify. That is, you want put shelves or "nail" things to the wall, you really can't, you have to do it with special fasteners since the wall isn't made of wood, it doesn't support other structures being placed on it well.
  • You're tied into Owens Corning for repairs, modifications, etc.
  • Bears repeating - the sales people who sell it use rather unsavory sales tactics in which if you don't actually bargain them down you could pay 2X as much as you really should.

My original review can be found here.  Since it was the first review on a major site, it has over 150 different websites pointing to it. 20,000 people alone have visited because it shows up high in Google's search engine.  But it also means that there's hundreds of comments which can be hard to go through.

So I've established this running article as a way for people to post their experiences with Owens Corning Basement System. 

My overall experience has been positive. But since I run a company and deal with aggressive sales people all the time, I didn't have a problem neutralizing their sales techniques.  But they are unusually aggressive (note that these sales people rarely work for Owens Corning directly, they work for other companies who sell it).  And our experience was mildly soured by attempts to nickel and dime us at the end. 

But overall, 2 years later, I'm pretty happy with it and am glad we went with it. I do sometimes get jealous of my neighbors who did a true "full finish" basement that looks like their upstairs.  But then I remind myself that it took them 6 months to do that whereas mine was done in 10 days without any mess or fuss.  It's not for everyone but for us, it worked out pretty well.

Please feel free to share your experiences in the comments area and I will try to post some of them here from time to time.

Comments (Page 11)
on Jun 16, 2006
on Jun 17, 2006
paid under $42 / sq foot with little negotiation.
on Jun 20, 2006
Just had the OC rep at my house last night. Same high pressure sales pitch as everyone else, but he was very polite and went through everything in detail even though I said from the outset that I just wanted a price so I could start to save up.

275 square feet - perfect little rectangle. Ceiling included and electrical to code.

First price was $25,000 = $90/sq ft
Second price was $21,000 = $77/sq ft
Third price was $18,000 = $65/sq ft
Last price was $16,000 = $58/sq ft.

At that point he packed his bags and left. I'm still interested and am going to save up for it, but I do expect to get it for the best price, even though they told me to only guaranteed price for one year was the $25,000.
on Jun 22, 2006
We are having the Owens Corning system installed in our unfinished basement right now. They want to know if we want a 1/2" or 5/8" gap between the concrete floor and their base panel frame. I am unsure of the flooring options at this time and was wondering if anyone could give me advise on what gap choice goes with carpet, laminated tile, or other products like the dircore or superseal subfloor system. What is your experience with choosing various flooring options and how it matches with the Owens Corning panel structure. Thanks.
on Jun 23, 2006
Look up a company called OvrX Manufacturing the make Insulated Sub-flooring tiles and wall panels for your basement. (
The cost to complete your basement will be drasticly reduced using there system.

The insulated tiles have a Rvalue of 3.2 and the wall panels have a value staring from R5.5 and up...!
The wall panels just screew into the block or cement wall very no need for studs etc ,quick to put up company claims 2x8 insulated section goes up in less then two can drywall over the panel or buy there pre-finished wall.

Your looking at a cost well below $30.00 per sf

I design homes for a living and this is a nice
on Jun 23, 2006
The whole reason I bought the system was to keep the wood and paper products out of the basement. All of that stuff is food for mold and we have enough sinus infections in this family anyway. It says styrofoam on the back side (pourous, yet known to condensate and mold) and OSB on the front (wood??=cellulose). I would use that panel in my attic or on the garage upstairs in the guest house but not in the basement. 25.00 a square foot or not, you might as well put Drywall in it.

on Jun 26, 2006
They Styrofoam is actually a closed cell polystyrene from Dow Chemical the same stuff that is used for floating docks, it also acts as a vapor barrier too. The closed cell polystyrene is inert and will not initiate mold growth. This polystyrene has been in use for over 30 years in all types of buildings such as White House and the Taj Mahal.

Regarding Sub-floors systems:

OvrX controls the dew point to ensure that moisture does not form under the sub floor. Because they use insulation, the cold side of the floor remains cold and the warm side remains warm thus preventing the formation of condensation- “OvrX keeps the hot side hot and the cold side cold.

Competitors use plastic and as a result the temperature varies and condensation forms where warm air meets cold. The result will be condensation that will eventually result in mildew or rot.

on Jun 26, 2006

OvrX insulated sub flooring tile has its closed cell foam engineered to come all the way out to its outer edges, no wood exposed to the underside of our panels another feature they paid attention to!...just look at the competitors put two pcs together flip it over and look at the exposed wood to the concrete.

“With out insulation you have a greater chance of creating a situation of naturally occurring water vapor form the concrete condensing under the sub floor panels”


on Jun 26, 2006
OvrX and Capillary action:

This is where both competitors get confused and incorrectly referrer to this as vapor emissions or Humidity….and how important insulation “Closed Cell” plays to protect against capillary action.

Water that is in liquid form not vapor form, is attracted by warm concrete from cool soil. It seeks the warm concrete and can move laterally from the sides of the slab to the center of the slab. The warmer the concrete, the greater the attraction. Keeping your concrete at soil temperature reduces the capillary action dramatically.

“Insulation helps keep the concrete cooler and reduce capillary action through the concrete.” Keeping it dry!

on Jun 26, 2006
OvrX - The OSB are using is formulated to work better in damp and moist conditions……..this is not the regular OSB you buy off the shelves as it was specially designed and formulated to meet basement conditions. They also use a sanded product so application of surfaces i.e. carpet, engineered hardwood, laminates is easier because tolerances are exact.

One area that OvrX is different then dricore or is that its a little thicker....but considering all the other benfits of a well engineered sub-floor like OvrX is a small price to pay (OvrX 1 1/8 thk and dricore 7/8" thk.)

I hope this information will help you make a sound choice when it comes to Sub-flooring in the basement. ..oh and talking about sound it has a STC rating of 55IIC!

Couple of interesting sites:Blog:; Dow:; OvrX:

Good luck!
on Jul 06, 2006
Just finished with an OC Rep here in Southern Mass, today. Actually he was very friendly & polite. Being in sales myself, I did give him the courtesy of hearing the "Canned" OC pitch. I made it clear up-front that I would not be making a decision today & would be getting other quotes. The price with discounts, Show Home, etc, came in @ $46,000 for 807 SQ FT. I am interested in the product, but not at $57.00 per SQ Ft. Have no issue with the REP though & most likely will be calling him for a lower price.

on Jul 16, 2006
I found this board AFTER I had my Free In-Home Estimate, but fortunately I did not bite on that initial offer. The estimate I got - including the standard B.S. discounts that they apparently offer to everyone - works out to about $88/sq. ft. As many others have commented, I did recognize the practical advantages of the system. Also as commented by several others: It's a shame they don't just make this material available at Home Depot and Lowes, and other such stores; just as with drywall, most people realize that they can either go with a Do It Yourself project and maybe spend way too much time (and maybe get a sloppy job if they don't have the right skills), OR they can pay more and get a fast, neat professional job. At least there should be that choice. I haven't totally written off the possibility of the OC system yet, but I am investigating other options. I think the main things about the OC system that still appeal to me are the acoustic dampening properties and speed of installation.
on Jul 20, 2006
Wow -- I was so disgusted by experience from the OC guy that I started writing a letter to the OC local office. I did a quick google search, found this site and starting laughing. I'm not sure what's funnier - the fact that I was going to even write a letter or how similar the experiences were. My favorite parts of the experience include the 2 1/2 hour meeting, the fact that our rep was horrified that she had gone through the trouble of "getting us the SPECIAL showcase home" discount and we said no or that she wouldnt even leave ANY marketing material - not even a business card - "you know, this stuff is expensive". Her original estimate was $61 and it went down to $53 if we did the home special.

I literally went from somewhat interested to very interested to incredibly disgusted. Imagine all that - in just 2.5 hours!

I plan to send that letter not only to the local office but to OC corporate. It probably wont matter - this site has much more impact - thank you so much for all the feedback...!
on Jul 26, 2006
I don't know who this guy knows that works for OC, but he is miss informed. The price may be higher, but is is well worth it. The reps don't make even close to that much(10 - 15 % is rediculous). Do you expect the reps not to make anything? They do get a small %, but nit that high. Are they not doing a job just like a real estate agent or a drug rep. For the people who had a bad experience with the reps, I am sorry that happened. Not all sales reps for OC are hard slaes. I know that in the area that we sell in our agreement are very clear and decicive. Every detail down to any special requests, ie don't let the dog out or put up bracing for my flat screen tv, are put on the agreement. The "Showcase" discount is legit. Our office takes full advantage of the open houses to gain more business. As for a price of 25$ to $40 / sq foot that is resonable. In most cases that encompasses everything from permiting to cable and phone jack. It does not include carpeting, bars, or custom work. If you decide to go traditional finishing that is your business, but remember, if you spend $20,000 on them instead of $30,000 on OC 1) you'll be lucky if the price stays there and 2) the first time you have to tear out or repair because of water damage or mold it would have been worth the extra $10,000.
on Jul 26, 2006
Every area is different as far as permits and codeing and labor. The prices can vary depending on amount of work. $30 to $55/sq ft is great, but know your area.