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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 16)
on Jul 22, 2007
I was interested in finishing my very new basemnt and was online trying to gain information on how to do it myself as well as ideas for a design. My basement is approx. 500sf with one half concrete walls and the other half with a finished outside wall (with window and door) as well as two walls that needed to be build to close off the garage from the new living area. I at first wanted to get it done in drywall and sheetrock, but stumbled upon the OC website. I saw free estimate and no obligation appraisal with home meeting so I signed up. Now I will admit I am a new homeowner and am very green (but learning fast what to accept and what not to). I thought the product looked great for my new home theatre area, so I got a call back within a day to set up this meeting. Our salesman showed up on time and was very pleasant and not pushy at all. He went through his sales pitch which lasted about 3 hours in total. During this time I had workers in the yard clearing a bank and taking a very large tree out of my yard, so I had to shoot in and out throughout the presentation. (he never complained or said we both had to hear it all together)

He took the measurements and had us watch the DVD while he worked out the pricing for the following. 65' of owens corning wall, two 12ft walls to be built (for closing the area off to the garage, 400sp ft of armstrong ceiling, 11 recessed light with dimmers, cap existing lights, install ceiling fan (which I purchased), 480sq ft of carpeting (given a flooring allowance that just about covered the cost), install dedicated 20amp lines for my audio components with commercial grade outlets, hang one six panel door, build a cap over a plumbing pipe that protruded into the room, as well as a few other small additions that were normal practice for any builder. He gave me a price of just over $20,000. After all discounts and showcase agreements, it ended up just under $17,000.

At first we (me and wife) thought it was high, but as explained on these blogs, he gave us 5 minutes to think it over, but I will admit, the sound and mold benefits had sold me...(I know, I was an easy sell, but I liked the product.) We agreed to it with the understanding that I had a few specific requests for the installer on my home theatre/audio side. I didnt feel like we were pushed, just normal sales practices that I would have employed as well. I guess we could have negotiated a few more thousand off the price, but it was in the moment which is what I would advise everyone who is considering it not to do. Tell him you will think about it, and dont sign anything. That is my one regret. Not the product. For those who think it is cheap or not a good product, you are nuts...expensive, overpriced, yes, but you can negotiate that and you should. I dont think we paid top dollar, but we didnt get the best price for sure.

the main reason we went with it was because I need to be able to run wires or get behind the panels for any issues with plumbing or electrical. I am not finished with my design, so sheetrock would not have worked once sealed. It is more than price and sure there might be other products, but I need the basement finished and our installers took 3 days to finish. It was fast and they were very good. They didnt bother me or cause any disruptions and they cleaned up completely behind them. Abraham was our installer and I would recommend him to anyone. He added three more dedicated outlets to my audio circut without any fuss at all. He actually drove 30 minutes to Lowes to buy the receptacles I wanted. I can be a bit particular on things and he was very accomodating. He even took out the old lighting circut completely wiring and all and added another light to the garage for me without a blink of an eye.

All in all, the product does deliver for a home theatre project and I am happy I didnt get drywall, but there are two interior walls that are drywall in the area so I get a nice contrast with paint and the OC walls. I do have a few issues with the finished product which I will contact Rembrant (the contractor in Atlanta that was responsible for our work) and make sure they come back and finish what I want. Since we didnt haggle price, I fully expect them to do this with no additional charge. They are a very reputable company that does so much more than basements since 1985, so I feel comfortable with them, but time will tell and I will let everyone know what happens with that.

Here is the downside portion that we experienced. We were told that we would be fasttracked because we wanted it dont right away...no delays. We got a letter from out salesman stating he had given our paperwork to Rembrant to get the no interest financing and we should be on our way in a day or two. Well a week later we had to call them and the woman responsible for the financing said we werent in her pile of to-do as she hadnt recieved anything. Rembrant said they would talk to Allen as they have had this problem before. (seems there is a definate disconnect between the sales and contractor in most of these experiences) But they got it worked out and we had a date scheduled in less than a week to start. Well we were promised a monday, but that turned into tuesday and late tuesday at that. But when they got here they did work till 10pm that night and again, they were great. Since we live 2 hrs from atl, they stayed overnight and came back at 8am for the second day.

It is finished now and like i said, I like the results except for a few issues that would be with any contractor. So all in all , satisfied, but not exstatic. The biggest problem is the salesman and I think this is where OC (and contractor) should revisit the whole chain since it is the one glaring issue. I havent heard from him since the issue with the financing. No call back, no how is it going? Nothing at all which seems like I was just a meal ticket. Rembrant has called me since the start to find out if i was happy so far.

So in summary, it is a good product (not great) that does offer benefits for certain applications. For me it was definately the right product, but I should have negotiated better. (lesson learned and wont make that mistake again) It looks clean and the basement is very insulated now (gets hot easily) Workmanship is good (not fantastic) . The service by installer was great as Abraham was very polite, engaging and happy to make any changes we needed even though they like to say that they need to call the office for any changes. (thats BS, they get paid plenty and tell them to pack up and go if they cant offer you things like adding a light or installing a dedicated line, move a door 6 inches to the left(which we did), etc.) The sales tactics are questionable as there are too many 'padded' areas for a salesman to make money. Just have a price list for exact jobs and keep it consistent so we can all feel like were getting value for our dollar. This 'list' price is crap and will cause good people like myself to question our purchase after the fact and leave a bad taste in our mouth. But all in all I am happy and my wife loves it as it gives us all the benefits of what we want in (less than)two weeks from presentation to the workers driving off into the sunset.

Now lets see how the after sale is with them. I will definately keep you posted. Just bear in mind....NEGOTIATE, and make sure you are clear in what you want and if your not comfortable, say no thank you. But it is a good product and regardless if others out there, I dont have time to look at all of them and worry about small price differences. I have my basement quick, and I am sitting listening to my music in my audio room while i write this.

For us? YES, for others, do your homework and look at all the different alternatives. No matter what, there is good and bad experiences for all types of basements.

on Aug 27, 2007
THE BEST BASEMENT SYSTEM OUT THERE PERIOD!!!

I spent almost two years improving upon others' system. At Beyond-Basements we have the absolute best drywall-free fabric wall system out there. And we have a $10,000 guarantee to prove it. See the Q&A in our website. www.beyond-basements.com.

And yes, that claim that we are the best goes for all the other systems mentioned here and advertised here besides Owens Corning. Some differences and some similarities.

1. We stud out all exterior walls. Why would anyone want a wall attached to your crooked foundation wall.
A. Provides air space
B. Enables a straight, square, plumb wall
C. Enables us to put R-13 insulation in the wall (for a total R value of over 17 with our insulation core material)
D. Keeps the insulation away from any wetness from the foundation wall

2. Our insulation core material is a true 6 pound board

3. Our patented track systems enable us to stretch the fabric over the core material
A. We can put our fabric over drywall, paneling, cement board, Dragon board, an iron board...anything you want
B. The insulation board just happens to be the best as it also absorbs about 95% of sound, is soft, and holds up better than drywall
C. Because we stretch the fabric you don't have to worry about any harmful glues holding the fabric to the panel, or worry about the panel coming loose
D. Because we stretch the fabric you can change your color or style later at a very affordable cost
E. We have hundred of colors and styles to choose from and can stretch virtually any covering over your walls (get that custom team logo, etc.)

4. Since we stretch the fabric there are no seams anywhere. We also have a special outside corner for rigidity but again it is unseen as the fabric goes over it.

5. We have a removable trim system with about 25 styles and 15 standard finishes
A. With our unique Universal Retaining Track system we can also attach virtually any trim (a custom one you want made) without fasteners or adhesives. And it is removable also.
B. Again, some of these other systems still nail their trim on.

6. We can put any drop ceiling in. We also do all the work if you want a bathroom, custom bar, entertainment system, fireplace, etc.

7. And yes, our system is recyclable (green), mold/mildew resistant, removable, fire rated, quiet, clean, installed in about two to three weeks, soft, and resistant to most dents.
A. With a glued panel a dent will show much more easily than with our system as the fabric isn't attached to the panel except at the top/bottom and corners of the wall...in other words it has give.



Unfortunately, we only started installing these last October so not many people know about us. We recently franchised in the Philadelphia area but again we are not well known.


If you want to really know about us and other systems in general go to our website and spend an hour of time. You will learn much. www.beyond-basements.com


One more thing. I am the owner and have spent 16 years doing high, high end remodeling. I will put my knowledge and workmanship up against anyone in the entire country. I have $20,000 that no one on this site can find any one of these basement remodelers who knows half as much about construction as us. We also have that $10,000 guarantee that you wouldn't hire any other drywall-free company besides us if you saw what we offered and what our finished product looks like.


Although we don't have dealers/franchisees available in most areas yet feel free to email me with any questions. Just go to the website.


With that said I will offer some statements which seem obvious to me.

1. Know your square footage. I won't give names but I know of several instances where the square footage was embellished by as much as 50%. What it does is make you believe you are paying $25 a s.f. when you are really paying $50 s.f.

2. Use steel studs even if you go drywall. There is no load bearing support and no reason to use something which is prone to fire, can rot, and if not crooked now will be in time. PUT UP STRAIGHT WALLS.

3. Put a drop ceiling in regardless. If you ever wanted to add wires or update your kitchen, you'll need access to that ceiling. Plus, in most basements it would be against code to cover up plumbing clean-outs or electrical junction boxes. Do you really want all those access panels.

4. Ask yourself this. If a company can drop its price 50% in ten minutes doesn't that tell you they either were trying to rape you on price or are doing it at such a low cost that the quality will suffer.

5. Ask yourself this also. Why is the salesman so eager to sign you up now. Because he knows if you had time to think about it you wouldn't go with them. Don't get me wrong, with my knowledge about construction I would never put drywall in a basement again. But at Beyond-Basements we aren't afraid to let the customer think after our visit. In fact, we don't even give a quote on the first visit. Typically our jobs come from three visits and some have even had more. WE ARE NOT HIGH PRESSURE. When you have the most experience, the best product, and the most knowledge and skill an educated and smart shopper will come to you.

6. I always look at things a little differently than most. When I see one company advertising about how they have a transferable warranty and most others don't (we do too by the way) and that's all they state until one goes to their website and reads the fine print and sees "transferable upon $200 fee" it makes we wonder about the credibility of the company. I mean am I the only one who thinks that is deceptive...not in the legal sense but it's just B.S. Or another company which states that you can hang pictures on their wall without some picture hanging kit. You know what, our panels are as dense as anyone's. We can hang a picture without a special kit too. BUT the problem is the nail will show up in the majority of fabrics. See, we tell you the whole story. More on this in my Q&A at www.beyond-basements.com.

7. Who is doing the work. I always loved when the consumer hires a huge, multi-million dollar company and the people actually doing the work are college dropouts earning $15 an hour. Folks, if you were really good and knowledgeable about construction you wouldn't be making $15 an hour. Think about it. I'm the President of Beyond-Basements and I still install jobs. I would doubt if some of these owners ever picked up a hammer in their life.

Remember, don't assume but use common sense. I still can't believe people fall for the "let me make a call and see what I can do" or the "if you sign up today or are flexible with scheduling I can do this."

Take care.

David



on Aug 28, 2007
As Founder and President of Beyond-Basements I know where you are coming from. We looked at Owens -Cornings System, and while great in its conception, its actual application methods, sales tactics, and overall appearance have many shortcomings. I won't bash their sales practices hear or the ethical and moral beliefs they have (there is much on that everywhere). rather I will give a quick difference between the two systems.

First of all, Owens corning attaches directly to the foundation wall. We stud out every wall.


THE BEST BASEMENT SYSTEM OUT THERE PERIOD!!!

I spent almost two years improving upon others' system. At Beyond-Basements we have the absolute best drywall-free fabric wall system out there. And we have a $10,000 guarantee to prove it. See the Q&A in our website. www.beyond-basements.com.

And yes, that claim that we are the best goes for all the other systems mentioned here and advertised here besides Owens Corning. Some differences and some similarities.

1. We stud out all exterior walls. Why would anyone want a wall attached to your crooked foundation wall.
A. Provides air space
B. Enables a straight, square, plumb wall
C. Enables us to put R-13 insulation in the wall (for a total R value of over 17 with our insulation core material)
D. Keeps the insulation away from any wetness from the foundation wall

2. Our insulation core material is a true 6 pound board

3. Our patented track systems enable us to stretch the fabric over the core material
A. We can put our fabric over drywall, paneling, cement board, Dragon board, an iron board...anything you want
B. The insulation board just happens to be the best as it also absorbs about 95% of sound, is soft, and holds up better than drywall
C. Because we stretch the fabric you don't have to worry about any harmful glues holding the fabric to the panel, or worry about the panel coming loose
D. Because we stretch the fabric you can change your color or style later at a very affordable cost
E. We have hundred of colors and styles to choose from and can stretch virtually any covering over your walls (get that custom team logo, etc.)

4. Since we stretch the fabric there are no seams anywhere. We also have a special outside corner for rigidity but again it is unseen as the fabric goes over it.

5. We have a removable trim system with about 25 styles and 15 standard finishes
A. With our unique Universal Retaining Track system we can also attach virtually any trim (a custom one you want made) without fasteners or adhesives. And it is removable also.
B. Again, some of these other systems still nail their trim on.

6. We can put any drop ceiling in. We also do all the work if you want a bathroom, custom bar, entertainment system, fireplace, etc.

7. And yes, our system is recyclable (green), mold/mildew resistant, removable, fire rated, quiet, clean, installed in about two to three weeks, soft, and resistant to most dents.
A. With a glued panel a dent will show much more easily than with our system as the fabric isn't attached to the panel except at the top/bottom and corners of the wall...in other words it has give.



Unfortunately, we only started installing these last October so not many people know about us. We recently franchised in the Philadelphia area but again we are not well known.


If you want to really know about us and other systems in general go to our website and spend an hour of time. You will learn much. www.beyond-basements.com


One more thing. I am the owner and have spent 16 years doing high, high end remodeling. I will put my knowledge and workmanship up against anyone in the entire country. I have $20,000 that no one on this site can find any one of these basement remodelers who knows half as much about construction as us. We also have that $10,000 guarantee that you wouldn't hire any other drywall-free company besides us if you saw what we offered and what our finished product looks like.


Although we don't have dealers/franchisees available in most areas yet feel free to email me with any questions. Just go to the website.


With that said I will offer some statements which seem obvious to me.

1. Know your square footage. I won't give names but I know of several instances where the square footage was embellished by as much as 50%. What it does is make you believe you are paying $25 a s.f. when you are really paying $50 s.f.

2. Use steel studs even if you go drywall. There is no load bearing support and no reason to use something which is prone to fire, can rot, and if not crooked now will be in time. PUT UP STRAIGHT WALLS.

3. Put a drop ceiling in regardless. If you ever wanted to add wires or update your kitchen, you'll need access to that ceiling. Plus, in most basements it would be against code to cover up plumbing clean-outs or electrical junction boxes. Do you really want all those access panels.

4. Ask yourself this. If a company can drop its price 50% in ten minutes doesn't that tell you they either were trying to rape you on price or are doing it at such a low cost that the quality will suffer.

5. Ask yourself this also. Why is the salesman so eager to sign you up now. Because he knows if you had time to think about it you wouldn't go with them. Don't get me wrong, with my knowledge about construction I would never put drywall in a basement again. But at Beyond-Basements we aren't afraid to let the customer think after our visit. In fact, we don't even give a quote on the first visit. Typically our jobs come from three visits and some have even had more. WE ARE NOT HIGH PRESSURE. When you have the most experience, the best product, and the most knowledge and skill an educated and smart shopper will come to you.

6. I always look at things a little differently than most. When I see one company advertising about how they have a transferable warranty and most others don't (we do too by the way) and that's all they state until one goes to their website and reads the fine print and sees "transferable upon $200 fee" it makes we wonder about the credibility of the company. I mean am I the only one who thinks that is deceptive...not in the legal sense but it's just B.S. Or another company which states that you can hang pictures on their wall without some picture hanging kit. You know what, our panels are as dense as anyone's. We can hang a picture without a special kit too. BUT the problem is the nail will show up in the majority of fabrics. See, we tell you the whole story. More on this in my Q&A at www.beyond-basements.com.

7. Who is doing the work. I always loved when the consumer hires a huge, multi-million dollar company and the people actually doing the work are college dropouts earning $15 an hour. Folks, if you were really good and knowledgeable about construction you wouldn't be making $15 an hour. Think about it. I'm the President of Beyond-Basements and I still install jobs. I would doubt if some of these owners ever picked up a hammer in their life.

Remember, don't assume but use common sense. I still can't believe people fall for the "let me make a call and see what I can do" or the "if you sign up today or are flexible with scheduling I can do this."

Take care.

David
on Sep 11, 2007
As a former remodeler, and now as a customer of the OC system. I am happy with the results. I finished many basements with complete electrical, sheetrock, and carpet.
Most were done in the range of $30 -$40 a square foot. When a customer wanted plumbing as well for a bath, bar, or laundry, the price went up from there. I did a large majority of the work myself because finding quality help that is willing to stand behind the work is not easy. I am no longer remodeling because I shattered my wrist and can't physically do the work. I have researched the OC system, and found it an excellent alternative to traditional finishing practices. My wife actually comes down to the basement now. I did a sheetrock ceiling,(I did't want to sacrifice height), and my own electrical, because I can. Yes I paid more than I would if I had hired it out, and obviously more than I could to do it myself. I realize that not only am I paying for a name, a warranty, peace of mind, and speed of installation,(our install took two 11hr days), I am receiving a virtually hassle-free and maintenance-free basement that looks good, I didn't have to do the work, and got my wife off my back about finishing the basement(that alone was worth it to me).
My salesman basically laid out what I wanted except for a minor change which I am pleased he did. He did not use high pressure tactics as some of the horror stories I have read on this site tell, he did go through the different discounts, but he also checked back with us at the final measure, and after the job was completed.
I am thinking about going to work for the company. The quality of the product speaks for itself. You do not need to practice "used car salesman" tactics to sell a quality product. I am not going to bemoan anyone for trying to get a good commission on a sale, they have to provide for their families as well.
I had customers that tried to get basements, kitchens, bathrooms, etc at cost, because they wanted to get something for basically nothing. My costs included: materials, site-labor, business insurance, truck insurance, workers comp insurance, advertising, gas, tools, trips to supply houses, time for completing bids, storage facilities, utilities, rent. I did not do jobs for cost. I had to be able to pay my household expenses too. I was never the lowest bid, and never the highest. The quality of my work spoke for itself. I made sure the customer was satisfied. I did not have a huge advertising budget, because I found that the best advertising is word-of-mouth. If you do a good job, people will tell others about you.
The saleman I had did a good job. The installer did a great job. I would not hesitate in using the company again. If I do start selling the Owens Corning product, I will not use high pressure because I won't need to. People of integrety expect to be believed. You don't need to be a slick talker if you have integrety, and have a good product.
on Sep 18, 2007
From a group of former sales people that worked for Owens Corning selling the basement system out of Illinois.

This communication is being offered, publicly, to WARN anyone considering the purchase of an Owens Corning basement. The information provided is completely accurate because it is coming from several sales people trained in the unethical selling practices of the Owens Corning Corporation and franchisees. Jim Worden from Owens Corning Corporation said that the sales presentation used by the franchisees was created at the corporate headquarters. Jim Worden’s phone number is: 419-248-6881. He did say that some of the lies being taught to new sales people, by the Lisle franchise, were not acceptable and that he was going to make sure that the franchisee owner, Stephen Brooks, would be notified. The practices are still being used in training and in the sales process. It seems that Mr. Worden is good at attempting to pacify but doesn’t really care how Owens Corning customers are treated or if they are lied to. Stephen Brooks is located at: (are you ready for this) 2050 Integrity Dr. South, Columbus, Ohio 43209 and his phone number is: 614-737-9000 and the fax is: 614-737-9001. Scott Stolzenburg is the sales manger at: 2200 Ogden Ave., Lisle, Illinois 60532 and his phone number is: 630-963-4600 and the fax is: 630-963-4480.

Here is a list of lies in the sales process:
1. Owens Corning Basement Finishing System franchisee does not retain their own construction crews. (We were actually trained to tell customers that they were all the caliber of Bob Villa.) One of the sales persons in our training class goes to church with an independent contractor that installs the Owens Corning Basements and he is an independent; that is how we found out that we were lied to.
2. That all the sales personnel or as they call them: Certified Basement Designers are certified. Our certification amounted to our woefully inadequate training and taking a test which we were given the answers to so that we could pass the test; I still have my copy of the test answers.
3. When prospects are being lined up for an appointment they are told that the price is good for a year. Little does the prospect know that the only price that is good for a year is the super inflated list price not any of the discounted prices.
4. We were trained to slightly overcharge because that is a win for the sales person. It also makes up for any items forgotten by the sales person. If the sales person was actually trained how to price a basement then you wouldn’t have to overcharge. Gary one of the seasoned sales reps told me that the sales manager, Jim, was notorious for overpricing jobs by thousands of dollars which was supposed to be a no-no. Jim is taking a sales managers position in another state so how much of a no-no could it be?
5. The sales presentation has 9 steps and is designed to close the sale on the one and only visit from the sales person. Here are the steps of the sales process the Owens Corning way: 1. Warm-up – make friends with the prospect. (Prospects have a hard time saying no to their friend.) 2. Design – go over what the customer would like designed for their basement and then tell them why they need to change it for the homes sales ability down the road. (The reality is that if bathrooms and walls can be eliminated then the sales person has a better chance of selling the job because it will be cheaper. The customer goes upstairs while the basement is designed and priced. 3. Company – make the prospect feel that all contractors are scum and that the only company that can be trusted is Owens Corning. (This is really humorous since they don’t even have their own construction crews so they hire scumbag contractors just like the rest of us idiots) 4. Investment – during this stage the prospect is to be made to believe that the Owens Corning basement is a better investment than a traditional basement because it is Owens Corning. I even had the sales manager, Scott, tell me I should have told the prospect, which I didn’t sell, that some realtors even put a sign under the Home for Sale sign that says: Owens Corning Basement, which he told me he made up but sounded good. The reality is that a finished basement, whether traditional or Owens Corning, will increase the value of the home the same amount. Where the problem comes in is that if you pay an inflated price for your basement, with Owens Corning, your return on investment will not be as great and to sell your home you may have to increase the price of your home, to try and recover the cost of the Owens Corning basement, to a high enough point that you can’t sell your home or you end up lowering the price and take a loss. 5. Product – The goal here is to scare the living daylights out of you that you and your whole family will die of mold! Or that your home will be a tear down and you will lose your whole investment because insurance companies do not cover homes for mold anymore. The reality is that mold is very bad and can kill you but the chances of you being affected that adversely by mold is remote at best. The proof sources of mold contamination that the sales people were to use never specified that the mold started in the basement of the affected homes. The main goal of the product step is to get people to never want to use traditional materials in their basement finishing project ever. The Lifetime Transferable Warranty was actually only good for 15 years and the product is mold resistant not mold preventive. We never saw any kind of a warranty for workmanship or the product. I tested my sample panel by putting it in water and the fabric peeled off. 6. Pre-close this is the pre-close: Folks because each home is unique, we do not make anything before we get an order. It sounds to me like this project is something you will eventually do, if not now sometime in the near future, is that right? (Wait for customer’s response.) Seeing it’s not a matter of if you’ll do this project…but when…let me show you how to save a lot of money by considering it now. (Do not hesitate) Let me ask you, if I can show you a way to save a lot of money, come up with a price or even a monthly investment that fits into your budget…would there be any reason, other than affordability, why you folks wouldn’t want to get the project started while I am here? If the sales person doesn’t sell the job at the first appointment then they don’t get paid a penny for their efforts. The sales process isn’t over because then the recovery program kicks in, which is explained below. 7. Price & Payment – this is the point in the presentation when you show the prospects the drawing and take your time telling them each item that they are getting with their basement. (They are trying to justify their pricing) Now the sales person turns over the drawing and shows the customer the price. This is the point when as a sales person I always had 911 dialed and ready to push send because almost everyone that sees the price just about has a heart attack. We were trained to tell them that they needed to keep an open mind because we had some great discounts to offer them. The discounts are: The Showcase Discount which is 15% off of the list or retail price and a 1% rebate on showcase referrals. The next discount is the flexible installation price which is a 10% discount off of the showcase price. The flexible installation is used every week and each sales person is given a new flexible installation letter at the Monday morning sales meeting. We were trained to act like Columbo and bumble around saying that they have this new incentive that just started and is available on a first come first serve basis; just one more lie. If the prospect doesn’t want to purchase at this point the sales person is to call the sales manager, Scott, and let him know what a great community the prospects live in and how huge their basement project is and that they are excited to be showcase customers and that they can be flexible with their installation date and that they would never even consider putting traditional materials in their basement. Then you tell Scott that the prospects really want the basement but it sounds to you that the project costs a little more than they can afford to spend at this time. He then graciously offers another 5% discount off of the Flexible discount and a 2% referral fee from all sales made from any referrals including the showcase sales. If the customer says no then once the sales person is outside with the prospect and the prospect thinks that the last 4 hours he spent in hell is over the sales person is to ask what the real reason is that they didn’t purchase the Owens Corning basement (HELLO IT IS JUST WHAT WE SAID IT IS TOO BLOODY EXPENSIVE!!!). Then the sales person can offer the deal to the prospect for the retail cost times .67 which is called a loss sale close because there just isn’t anything left to discount. One of the seasoned sales rep, Tom, was really good at spending 4 hours in a persons home and coming as close as possible to getting thrown out and then going through this process at the door. Now if you thought that WAS THE BEST THAT THEY COULD DO you were wrong. At some point in the near future a gentleman by the name of Bill, from the recovery department, will call you and let you know that the inept sales person measured incorrectly and that the prospect was over charged. Now Bill can get the cost down to the retail cost times .62 and if you read the web sites that speak about what people finally ended up paying for their Owens Corning basement they could get it down to $28 per square foot which is still less than the factor of .62. The original sales person makes nothing on this sale and I am sure the sales managers all make the same as usual. The franchisee from the Lisle, Illinois franchise must be a bigger pig than other franchisees in other parts of the country. I was even told by the seasoned rep, Gary, that the assistant sales manager, Jim, had found out that you could get an Owens Corning basement for $20 per square foot in other parts of the country. 8. Close – this is where you go in for the kill and remind the prospect of all their positive answers given earlier in the presentation that closes all the escape hatches so that the only honest thing the prospect can do is purchase. If they don’t they are liars and all customers are slippery liars and can’t be trusted. 9. Button Up – the goal is to keep the order because the prospect has 3 days in which they can cancel so if the sales person doesn’t do a good button up then the new customer may come to their senses and cancel.

These are most of the lies and dishonest sales tactics that we can remember. It begs the question that if the Owens Corning product is so good why does it need to be sold in such a corrupt and quick manner?

We were duped into believing the lies and didn’t even realize how many lies we had been told until we ran into people that knew about the distortions and lies and enlightened us to the truth. We were made to believe that there are no other products on the market that can compete with Owens Corning and that just isn’t true; there are a lot of products and companies.

Check out these web sites:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/basements/msg0122584619783.html

http://forums.joeuser.com/?forumid=7
on Sep 27, 2007
This forum is very interesting. I think there is a lot of good information and bad information. I think we can all agree the sales process is a little suspect, but I think we can also agree the product does what it says it does. That said, the price is way too high, but again, how do we know that? We cannot compare it to anything from DIY stores. I personally do not like that when I speak with a "rep" or with Owens Corning themselves, I cannot get a price for the product.

Here is my experience. An Owens Corning "rep" came to our house to discuss a basement solution. My fiance agreed to a meeting, which was later scheduled over the phone. The "rep" was your typical "buddy-buddy" salesperson. Anyway, our in home consultation started at 6pm on a Thursday evening. The "rep", who we found out later was an "assistant manager" was very nice. We discussed local business as he was from the area. After he measured the basement, we went upstairs. He then began the sales presentation with emphasis on the mold scare. He also addressed mold issues at area model homes in nice, higher end neighborhoods. He asked us if we wanted to watch a DVD - twice. We declined - twice. He then started to calculate the price. He measured our basement at 487 sq. ft (whatever that means in OC lingo). The first price he quoted was $32,500. So after my heart attack, I told him we cannot do that. That's when, as noted in several posts, he started with the coupons, discounts, flexible install, carpet allowance, etc... By the time he left, the price was down to $24K. We still said no, even to the finance deal (6 mos deferred payment). He left at 9:30pm. Two days later, he came back to the house with a 45% off deal. Now the price was $18K with a year deferred payment. So, long story short (too late) the price has been reduced $14K for no reason. We told him no again.

That's when we thought it was all over. Well, a couple days ago, OC called wanting to send a manager out to remeasure and reprice. He did. Instead of our basement being 487 sq ft, it is now 600 sq ft. Also, the bottom line the manager had for us was $22K. He apologized for us being mislead previously. He was very nice and left without incident. He also said how we were not treated according to OC standards.

I am going to wait a while and do a traditional drywall basement. There are materials available doing it the old fashioned way that reduce mold and insulate well for a fraction of the cost of OC basement system. As mentioned in other posts, I am not wild about the trailer home seams in the wall of the OC product, even though it could be worse. If you do the OC system, you will be happy with it I bet - you have no choice. My fiance and I like the OC system, but it is not for us.

In closing, if you are in the KC area and are interested in the system, call Jack through the Owens Corning office. He was very professional and thorough.
on Oct 12, 2007
Beware in Indiana!

We had a salesman, David H., that visited our home. After a pressure sales pitch that lasted four hours (originally scheduled for 90 minutes), we signed an agreement. Upon review of the product, we decided to cancel the agreement, which was our right under Indiana state law. The salesman then proceeded to argue with us and stating that we need to stick to our word.

On the night of the sale, we gave him the apprasal of the house that we received at closing. He said that he would use this to help get the financing approved. Upon cancellation of the contract, we wanted this paper returned. He came out to the house under the premise of delivering our paperwork. He turned that visit into a last ditch effort to get us to agree to buy their product (at a price that was 50% of the original price). He said he talked with his manager and that they really wanted to be in our neighborhood and our location (near the models) was a prime advertising location. We told him that we were not interested, due primarily to his sales tactics. After we told him the final no, he got up to leave. We asked again for our apprasal back and he stated it was "in the car". He walked out to his car, got in and proceeded to leave. I followed him out to his car, having a feeling he would try something like this. He insisted that he did not have the paperwork with him and that he would have to mail it to us. After a five minute agruement where he insisted he did not have the paper with him, he finally relented. He opened the paperwork that he had inside the house, pulled out our apprasal and returned it to me. He then stated that I was setting a great example to my kids on how to act like an adult.

This salesman was absolutely unprofessional, resorting to insults when things did not go his way. I was highly offended by his attitude, actions and his overall handling of the situation. Origianlly, I was willing to give the company another chance, when the situation warrented it, but, after this salespersons actions, I will not and I will recommend to anyone that asks about finishing their basement to not use their services.


Project Size: 474 sqaure feet
Original Price: $38,974
"Showcase" Price: $30,794
Final (at cost) Price: $20,708
on Nov 09, 2007
After looking into OC, Impressive and a couple of others, we're going with Impressive. The biggest issue I had with each going in were the seams, Impressive had the best results. The West Michigan/Impressive rep was in and out in no time with no pressure to sign today and on top of that they beat the others buy 10k and 12k. It was nice after the beating I took from the others. The other big thing is the lifetime manufacturers warranty and the better business bureau reports. Some were shocking.
West Michigan Basements is now the dealer for Impressive Basements on the west side of the state.
Definitely do your homework and dig in for a battle when you have some of these companies come for an estimate.
Here's the website for West Michigan for those interested www.westmichiganbasements.com
Happy hunting
on Nov 21, 2007
I began my search on the net looking for sunrooms and I saw Owens Corning's SunSuites. I became interested and was doing comparison searches and stumbled upon the basement system and this forum. The same "dealer" that installs the basement system is also the same 'dealer' that was indicated for sunroom installations. So I guess the same sales person sells the basement and sunroom systems. Oh boy. Now I am trying to find a forum about complaints if any about Owens Corning Sunsuites.

South Jersey
on Nov 28, 2007
This is very timely for me. I am in the process of making a decision on who to hire to finish my basement. I have 2 bids form traditional drywall contractors and another 2 due in tomorrow. I also have been getting bids from the basement systems companies including OC, Impressive and Total Basement. I am in a old house, the basement has always been wet and this past spring I had a disaster with a foot of water in the basement. Since I had to get everything out of the basement anyway and need the space, I decided to waterproof and then finish the basement. So I now have the french drain and triple sump pump installed. And an architect friend drew up a plan for my needs for a a basement.

My experience with OC has been similar to others. I understand now why the guy at the home show did not know if his system was the one featured on the Bob Vila web site. First one guy showed up and then rescheduled and then i was doubled teamed ... though they did not stay for 3 hours. The price was high 30 with a 15% discount from the home show and another 10 if I signed that day to bring it close to 23k. Last saturday a manager showed up and dropped the price to 23k because they had excess inventory that they wiil be taxed on. This is in line with what the traditional builders are quoting me... from 25 to 33K depending on items I provide myself.

Such as windows and toilet fixtures and carpet, etc.

Impressive pricing has been in line with that but the big difference is that they will do it all. Get and install windows, the bathroom, move my laundry, etc. So it is much better value for money. And they did provide references for me to talk to though i have not seen the system in real life ... only samples.

Total basement has a complete show sytem set up that you can visit and get an idea of how it will look. And since they also offer a cement board wall you have the option of having some walls that you can paint for those area that you do not think you will need to access in the future. Their system was twice as expensive as the others but included a lot more, things like an egress window ... more partition walls, etc.

So besides the money... my big concern with the basement systems is aesthetics. I do not want my basement to look like I am in cubeland at work. And even choosing colors which may appeal to a future home owner could be a challenge with Impressive, because my taste may not be in line with most people ... it is not a problem when you can paint over walls.

The only easy decision I have made is to strike OC from the list. If Total basement stays very high then, that i will not use them. I might use the flooring system, they have. I am very busy and do not have a lot of time to run around choosing carpet samples.

I also believe that despite the money i spent on the waterproofing that i will have water in the basement from above stairs. i have examples of how water migrates to the basement if a sink overfows and with a 4 year old in the house there is opportunity for another disaster. That is why I am considering the basement systems even though i think my taste will run to a more traditional look.

Any comments or advice or knowledge about Impressive or total basement solutions would be appreciated.




on Dec 04, 2007
Has anyone had problems with the OC system not floating on a floating slab?? We have mildly expansive soil in Colorado and had the OC system installed on our floating basement slab. The sales people told us it would allow for the 1.5" of float that is required by Colorado Building Code. We had the system 2 months and the slab moved .5" which is common with mildly expansive soil in Colorado and the walls have buckled and the molding has twisted. We are being told by OC that their system cannot handle movement but they told us it would. Their drawing even states that it is to be built on a floating slab. I even gave them a copy of our soils report. They lied to us to sell the product and now it looks like hell. Does anyone else have experience like this?? Please email me at mburtis@comcast.net. We are about ready to sue for false representation of a product and have this product banned from Colorado because it cannot be build to Colorado code.

Originally we were pleased with the product but we were lied to about its ability to float on a floating slab. We should of installed a drywall system with slippage and we would not have this problem.  
on Jan 29, 2008
We're in the greater DC metro area and had an OC sales guy come over last night. Our experience was similar to that of many other posters here - the long presentation (almost 4 hours), lots of emphasis on mold horror stories, the hard sell and ultimately, the bottom line price which I think tops any of the others I've seen on this site. To finish slightly under 1100 square feet, we were given a quote of $71,000. Yes, that's right - $71,000 which did not include flooring. Surprisingly my husband and I managed to keep from fainting (or laughing since we'd gotten another quote for a "traditional" finished basement of about $35K including flooring and bathroom). Of course if we would allow our home to be a "showcase home" he would knock the price down to $54,000 which according to him was a real steal - but we needed to act quickly because apparently there are people in this area clamoring to be OC showcase homes, and there is only one allowed per zip code (??). The salesman kept reminding us that the showcase home discount wouldn't be available for long but that he would very considerately keep from making calls in our area for a few days in order to give us first dibs at this amazing opportunity.

Needless to say, we will be going the traditional route with our basement.
on Sep 09, 2008

I have visited this site several times reading about O.C and boy i am glad i did wy wife and i have been thinking about remodeling our basement for quite a while now and have been reading all these posts, and were afraid to have a sales rep come to our home, we live in NY and there is only 1 O.C dealer here. Well after 4 hours of B.S exactly everything that was said on this site we finaly threw the sales rep out he started at $76,000 then $66,000 all the way down to $41,000 and my response to him was so what your telling me is that you were trying to rip me off for $35,000 a price for a new car, i didnt even want to hear his response we just threw him out. A week or 2 went by and we went to a home show and found this product by Temo me and my wife were blown away when we seen it. the walls were hard not soft and there were no seams, it had multiple colors and looked great. We had a sales rep come out and i guess they all play these sales games but they were not as bad they dropped there price once and did not make us feel so (dumb and Stupid) when it came to mold, they didnt shove it down our throats trying to scare us. We signed a contract at $43,000.00 from $47,500.00 so the price deduction was not as crazy and didnt make us feel like we were getting ripped off. Plus i didnt sign that night we called them back 2 days later. 3 weeks later our basement was finished in 4 1/2 days i cant believe the finished product it looks like upstairs you cant even tell its a basement. The product i would give a 10 the sales rep who did come by during construction and thats why i will give him a 8.5, and the installation was a 10. there is a better alternative to O.C its called Temo if you are interested in this product i found there web site its Temobasements.com Overall i guess i am glad i have visited this site several times because i knew what to expect.

on Aug 17, 2009

I am just going to make this short.  Everything that happened to others on this site happened to me.  My fiance asked the sales rep all kinds of questions.  Then when it came down to the bottom line the price was a whopping $77,000.  And he just put it on the paper.  He didn't break it down.  All kinds of thoughts were going through my head that I just didn't say out loud.  Then of course the show case dropped the price down to $56,000.  I still thought way too much.  My friends, husband and wife, told me that they had theirs done, with corning, for $16,000.  They had it done 4 years ago.  The square foot of their home is 1700 alnd mine is $1100.  I thought it shouldn't gone up that much in 4 years.  Then again maybe.  But I don't think I am going to go with them but after seeing the demo I really was impressed and I don't think I want to go with dry wall.  Besides my fiance doesn't like dry wall too much.  I've read several of the blogs on this site and was given several places that does not use dry wall so I think I am going to look into that.  Thanks.

on Jun 13, 2010

I have a quick question concerning price per square foot. What does that include.  I assume that includes the material and labor for the walls, ceiling, lighting and outlets and any doors.  We currently have a basement of approximately 1000 sq ft. that is partially finished with 1970's wood veneer panelling.  We were contemplating redoing this section with the OC system. This would entail replacing the baseboard heating.  Is providing for heating, whatever the source normally factored in the square footage cost or is it determined separately.  Additionally, in order to come up to code we have to enlarge (an cut into the foundation) one of the windows to create a large enough egress point.  How much in addition would something like that add to the cost?

Thanks for any tips or suggestions.  I understand I would be paying a premium for this system but how of a % increase is reasonable? 

 

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