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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 2)
on Oct 04, 2005
Thank GOD for your blog - my wife and I were totally taken by the salesman. We cancelled the agreement after reviewing your blog - I am too embarrassed to disclose what the terms were.

Completely learned a valuable lesson - thanks for your time and effor to create the blog.
on Oct 05, 2005
Just wanted to let everyone know, we are having our basement installed as I type this by an Owens Corning installer. Today is day 3 and already had to inform them we are to have 3 doors per quote, they only had 2 doors. In addition, they did not account for the metal beam. I believe my husband and I settled that matter by phone with the lead this morning. The installer is very nice, but only one guy. I will keep you all posted on the progress.
on Oct 05, 2005
Sorry you feel that way, the OC basement system not only has no food for mold or mildew that affects over 37 million Americans each year. mold has increased the nations asma rate over 300% in the last 20 years. how come no one has talked about the combustability of traditional bldg. products. This product may not be the nicest apperance in the home, but remember the basement is just that a basement. You need to look at the realality, the basement is more humid and has higher levels of mositure then the rest of the house. lets see when your basement has water infiltration problems (over 65% do) what are you going to do? yep demolition, repair, repaint etc. so what's more important hanging your art? please.
on Oct 05, 2005
Lenny-I Highly doubt you put in a 800 sqft basement with tile and a jacuzzi for $11,000. You get what you pay for....You can buy a car for $10,000 from hyundia or if you can afford better quality you by the BMW. My wife and just had our basement finished with the OC system and were very pleased. We spent about $29,000 for 600 sqft and it was done in 11 days. They have since held an open house to show the space and I know of four of our neighbors that are getting this system. By the way my Plasma TV in my new basement was $7,500 and you think a basement should be $11,000, maybe in 1980 !
on Oct 05, 2005
I agree with the last response completly. I have to laugh at the people who cancel a contract after reading anonymous web site postings. I spent three hours evaluating this product and negotiated for a fair price. I also paid around 28,000 for a 570 sqft entertainment room. You get what you pay for and I strongly believe in the Owens Corning system.

ps- The installers and my sales rep were fantastic
on Oct 06, 2005
Anyone who buys into any sort of system like this... for basements, siding, or windows... or whatever... is getting EFFING RIPPED OFF! Find a reputable contractor or anyone like that and they will do the same for less than half the price. Wait, no... they will do better.

Scams like this ought to be shut the hell down. Sure, it may "look nice", but you OVERPAYED!
on Oct 07, 2005
I just want to say, I think I got a great deal based on the postings on this site. I have almost 800 square feet and paid just slightly over $20,000. I too did research on this product and kept pushing for a lower bottom line. The installer is wonderful, he is a carpenter by trade, has done both OC and traditional basements. He definitely is looking out for our better interest and wants the basement to look the best it possibly can, because if not done right it can look pretty bad. Changes have been made this week for the better, with no additional cost to us. The installer helped push certain issues with the OC lead who works in the office, not in the field. However, I am disappointed at the progress, seems a little slow, but today the ceiling starts going up, we will see how that looks later. We chose the OC system for many reasons, the main one is the fact it is versitile. If we want to add on, it is easy, to run addl wires for anything, it is easier, if we have a flood, it is easier to clean up and dry out. I also like the fact that it helps muffle sounds, which will be wonderful as we are a loud family! I will continue to keep you all posted with the progress and if we are happy with the finished product.
on Oct 11, 2005
OWENS CORNING BASEMENT SYSTEM
I LIVE IN FAIRFIELD COUNTY AND HAD A OCB SYSTEM INSTALLED IN MAY 05. MY EXPERIENCE WAS NOTHING LIKE YOU SAID EVEN THOUGH I DID PAY A HIGHER PRICE WHICH I CONTRIBUTED TO THE AREA I LIVE IN. NOT ONLY DID I GO THROUGH HELL TO GET A CONTRACTOR IN MY HOUSE TO EVEN PRICE IT OUT, SIX OUT OF TEN NEVER SHOWED UP. I FOUND THE AVERAGE PRICE FROM A CONTRACTOR TO BE BETWEEN $30-$55 PER SQUARE FOOT, WHICH EVEN AT THAT PRICE WOULD NOT BE ABLE TO START THE JOB UNTIL THE WINTER. I FELT IS WAS A LITTLE OF A HIGH PRESSURE SALE BUT I STILL WAITED 3 DAYS TO MAKE MY DECISION AND NOBODY BOTHERED ME EVERYDAY. WHEN I DID DECIDE TO GO WITH THEIR BASEMENT SYSTEM, THEY WERE THE ONES WHO COVERED ALL MY NEEDS. THEY INCLUDED ALL THE LIGHTING, ELECTRIC, TELEPHONE AND CABLE ACCORDING TO MY NEEDS INCLUDING THE PERMITTS WHICH NO CONTRACTOR HAS EVER DONE FOR ME. ALL AND ALL IN MY OPINION OCB WAS A GREAT EXPERIENCE. THE BASEMENT CAME OUT BETTER THAN I EVER EXPECTED. I NO LONGER CALL IT MY BASEMENT, I CALL IT MY FAMILY ROOM. IF ONLY I CAN KEEP MY KIDS OUT.
on Oct 11, 2005
I had an estimate to have my basement finished using the Owens Corning Product. When the salesman first arrived he misrepresented himself as an Owens Corning employee. It was much late in the afternoon (he stayed for 3 hours) that I found out that he was not an employee of Owens Corning, but of an authorized retailer.

The salesman came to my NJ home and priced out a 650 sq ft basement, with one storage area at $43,000. He offered us a discount if we would allow our basement to be used as a model for an “open house”. After the discount the price was $35,000 or about $54/sq ft. The only catch was that the “open house” discount was only available for a limited time and we had to sign the contract before he left. Even though my wife and I do not like to be pressured by pushy sales people using hard sale tactics, we signed the agreement knowing that we would have three business days to change our minds.

After the sales person left, I did a little research online (although I should have done it before he came). I found others who had experienced similar hard sale tactics from Owens Corning sale people. I found one person that actually stated that he negotiated the price down to $30/sq ft. It was then I realized that I had been ripped off and decided to cancel the contract.

BE AWARE! DO NOT USE LET AN OWENS CORNING BASEMENT SALESMAN IN YOUR HOME UNLESS YOU ARE PREPARED TO BE PRESSURED TO OVERPAY AND TO SIGN THE CONTRACT THAT DAY!
on Oct 12, 2005
Well, I must say these post give me a little perspective as far as OC vs drywall goes... overall I think the OC product looked good from the pics I saw and I was impressed with the way the sytem would be installed... they were high pressure and I did sign day one knowing full well I would cancel and have them come back for another consultation... after I cancelled they still put my good faith money through, I thought that was bullshit, I mean what kind of good faith was that... anyway I have a small basement and my price was 18,600 but we could do it for 13,000 with me getting 100.00 per referral on the back end... (so that put me at 11,600) they figured I'd refer about 14 people to them using some formula thus I'd make 1400.00 at some point in the future... I told them when I make the referrals they should keep the money and take my 1400.00 off the top... they did, but we were still about 480.00 from what they offered and what I would pay... they wouldn't give and neither would I... I thanked my sales guy and told him it's too bad we couldn't git-r-done... he left and I called my contractor... looks like drywall:) I will say this they have tremendous profit in this stuff so don't be damn fooled...
I'm selling in two years so it's not that big of a deal...
on Oct 13, 2005
My Girlfriend and I just bought a house together. 1st thing we want is to finish was the basment. We saw the Owens BFS in the mail, and thought it couldn't hurt to learn more about it. I wished I would of did my homework.

The very nice Saleperson came over around 6 'clock. Looked at the basement, sketched it, they we watched 30 minute video while he was estimating a price for the basement. we had 450 sq ft, and about a 186 sq ft that was just getting the drop ceiling. His initial price was $38,000. I was stunned, but liked the product overall, since mold thing scared the hell out of us.

Then he gave us the credit for the showcase special which dropped it to 32,000. My girlfriend said I would be comfortable if this was below 30,000. He called his boss "MR. Wilson" (probably his buddy) at 10:00PM!!! Now of course he came back with 29,999.

You will be astonished..we signed!!!!!!!! That night I did my homework online"This Site" and woke my Girlfriend at midnight to cancel the check. I was going to pay like 55 sq ft. Yes I could actually built an addition with this money. The Basement now is the least priority to get finished, since he scared the girlgriend into not using Drywall. I guess they did one thing right!

NEVER sign , where they want you to sign right then and there!!! Product should always sell it self. Good luck out there people who want your hard earned cash. I could of been paying for the basement for 20 years. What was I thinking.
on Oct 13, 2005
Maybe I'm missing something here. Or possibly, I just got lucky. We did actually do the internet research BEFORE the OC guy came to the house (hello...duh). Again, better to be lucky than good. Our total unfinished basement is 1100sf, and we're having approximately 900SF of the basement finished with the Owens Corning system. Although I'm actually in sales myself, I was surprised that I did very little negotiating and did not even ask for the discounts. As the OC sales guy was giving me the numbers, I knew it was a good deal from the get-go. We live in a brand new, somewhat high-end area of homes, and he immediately offered us the $4000 discount for the "Showcase House" special and another $1500 off if we signed on that day. Our total cost was $27,000, or exactly $30 per square foot for the whole system installed. They are estimating that the completion will take only 5 days. How in the world do you beat this, coinsidering all the advantages and long-term benefits??? Also, our system has a LIFETIME warranty included for all components (I believe this is a new feature to the program). Again, the research ahead of the Owens Corning appointment only makes sense...it's hard for even good salesmen to screw an educated consumer. I'll keep you posted.
on Oct 17, 2005
Well, just a quick note. The installer continues to be wonderful. He is absolutely out for "our" better interests, rather than putting more money into OC pockets. It is the installer that gives OC a good reputation in our eyes. He has been doing quality work since day 1 and I would recommend "him" to anyone if they use OC. The installer expects to be done this week and I believe he will. The basement looks great so far! We are pleased so far. I will let you all know about the finished product.
on Oct 26, 2005
Just wanted to give my final note. The basement is done. My last entry was Day 15 above and Day 5.
The installer did a wonderful job. He cleaned up each and every evening. I can't find anything wrong with his workmanship on anything. The basement is so quiet now. The OC system does help keep noise to a minimum and it really looks great. I wouldn't have been any happier if we had a traditional drywall finished basement. Very happy with the end product. I think we got very lucky to have a caring and honest installer. I would recommend him as a OC installer to anyone who lives in the western suburbs outside of Chicago, IL.
on Oct 26, 2005
I read with interest all the responses about the OC basement sys a day before the salesperson came, and i was happy i did it prepared me a little.
All i can say is that i have to agree with just about waht everbody says, medium to hi pressure, he went through the whole presentation thing even after i told him i saw it all on the website, i think the system is a excellent one with all it's features, but two things bring it down, first the sales tactics, and second the price, the basement area we were doing was approx 270sq ft, not large but it's ours .
He qouted $89sq ft about $23,500, of course we told him thats not doable well if we agreed to host an open house he would take off $4000, so that gets us down to $19500,not doable, i then suggest to him to not include the ceiling so he reduces to that by $5000 to 14,500, then he gives his take it or leave its good for anly 2 days of $13,500 ($50sq ft) So we basically showed him the door, unless he contacts us with a price of around $8000(ceiling incl) we will look at other options. thanks to all the responders to this informative site.
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