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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 9)
on Mar 24, 2006
my wife and I had the basement experts out to our house and although the presentation of the product is time consuming it really was not a bad experience. the sales person was knowledgeable and courteous and just an all out nice guy. we have looked at other companies with similar system but the oc system is much nicer. some companies have them on color but the way it installs and how every thing goes together is far superior, plus the substance of the overall material looks like it is built better.we are going to have the oc system put in soon, I'll follow up on how the progress is going fyi. 500sqf 10 electrical outlets 9 can lights drop ceiling and an additional smoke detector. we live in Michigan so I hope the basement is noticeably warmer in the winter with this system.
on Mar 28, 2006
I guess I do not understand why the OC rep cannot show all of these "showcase homes" before they begin the quote process? Wouldn't that sell the product much better?
Also, to that point, does anyone really want their home opened up to a bunch a strangers to walk through in an effort to get a lower price for the installation?
After reading all of these posts, the bigger question I have is how to clean the surfaces? If the walls are fabric, do you have to vaccum them? You may get rid of the mold problem, but could end up with a dust/allergy problem in return. At least with drywall you can wipe the walls down with a dame sponge and call it a day.
I think the postings have been great and agree with others, you need to do your research before you buy anything big and be prepared for the sales tactics as they come with the territory. The same thing could happen to someone who chooses the drywall route for your basement. If you appear gullible enough and not prepared, someone is going to take advantage of you.
Thanks again for the postings. Now I know that if I do have OC come out, what to expect and what I should pay :>
on Mar 29, 2006
I am in the basement wateproofing business, and all we do is spend our time tearing out drywall before installing a water control system. I am currently looking to get into a basement finishing franchise because I could sell it all day long!!! Drywall is cheaper- yes, but for all of you who think that your good with drywall in the basement-- YOU ARE IN FOR A BIG SURPRISE SOMEDAY!!
on Apr 01, 2006
After getting a feel for the OC pitch on this site, I cancelled my appointment. I can give my business to anyone and reputation is extremely important. OC needs to get a handle on the reps they are putting into peoples homes. Its a bad business model to scam people. Thanks for the heads up!!
on Apr 01, 2006
Whew!!! WE escaped the high pressure sale. We must admit, we waivered a bit at the end but really felt that having to make a decision right then was just not right. As soon as he walked out the door (after 3 1/2 hours, showcase, flex, boss, etc) we got on the internet and find this is "the way" of OC sales. I am in sales myself and would NEVER sell this way. This site has done an excellent job helping people understand that. We are in Cincinnati and our price ended up being $38sf. Champion will be coming out next so we will see what they have to say.

What I would like to the basement system warm? I always find basements to be cold and wondered how their ceiling heat vent works. We know we can't do drywall in our basement so a bit more info on this would be helpful. Thanks!
on Apr 02, 2006
We recently viewed the Owens Corning Basement system in a trailer at a local Home show. Viewing the products in person made a huge impression on both myself and my spouse.

The sales rep at the home show displayed a floating interlocking square floor tile system offered with either a tile or carpet finish. The flooring samples looked like a 1/4" thick sturdy but flexible vinyl or rubber grids fused with either carpet (olefin fibres) or tile finish. This flooring product was as durable, mold resistant and hypoallergenic as the OCBS wall product. The vinyl/rubber grid functioned as a channel for moisture/condensation to escape and allow air to circulate and warm the floating floor system. This flooring was quite attractive and very comfortable to walk on.

After a lengthy presentation, calculation and negotiation, the final price quote included the walls, ceiling, trim, pole wraps, some lighting and doors @$45/sf (after incentive discounts - discussed by others above). NO Flooring was included.

As a comparison, the local rate for standard drywall finish (without extra's such as special wiring or plumbing) is $40/sf (based on 3 recent quotes).

This salesman, very courteous and professional in all other respects, was unprepared to offer any detailed information about this interlocking grid floor product. He could not identify any specific details about the flooring product and could only give a ballpark estimate of $10K for 850 s.f. space.

Having spent the better part of a week trying to identify the flooring product online . . .we're at a dead end. Owens Corning's website doesn't offer any hint about this product whatsoever, leaving us to wonder whether the flooring system is part of the Owens Corning product line at all.

Does anyone have any detailed information about this type of flooring? Has any other OCBS representative display this flooring product? Who makes it? The product would be made of vinyl or rubber with olefin ( polypropylene ) fibers for the carpet option and vinyl (ceramic look) tiles for the other. This flooring product would not contain any wood or chipboard as found in either DRICore @ Lowes or Subflor SUPREME @home Depot . The grid appeared (from memory) to be sturdier than the Dri-Dek Interlocking tile as well.

The flooring product most resembled the ThermalDry® Basement Floor Matting used as a base fused with either the olefin carpet or tile option.

Any information or leads would be greatly appreciated.
on Apr 03, 2006
After a home show in st louis I had requested info from OC and and another basement system I had not heard of, Impressive Basement Systems. The Owens both had no in samples and would give us little or no info on pricing. The boy working the booth was in a white tee shirt??? He tried to get us to commit to a sales call the next day and we said no thanks! A little later we came across the Impressive Basement Systems booth. There was a display setup with walls and ceiling that we could touch. We noticed there are no dividers between the wall panels. Also when we stepped in the sound of the room went away, to kool!!! When we asked the attendant about pricing he was very helpful and told us between $25.00 and $50.00 a square foot based on bath, flooring and wet bar options. We found the people at Impressive Basement Systems very helpful. So much we purchased one of there Systems.
$27 a foot included a half bath and floors!!! Glad we found Pro Basement Finishers of St Louis before we had OC come out.

Happy in St Louis
on Apr 05, 2006
Well they delivered the system today, prior to that the installer met with me earlier that morning to go over the install with me lights, outlets, etc. he was courteous and well informed I was confident that he was going to do nice work since he was doing the job himself basically he will be accountable every step of the way with nobody else to blame! I like that.Its April 5th Ill keep you updated on the progress.
on Apr 05, 2006
Where are you located? State, and or City?
on Apr 07, 2006
We live in walker mi "Grand Rapids area"
on Apr 07, 2006
Just an update. all of the aluminum studs are up"and yes they are doubled up" all 3 doors are are up,and our egress window was nicely framed in. Tim our installer is doing a very nice job he is very picky about his work as am I. You can really see it all coming together. next week the ceiling and wall panels go up stay tuned in for more. all this was done in 2 days
on Apr 12, 2006
Well it is day 5 and our basement is looking great all of the walls have been built and all of the panels have been put in place it will even look better once the ceiling and battens are installed. FYI right now the panels are held in place by just little pieces of battens just to get proper fitment before the finished product is put on. Our installer Tim is doing a fantastic job as well every day I meet with him and talk about what hes going to do today and he ask me how it looks he also cleans up after himself as well. One thing that I've noticed as well you would not believe how quite it is in the basement it will even get better once the ceiling is in place. Ill keep you posted as the basement progresses once again no complaints.
on Apr 14, 2006
I can't stand sales tacktics like the OC uses. Please give a fair price for a quality product with no games. I had a salesman come over and was hit with the same speal. I found this site the same day I set the appointment with the OC, so I was armed. From the second he walked in it started. I made it a point to control the conversation to throw him off. To my disappointment the salesman did everything that was said on this blog. I was quoted 30,000 for a 600 sq. ft basement.

To make a long story short I went with Carrol's Basement Remodeling in Fox Lake, Illinois. I got everything I wanted for 12,000 and it was completed in 6 weeks. As a thank you to Carrrol's, I would like to give them a recomondation, for anyone in Illinois who needs their basement remodeled or finished call them at 847-372-1591. I am a real customer and gain nothing from this.
on Apr 15, 2006
Met with an Owend Corning sales rep last weekend. First qoute for OCBFS worked out to $102.50 per square foot of finished basement, final 'best price' after all the discounts mentioned in other posts was $82.50 per square foot. No issues with the sales person, but the first price REALLY suprised me (even though I expected it to be high after reading this blog) as it was just about what we paid per square foot to build the house. A friend of mine down in Stafford County just had his basement finished (drywall), $25,000 for 1,000 sqft including a bath... OC qoute was very complete and included their 'option B' bath, ceiling, carpet, lights, electrical, etc. Had to put the project on hold, and will probably go with a different solution when we are ready to go ahead and finish the basement, although my wife and I liked the product, speed of installation and little or no dust.
on Apr 19, 2006
Well our basement is finished and it is awesome. all of this was done in 10 working days. our installer Tim is great.the fit and finish is superb, all mitered joint areas are perfect his detail is outstanding. everyday the basement was clean and ready for the next working day. the sound deadening is out of this world the ceiling, lights, outlets, doors all look and perform excellent once the carpet goes in it will all tie it together. my wife and I are very happy with the way it all came together from the salesman"Dave b" to "Gene" who came to check Dave's measurements to "Tim" who finished it all up. FYI we never got the hard sell ,never got the flex plan, let me call my manager ,showcase home, that others have talked about in this blog in our opinion they all overachieved our expectations. GOOD JOB GUYS YOU ALL DONE WELL I would recommend this product to anybody who is looking for an alternative way of finishing of their basement. Mitch P