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 14)
on Oct 16, 2006

How much did TBS system cost you per squarefoot? I simply can't afford OCBS. Thanks

on Oct 21, 2006
Using the Owens Corning Fiberglas System can be a problem if your basement is quite damp. If you have a dry basement it may not be a problem unless your basement is flooded. The fiberglas in OC definatly get saturated. "Total Basement Solutions" is flood resistant made of Foam insulation so is waterproof as it is not fiberglass. It is like OC in that it finishes the basement but has superior look. The trim doesnt look like cheap plastic as does OC. Its already completly finished but you can repaint it if you later want to change the color. OC cant ever be repainted. The price should be less but I guess that has to do with the dealer for your area.
Total basement solutions is in most states so they do service most areas. I recomend that you get a bid from both and

on Oct 21, 2006
The information RE: Owens Corning Basement System was right on! We got the mold scare tactics, strong sales pitch, 'discount' to sign contract right away, etc. After reading your blog entry and associated comments, we decided to forgo the 'discounted offer' which came out to about $50/sq. ft. Business must be good; they would'nt go any lower. We're going to get quotes for traditional drywall. I'm also going to call Champion basement systems (HQ in Ohio) to see if they do any work in NJ.
on Oct 23, 2006
I just had a 1000 SF basement done by a Polish fellow named Mario. He studded it out and drywalled, put up lights and sockets. Without the carpeting, the project costs me around $4800 and took less than two weeks. He charges me $2000 and the rest was materials. Yes, its beautiful. It didn't include paint... we'll do that ourselves.

You people who would spend $20k-$40k to finish a basement should be ashamed of yourselves. You putting up a couple of walls or curing the world's hunger problems?

The whole pitch "it takes around two weeks"... well guess what? Plasterboard doesn't take any longer, unless you're dealing with idiots.

I rehab houses for a living. For $40k I can rehab your entire house, top to bottom. Don't be stupid, do some shopping. I suggest you go to Menards or Home Depot early in the morning when the guys are picking up goods. Ask them if they do side jobs. You'll not pay for the bosses Mercedes or the fancy office space. Maybe it will take longer this way cause the guy will do the work at night and weekends, but you'll save $30k.

on Oct 27, 2006
I had Gary from tbs out to my house after having OC out. What a joke! He did not sell one beneft of his system. All he did was bash OC and make false statement about fiberglass. Not to mention he totally ignored my wife througout the night. I have done my research on all the options out their. You can say what you want about the Oc sales incentives and how they sell the product, but my wife and I both agree that their walls are worth spending a premium on. We contracted them to finish our basement the day after tbs came out. I will post when its done.
on Oct 29, 2006
I recently had a owens-corning salesman at our house in N.J. He also was agreesive in trying to sell us the product that night. I believe that he was actually drinking before he came here- I could smell the booze on his breath. He also raised the price when I simply asked him what is the total square footage that he calculated. His comment was that he made an error and if I did not bring it up, the price would have been $3,000 less! I was ready to throw him out at that point. I also found out that his calculations were way off.

Anyhow, the quote ended up being around $60.00 per square foot, which is outragious.
I am writing a letter to Owens about this individual. Obviously, we are not buying the system.
on Oct 30, 2006
Want to get comic relief? Just request a OC salesman to come to your house. The "nut" that they sent here gave us a quote over $100/SF!. The idiot couldn't even measure the room right. He was off by over 150 SF. I believe that he was plastered when he came here. My wife and I were laughing for an hour after he left. I couldn't believe the sales tactics that were used - kind of gave us flashbacks of the car salemen of the 80's.

DO NOT SIGN A CONTRACT ON THE INITIAL VISIT FROM THESE NUTS111 Price around, you can do much better. OC does have teflon in it which is known to be TOXIC!!!!!!!!! This company and their sales contractors should be investigated.

AGAIN; however, if you want some comic relief, invite one of their salesmen over!!!!
on Nov 04, 2006
This whole blog is becoming a joke!! Lets call it what it is. Guys from TBS, acting as people taking shots @ OC. I guess if you cant beat them in quality you must resort to petty games like this. All consumers reading this should take it with a grain of salt. Don't beleive everthing you read on the net.
on Nov 08, 2006
Just curious, why do all of you refer to the pricing as a 'Square Foot' pricing when it is not going on the floor? If you were to base it on sq ft, shouldn't that be based on the sq ft area of the wall itself that is being covered? Because layout & floor plan can be different for different basements...

For example, if you have a 900 sq ft basement. You can have one 900 sq ft room. Or you could have 3-300 sq ft rooms.. The latter would obviously require a lot more material, to cover the interior walls, and therefore cost more. Yet the footprint is still 900 sq ft... Its not like ceiling or floor coverings where the sq ft really matters...

So if you have one wall that has a 7' ceiling, and is 20' long, that would be 140 sq ft of material to cover it. The floor footprint & that square footage is pretty irrelevant.

I recently had my basement done with the Owens Corning stuff & I must admit I would not have changed a thing. I was a little nervous about the price at first, but once I saw the completed project & realized how beautiful & durable it was i didn't look back. Not to mention all the things they did BESIDES the walls!! Like all the electric, the hi-hats, I got 3 windows replaced, they created a boiler room to proper code, they covered the columns & poles with beautiful covers, etc... I mean, none of that has to do with the square footage of my basement at all.

I mean, there are reasons why cheap products exist & expensive products exist. Sure, the Owens Corning system is not for everyone. But only based on its price. But I think the whole reason for all of these people whining & complaining on here is because they could not afford a product this nice. They are the same people who say "BMW and Mercedes suck" because they can only afford a used Ford. And thats ok!! Thats why used Fords exist, and thats why cheap materials for construction exist. And just like a used Ford will get you to point A to point B, drywall can and will cover your walls. But on the same token, there are better vehicles out there with more style, features and benefits. And there are also better materials for your walls.

I choose not to live a life of mediocrity, and I enjoy the nice things hard work rewards you with. But I dont understand why so many try to talk people out of a nicer product just because they can not afford it... And I would never again think twice about doing my basement exactly the same all over again...
on Nov 10, 2006
owens corning basement system sucks. a complete waste of money. abetter product on the market is total basement solutions.
there web adress is
this product will outlive you and is cheaper and more functional as well.
bottom line buy this before theres
on Nov 13, 2006
I had the same problems with the owens corning people and also Erie construction. Same sales tatics.............I did how ever find a company that has a great product, no real high pressure sales and a whole lot less money then Owens or Erie.....If you are thinking about doing your basement......look up Impressive basements
on Nov 27, 2006
My basement is 1200 sqare feet.Original price was 52000.00 then quickly dropped to 42000.00 with promotions.I politely laughed the rep from Owens Corning out of my house.Drywall is significantly cheaper and even if i had to rip it out and do it over it would still be much cheaper.OWens prices are way too high.I cant wait for the follow up call so i can laugh at the person who wants to see how i feel about Owens.
on Nov 27, 2006
YOu sir could not be more right on.For 50000.00 i could think of a million things id rather use the money for then and overprised basement
on Nov 30, 2006
I find it interesting that a Remodeler Magazine Top 500 home improvement company (based primarily on sales volume) called Ambassador was out to our house about 6 years ago to price new windows and not only did they use the same hard-pressure, sleazy sales tactics that have been mentioned here, (here comes the interesting part), they are now an OC Dealer in Central Pennsylvania. When an OC dealer comes out to your home he is a middleman with lots of leeway to try to get as much mark up on the job as he can get out of you. For those that are happy with your systems, good for you, honestly. But shame on these dealers for treating homeowners like blooming idiots. The poor suckers who fall for their outrageously inflated project prices pay for those who were smart enough to RUN the other way from such disgusting business practices. Those are the contractors who give everyone a bad name and the public needs to hold them to higher standards. A great product doesn't override the fact that I was just treated like a fool. They won't get my business that way.
on Dec 03, 2006
Last week ,I made an appointment for OWENS CORNING people to provide with a price quote on our basement . The salesman informed me that a gentleman from o.c. would be at our house at the prearranged date to show me a quick video , take basement measurements and shoot me a systems quote. Instead of one rep showing up at my door , I was surprised to find two guys , who wasted no time in taking the basement measurements . While one guy gathered the specs on my basement , the official sales guy decided to build on a fast relationship with me . Although the two o.c. reps were friendly enough , they persisted in pushing their testimonial video for me and my wife to view. My wife had just come home from work and was dealing with a computer issue with a local big box store and was temporarily distarcted .The sales rep continually urged me to let my wife sit with them to watch the video and discuss basement system pricing and options. After a short time , I watched the video , even though I told the rep that the material was the same video that I had watched on the o.c. website the previous night. Finally , the rep from o.c. who took the basement measurements , joined his co- worker and myself upstairs in the kitchen . Iin talking with both of the o.c. reps , I had mentioned that my wife might not be able to join us with their presentation but I was prepared to negotiate or at the very least evaluate and consider their proposals for remodeling. They were firm in telling me that due to company policy , they were not permitted to discuss price with me unless my wife was able to sit in on the whole process. Is it just me or is that a line of B.S.? Even still , I was curious about the price of their product and wanted to hear them out . Eventually my wife joined us at the kitchen table , and within one minute both of the reps asked me for something to drink. Now that might seem insignificant to most , but prior to their visit, a carpenter friend of mine prepped me on sales tactics the o.c. might use. He said a common tactic that sales reps employed , was to get the homeowner to "work " for them in that they would , in a subtle manner have you do things for them . A classic tool used by reps was for them to get the homeowners to fetch them something to drink or eat . My friend told me that reps felt that if the homeowner did what they asked , their experience told them that the homeowner was more easily manipulated . In theory I understand what he was telling me , but when they actually asked me to get them something to drink , I did so as a friendly gesture , although my friend's warning echoed in my head. Finally , the sales rep looks at my wife and asked her if she had at least ninety minutes to spare for their presentation.(UNTIL THAT MOMENT, NO MENTION OF A NINETY MINUTE PRESENTATION HAD BEEN TALKED ABOUT)My wife chuckled and said no , but that ( motioning to me ) I could hear them out .( After haggling with idiots on the phone about computer issues for an hour my wife was not in the mood for pushy salesmen ). When they realized she wasn't kidding , they reluctantly closed their laptap and briefcases . Now , we did agree to arrange another appointment shortly after Christmas , but quite frankly , although it was my idea to invite them into my house in the first place , their probing questions on the value of my house and taxes I pay, in addition to the average value of homes in my area was a little amateur at best . The O.C. guys will not be permitted back in my house !! If they were talented , they would already have been well versed in a market analysis of my community ( they drove to my town from a Chicago suburb ). It seems ironic to me that sales reps can comment on the beautiful neighborhood and attractive home their clients live in, without giving much thought to how their potential clients purchased said property . Their condescending , and pushy style is offensive to reasonably intelligent people who live in beautiful neighborhoods with nice houses . My wife and I commented on the fact that the O.C. reps were no different than the TIME SHARE HUSTLERS and the boiler room tactics they employ. And while quality never goes out of style , the same can be said for professionalism .