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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 7)
on Feb 05, 2006
OK, already. We've all got the point that the salespeople are scumbags. How about some comments on the quality of the installed product (from people who actually had it installed, please). It doesn't matter if the price is $25 /sf if the product is absolute crap.

It would be helpful if people could relate comments that *other* people have had about their basements after the BFS was installed. Anyone have any pics or know where some are posted that actually show the product up close and personal? THAT'S the kindo of info people really need.
on Feb 06, 2006
Okay, you wanted more comments on the finished product? Here you go. I had posted previously during my installation process above back in October. I had my OC basement installed back in October and couldn't be happier. Everyone who has come over to our home comments on how much they like it. It looks great. My co worker has a traditional finished basement and due to a failed sub pump had water in her basement along with mold now. To fix up her basement now will be a huge undertaking. If our basement flooded, yes, we would have personal belongings stored down there ruined and the carpeting (only 1/3 of basement is carpet), however the walls we can take off and dry outside. No drywall worries etc. Anyway.... we love the look and workmanship of our installer. Couldn't be happier. It was money well spent in our eyes, it was slightly more expensive traditional dry wall, however we did negotiate the price down some and it didn't take nearly as long as a traditional basement would have.
on Feb 06, 2006
Here's some interesting reading.

Material Safety Data Sheet
Basement Wall Finishing System – Wall Panel

on Feb 06, 2006
take the space out after the "http:// " in the above link
on Feb 10, 2006
Hi all ,we have just purchased an OC basement our price is 35.00 PSF.This includes all stair work a large amount of beam boxing four doors and the demolishing of existing dry wall just under 1300 SF.We researched this to death and even went to new builders sample homes that han OC basements.Drywall is just that, with this product you don't feel like you are in a basement.I would suggest that you must see a fully completed and furnished job.Then and only then will you appreciate the quality and see why we would tear out all the dry wall.Bill
on Feb 13, 2006
Has anyone considered the floors that they sell with the OC basement system? Its like 1 square foot tiles tiles that you connect with each other, comes in 4 designs, and its supposed to be moisture resistant and more expensive then your typical floors. Just wanted to check if anyone has feed back on this.
on Feb 13, 2006
We were quoted $9000.00 for 1230 Sq Ft installed.Decided to go for man made fiber Berber glued down so no problem if we get water.Cost less then half.Good Luck
on Feb 14, 2006
I am a physician in PA who attempted to set up an appointment for an estimate.I was informed that if my husband, also a physician, could not be present, then I was not eligible to have a system installed in my home. I patiently explained to them that I was the decision maker with regards to this basement renovation and certainly had the financial resources alone to cover the cost. I was more interested in having the job done quickly. Price,while important, was not my primary concern.They still refused to even send me any info. C'est la vie!

on Feb 14, 2006
We recently had an OC rep out who gave us the typically described presentation for 3 hours. My basement is 1700 sq ft and is in PA. I had a pretty good idea of the plan I wanted, which involved multiple rooms, bathroom, etc. The rep sketched out a finished area of 1100 sq ft, stating that we needed at least 33% unfinished storage(seems like a waste of space to me). He then proceeded to convince us not to have any seperate rooms, but an open layout would be better. Finally he tried to convince us not to have a bathroom. I believe the reason for each of these points was that he already had a maximum price in mind he thought we would bite at, and wanted to reduce his costs. His initial price was $54,000, down to $43,000 with the showcase discount. He left after I told him I would think about it.

The Positives- The salesman was polite and respectful of my opinion. When he tried to get us to sign, he took my original decline and did not push it. I also think the product is well made and superior to drywall in a basement environment. I like to do alot of minor upgrading in my house myself, and I like the idea of being able to pop out the walls to run wires, plumbing, cable, etc. I also have three young kids who cannot desstroy this product. The installation is fast, and no drywall dust to choke on.

The Negatives- Expensive! Although it seems with some hard nosed negotiation, the price can be significantly reduced. I do not like the fact that I can only hang relatively light objects- I had envisioned putting shelves up in the children's play area-wrong! How about a closet without shelves? Special brackets needed for heavier objects- TV, speakers, etc. Also, I am a physician and I felt the health dangers of the mold speech was a bit more dramatic than necessary. Also, with the profit OC is making, there is no chance we will be able to buy this at Lowes and do it ourself in the near future- unless a strong competitor puts out a comparable product. Also the price is for a "stripped" basement- walls and ceiling with minor electrical, while you may be comparing to prices of optioned out basements including plumbing, subfloor, etc. Finally, be skeptical of the comments you read on this forum- it appears to me that some of the most glowing reports are probably by OC reps.

I most likely will not go with this system unless the rep agrees to a lowball figure- maybe around $25 sq ft. Also, thanks to the poster who hit redial after the OC rep call to his boss and heard a news broadcast! That was great- and very intuitive- I wondered myself if there really was a person on the other end of that line as our rep described my family and house in such complimentary terms!!

on Feb 15, 2006
Just a quick reply. DH and I just spent three long hours experience the high pressure sales. Everything was so ridiculous, DH and I busted up laughing after the guy left. I looked for forums this evening to get validation, boy did I get it here. Thanks for the help. He was going to make a follow-up appointment to sign the papers next week because I was yawning so hard tonight. Quote for us? $69/sq ft. We got him down to "mid 20,000's" for 400 sq. ft including the multitude of "discounts". He also talked us out of a lot of our plans, and tried to scare us with carbon monoxide poisoning warnings!! Needless to say we won't be dealing with OC, at least for now.
on Feb 15, 2006
Just had OC rep out to my house, 560 sq ft for 26000, and yes, I bought! I have seen 2 of my neighbors basements and they look awesome, they have had nothing but postive things to say about their systems! I do think that it is alot of money, but it is a trusted name and their is a lifetime warranty, one of the things that sold me was the noise reduction factor. I did have another company out and they have only completed 5 jobs in MI and had no customers willing to showcase their finished product! (That scared me) I also had a drywall quote for 16,000 that was dryall, paint, ceiling, trim and doors.
All in all, I went with the trusted name and the 10 day installation, lifetime warranty, etc. I will let you know how it works out in the end.
on Feb 15, 2006
The salesmen just left and did everything exactly as posted by everyone else. I had done a bit of research ahead of time so was trying to get to the 28 sf price but couldn't get it that low. Got it down to 12,500 for 300 sf. I am just amazed that they use such bad sales tactics. The product seems to be a great idea but the sales pitch makes you so nervous you start to wonder about the product. I felt sorry for the salesmen that are told to sell this way. Besides all the tactics they were forced to use they were very nice and if the company would just stop their bad tactics they would probably get a-lot more sales. After reading comments about mobile home looking walls I think I will reconsider the drywall.
on Feb 16, 2006

I just talked to the owner of Fabricmate. They are calling themselves "a low cost alternative to the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System". They are currently getting together with local dealer / installers. The basement section of their website ( is currently under construction. He said they should be doing work in my area in about a month.

He told me completely finished basements (wall, ceilings, floors, and electrical work) will come in between $20 - $30 sq. ft.

Fabricmate is working with Impressive Tile out of Detroit, ( and they are expanding to the East Coast.

Luckily, one of the proposed dealers is only 30 minutes from my house.
on Feb 19, 2006

on Feb 20, 2006

I live near Reading, PA. The place that is supposed to open in about a month is in Allentown.

Will post more information as I get it.

I am still debating what to do in my basement, I am in no hurry. I may just have a waterproofing system installed and put in drywall myself.

The cost of Owens Corning BFS would be $700 each 4 foot section. Drywalling it should cost me about $25 per section.