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Owens Corning Basement System

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owens corning basement system

Owens Corning Basement Finishing System in Action. Notice the Plywood Lintels on Which the Wall Panels are Attached.

© Owens Corning

Anybody who has finished a basement or even seriously considered finishing a basement can tell you one thing: the basement is a different world. That's why it helps to have a system, and the Owens Corning© Basement Finishing System™ is one example that we will look at.

Why You Might Need a Basement System

The basement doesn't look like the rest of the house. It doesn't act like, smell like, or feel like the rest of the house, either. Rather than drywall walls, it may have cinderblock walls. Rather than a wood floor on top of joists, it may have a concrete slab. And most importantly, instead of a sealed-up-and-dry environment, it may have a bit of a moisture problem.

Your goal is to turn this alien world of concrete and darkness into something that looks like the upstairs house. It's not just aesthetics, either. Money is involved. According to Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report, a basement remodel, upon sale, returns a high percentage of the money invested. So, a basement remodel that costs $61,011 might bring back $44,467, or around 72%, when you sell the house.

Because the basement is a different world, you cannot expect to remodel it in the same way as you would an upstairs bedroom or living room. That's where the concept of a basement finishing system comes into play.

What is the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System?

It is a ready-made "package" that will completely finish off your basement with walls and ceiling.

Does the basement system include floors?

No.

Can you just boil it down for me?

It's those insulated wall panels. As you probably know, Owens Corning is a major producer of insulation. So, its basement finishing system leans heavily on wall panels. But because a finished basement isn't complete without a ceiling, they also include a finished ceiling.

What are these wall panels made of?

They are 2 1/2" thick glass fiber board, a sturdy type of insulating material (not fluffy fiberglass insulation). This panel is covered with an even harder facing made of acrylic and Teflon.

How much insulation do these wall panels provide?

These are R-11 factor insulation panels.

Can I buy these wall panels and finish the basement myself?

No. Owens Corning requires you to go through its certified, franchised installers.

What's the ceiling like?

It's a suspended or drop ceiling with removable ceiling panels. Armstrong's suspended ceiling of 2'x2' panels is one example.

Does Owens Corning also install lighting?

Yes.

How much does it cost?

This is a fluid number. Because you are dealing with commissioned salespeople who have the power to adjust figures, you may find that the cost wavers between $50 and $70 per square foot.

Dave Azer, Marketing Leader, Interior Systems, at Owens Corning Engineered Insulation Systems, clarifies for us how a raw "per square foot" estimate isn't always the most accurate, by saying:

The cost per square foot will vary depending on the dimensions of your basement and the custom work that you have done.  For example, one large square or rectangle shaped room is less per square foot, but a design with multiple rooms and more interior walls will be more per square foot.  Also, some basements have more obstacles like duct work or mechanicals that need to be boxed in to create finished space.  And of course, more custom options can add cost. 

Azer further suggests that the best way to find a true "per square foot" cost would be to contact a local Owens Corning® Basement Finishing System™ franchisee.

What are the pros and cons of the Owens Corning Basement Finishing System?

Pros:
  • The wall panels are moisture-resistant, a good thing in these moisture-prone environments.
  • The wall panels also have a modest R-value (insulating value).
  • The wall panels and ceiling can be removed if you need to access the plumbing, electrical, or other services behind them. Since basements tend to have a high concentration of pipes, wires, and the like, this is an important thing.
  • "Breathable" walls that allow for air and moisture to flow in and out.
Cons:
  • The PVC molding vertical battens. These are the plastic strips that cover the seams between the wall panels. So, you will not have perfectly smooth and seamless walls with this system.
  • The ceiling will be a suspended or drop ceiling, considered by many to be inferior to a ceiling made of drywall.
  • The walls have a plastic feel, like walls in a hotel conference room. However, this is the trade-off for having walls that resist moisture.

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