This thread is still going so I've registered just to post. I am finishing my basement now--myself. And yeah it is taking a long time. A professional working alone could do it in a month or two with complete framing, drywall everywhere, full electrical, insulation overhaul (and I mean foam—doing it right, not slapping fiberglass batts in the wood), and with a bathroom. I have seen a neighbor's Owens Corning basement setup. It looked ok but the best analogy has already been used--mobile home. You can see it in the pictures yourself. You know how a drop-ceiling looks kind of "basementy"? Well, this system has the walls look the same way, like office cubes.
It is quick to put in place. I question how important that is, though. Most people don’t even finish basements, so it’s not like those who do generally need it done quickly. Accessing the foundation is nice, though in truth rarely needed, if ever. How many people do you know with a finished basement who lament access to the foundation? It also doesn't appear that this system can support a nice bathroom or similar.
I understand that to have dividing walls in this you basically need two of the pricey panels slapped back to back.
Mold is a problem in some basements. Bad site drainage, poorly done insulation all can lead to a moldy basement. But again, I ask of those you know with a properly done basement and running dehumidifier, how moldy is it? Although the materials used in this are resistant to mold, they do not seal up the air away from the foundation like a superior insulation approach would do—also this approach has fiberglass-like material right up against foundation and is likely to lose R value as/if it wets. What I have done is used Owens Corning *foam*, sealed up against the foundation, consistent with best current science. It separates the basement from the foundation walls completely. Then inside typical framing and drywall. Mold issues are now a total non-concern because the drywall and framing are no longer part of the insulation equation. And with better air sealing likely lower energy bill. There is also mold-resistant drywall you can use, but that’s unnecessary if the drywall is not in a damp environment to begin with—and in a dehumidified basement with proper foamed insulation it shouldn’t be damp.
The Owens Corning Basement system is fast but that’s the only real benefit I see. Comparing it to improperly done basements is not fair. Compare it to well done ones, and for its cost you could hire a contractor to install a beautiful basement with drywall walls and ceiling. Then you’ll feel like you’re in your house when in the basement instead of at a community hall playing bingo. And I don’t hate Owens Corning at all—if you’re short on time you can even use their 1.5” thick foam basement panels with 2X4s drilled right into the wall, then drywall over that. I think it’s better than this basement finishing system. It would be ok if it was much, much cheaper, but it seems like you’re paying for a BMW and getting a Cavalier. I was quoted about $20k by a local guy to have my basement done, 625 square feet with drywall every where, framing, electric, fake hardwood, full bathroom, including all plumbing, everything actually except trim and maybe some lights. I am doing it myself, but that’s only about $30-35 square foot with materials and labor. Some of the rates I’m reading here for a guy slapping up some panels and framing a door or two are just straight up insane.
I want to finish with this: IF you get a contractor to do your basement and you’re asking him about insulation and he brushes it aside and says vapor barrier with batts, do not try and educate him; just don’t use him. It’s inferior, it’s old school and it’s wrong. Go with a company that knows current best practices.