This article, and the subsequent comments, both pro and con, have been very helpful. Thanks to all for taking the time to post. I just had the local Owens Corning franchisee out to quote me on my basement. I was disgusted by the sales tactic, but after completely gutting and renovating the rest of my house, I've experienced the same less-than-ethical tactics by Empire Carpet and several exterior siding contractors. None of them got my business, and all of them were quickly asked to leave. I gave the Owens Corning salesperson the benefit of the doubt, he was a nice guy and Owens Corning is a reputable company. Nevertheless, as a salesman myself, I tend to think that a quality product will sell itself, without "used-car" tactics, and I question products that have to resort to those sales techniques.
The entire estimate process took nearly three hours! That being said, they did warn me ahead of time that it would take awhile, and it did! On the telephone, they made it sound as if they handle everything: bathrooms, laundry rooms, etc. But it was clear during the estimate that they dissuade you from anything other than a basic basement. If you want a bathroom, they'd prefer to just leave that portion of the basement unfinished and let you contract it out yourself. So that's what they did for me. The 600sf basement I had planned in my head, with bathroom and storage, turned into a 231sf plan after getting rid of the bathroom and storage room. After taking measurements, they gave me the quote. $29,000 for approximately 231 sf of basement and a stairway!! This after telling me that the average basement costs $121/sf, but the average Owens Corning basements plcosts only $67/sf. Their quote then was about $130/sf, nearly twice what they originally said!
Then they started with the Showcase Home Discount, a variation of the common "Let us show your finished home to other prospective customers" routine. They offered me a $2000 discount for this, but I HAD to sign TODAY. I told them no, I'm definitely not going to buy today, because I want to actually see a fully installed basement before committing to a $29,000 investment. The samples they brought were tiny, and it was impossible to picture my entire basement finished in that product. We went back and forth for awhile, and I made it clear there was no way I was signing today. Finally, the guy got all packed up, I stood up to walk him out, and then he said, "Hmm, well maybe you'd be interested in this other program we have. I just thought of it. Since you're not in a rush to get this done, we have a flexibility plan. If we can plan to finish your basement sometime in the next 14 weeks, with only 3-days notice, we can give you a big discount." This sounded interesting, because I really don't have a firm timeline. But I was a bit perturbed, after 2.5 hours, that he would now sit back down and pull this out of his sleeve. So he calls his "boss", and proceeds to explain what a "beautiful" house he's in, in a great zipcode, which would be great to "showcase". Eventually, his "boss" authorizes a $4000 discount if I'll be part of the "flexible" program. But again, only if I signed up today.
Now reading the previous reviews, I'm glad I passed. If I do buy this system, I will make sure that I don't pay more than $30- $40/sf.
I agree that, from what I could tell, the system has the look of a manufactured home interior. I don't know if I want my basement to have this look. At the same time, I do like the moisture resistance of this system, and the quick and easy installation with no dust.