I was interested in finishing my very new basemnt and was online trying to gain information on how to do it myself as well as ideas for a design. My basement is approx. 500sf with one half concrete walls and the other half with a finished outside wall (with window and door) as well as two walls that needed to be build to close off the garage from the new living area. I at first wanted to get it done in drywall and sheetrock, but stumbled upon the OC website. I saw free estimate and no obligation appraisal with home meeting so I signed up. Now I will admit I am a new homeowner and am very green (but learning fast what to accept and what not to). I thought the product looked great for my new home theatre area, so I got a call back within a day to set up this meeting. Our salesman showed up on time and was very pleasant and not pushy at all. He went through his sales pitch which lasted about 3 hours in total. During this time I had workers in the yard clearing a bank and taking a very large tree out of my yard, so I had to shoot in and out throughout the presentation. (he never complained or said we both had to hear it all together)
He took the measurements and had us watch the DVD while he worked out the pricing for the following. 65' of owens corning wall, two 12ft walls to be built (for closing the area off to the garage, 400sp ft of armstrong ceiling, 11 recessed light with dimmers, cap existing lights, install ceiling fan (which I purchased), 480sq ft of carpeting (given a flooring allowance that just about covered the cost), install dedicated 20amp lines for my audio components with commercial grade outlets, hang one six panel door, build a cap over a plumbing pipe that protruded into the room, as well as a few other small additions that were normal practice for any builder. He gave me a price of just over $20,000. After all discounts and showcase agreements, it ended up just under $17,000.
At first we (me and wife) thought it was high, but as explained on these blogs, he gave us 5 minutes to think it over, but I will admit, the sound and mold benefits had sold me...(I know, I was an easy sell, but I liked the product.) We agreed to it with the understanding that I had a few specific requests for the installer on my home theatre/audio side. I didnt feel like we were pushed, just normal sales practices that I would have employed as well. I guess we could have negotiated a few more thousand off the price, but it was in the moment which is what I would advise everyone who is considering it not to do. Tell him you will think about it, and dont sign anything. That is my one regret. Not the product. For those who think it is cheap or not a good product, you are nuts...expensive, overpriced, yes, but you can negotiate that and you should. I dont think we paid top dollar, but we didnt get the best price for sure.
the main reason we went with it was because I need to be able to run wires or get behind the panels for any issues with plumbing or electrical. I am not finished with my design, so sheetrock would not have worked once sealed. It is more than price and sure there might be other products, but I need the basement finished and our installers took 3 days to finish. It was fast and they were very good. They didnt bother me or cause any disruptions and they cleaned up completely behind them. Abraham was our installer and I would recommend him to anyone. He added three more dedicated outlets to my audio circut without any fuss at all. He actually drove 30 minutes to Lowes to buy the receptacles I wanted. I can be a bit particular on things and he was very accomodating. He even took out the old lighting circut completely wiring and all and added another light to the garage for me without a blink of an eye.
All in all, the product does deliver for a home theatre project and I am happy I didnt get drywall, but there are two interior walls that are drywall in the area so I get a nice contrast with paint and the OC walls. I do have a few issues with the finished product which I will contact Rembrant (the contractor in Atlanta that was responsible for our work) and make sure they come back and finish what I want. Since we didnt haggle price, I fully expect them to do this with no additional charge. They are a very reputable company that does so much more than basements since 1985, so I feel comfortable with them, but time will tell and I will let everyone know what happens with that.
Here is the downside portion that we experienced. We were told that we would be fasttracked because we wanted it dont right away...no delays. We got a letter from out salesman stating he had given our paperwork to Rembrant to get the no interest financing and we should be on our way in a day or two. Well a week later we had to call them and the woman responsible for the financing said we werent in her pile of to-do as she hadnt recieved anything. Rembrant said they would talk to Allen as they have had this problem before. (seems there is a definate disconnect between the sales and contractor in most of these experiences) But they got it worked out and we had a date scheduled in less than a week to start. Well we were promised a monday, but that turned into tuesday and late tuesday at that. But when they got here they did work till 10pm that night and again, they were great. Since we live 2 hrs from atl, they stayed overnight and came back at 8am for the second day.
It is finished now and like i said, I like the results except for a few issues that would be with any contractor. So all in all , satisfied, but not exstatic. The biggest problem is the salesman and I think this is where OC (and contractor) should revisit the whole chain since it is the one glaring issue. I havent heard from him since the issue with the financing. No call back, no how is it going? Nothing at all which seems like I was just a meal ticket. Rembrant has called me since the start to find out if i was happy so far.
So in summary, it is a good product (not great) that does offer benefits for certain applications. For me it was definately the right product, but I should have negotiated better. (lesson learned and wont make that mistake again) It looks clean and the basement is very insulated now (gets hot easily) Workmanship is good (not fantastic) . The service by installer was great as Abraham was very polite, engaging and happy to make any changes we needed even though they like to say that they need to call the office for any changes. (thats BS, they get paid plenty and tell them to pack up and go if they cant offer you things like adding a light or installing a dedicated line, move a door 6 inches to the left(which we did), etc.) The sales tactics are questionable as there are too many 'padded' areas for a salesman to make money. Just have a price list for exact jobs and keep it consistent so we can all feel like were getting value for our dollar. This 'list' price is crap and will cause good people like myself to question our purchase after the fact and leave a bad taste in our mouth. But all in all I am happy and my wife loves it as it gives us all the benefits of what we want in (less than)two weeks from presentation to the workers driving off into the sunset.
Now lets see how the after sale is with them. I will definately keep you posted. Just bear in mind....NEGOTIATE, and make sure you are clear in what you want and if your not comfortable, say no thank you. But it is a good product and regardless if others out there, I dont have time to look at all of them and worry about small price differences. I have my basement quick, and I am sitting listening to my music in my audio room while i write this.
For us? YES, for others, do your homework and look at all the different alternatives. No matter what, there is good and bad experiences for all types of basements.