Olga is our favorite kind of customer; smart, levelheaded and ready to take on a DIY challenge. She maintained this rationality even when facing some panic-worthy hiccups.
For Olga finishing her chilly Michigan basement was a must. She needed the extra space to build out a room for her teenage daughter. Her basement is huge, so she had plenty of space to add a bedroom, living area and some storage. After receiving several exorbitant renovation estimates from contractors, Olga knew she needed to figure out a way to insulate the basement herself. Naturally, she came across InSoFast and made it happen.
Olga’s story is especially captivating because she was thrown some unfortunate curveballs. A bulk of her panels endured some minor to major damage during the shipping process, which is something we’d like to be transparent about. Mistakes happen.
But what happened with Olga’s project? She managed to install InSoFast in the 1,273 square foot basement by herself in a mere 20 hours. Only two panels were damaged to the point of no repair. The others contained minor damages and worked perfectly for zones where panel cuts needed to happen like around windows and doors.
InSoFast isn’t about perfection in terms of process. You can cut, glue and arrange your wall in a myriad of ways and those panels will still do the job. While we’re not proud of this unfortunate case of shipping damage, Olga’s story proves that dings and dents aren’t the end of the world. She still managed to install a high performing wall of continuous insulation in little time and with way less money.
We took the time to speak with Olga directly about her experience installing our EX panels.InSoFast takes panel damage seriously. If there are any unsuable panels from shipping, don’t panic. We will take care of it. Make sure to accept your shipment, photograph any damages and get in touch.
You were initially going to hire a contractor to renovate the basement but ended up going the DIY route. What about InSoFast changed your mind?
I have a huge basement; it’s 52.4 x 24.3 square feet with 9 ft walls. For a long time I was thinking that I needed to finish the basement, but it seemed like a large and intimidating project.
Throughout the years I also got several estimates from contractors. The latest estimate for a traditional installation was right under $30,000 for all of the materials and labor. This sounded completely crazy. Plus the idea of having the vapor barrier, the pink fiberglass insulation and the wood in the basement did not seem like a good idea at all. It seemed outdated. I also have asthma so I need to think seriously about this kind of stuff.
Recently, I started looking again for a product I could use to finish the walls myself. All of the other products that I researched required more than one person to install. Some of them would have required me to hire a professional.
I ended up seeing a product highlight for InSoFast in Family Handyman Magazine and got curious. I went to your website and started doing some calculations. The product definitely looked like something I could handle on my own.
Are you a frequent DIY-er? What kind of building projects have you worked on in the past?
Some years ago when I moved into my current house, I decided to finish the basement floors. I ended up using DRIcore which wasn’t easy. It was very heavy and took a long time to install. After that experience I left the basement alone for years.
Tell us about your installation experience. Did you create a plan for the space? How long did the process take?
I started in the corner where my friend was going to build out some dividing walls. I knew I had to get that part finished first and then I could work outwards. I actually was going to leave one of the rooms until later, but the panels went in so fast that I just kept going.
I timed the whole process very accurately. I even stopped the timer whenever I went upstairs to have a snack. In the end it took me 20 hours total to do the entire basement. I worked completely by myself.
I couldn’t believe how fast the process actually went and did not expect it to be so easy.
After doing DRIcore floors, working with InSoFast was a breeze. I could pick up the panels easily, install it myself and didn’t have to break my back. Plus it was cheap. The project cost only about $2,800 compared to the $30,000 estimate I was given by the contractor.
You informed us of some shipping damage and defects on the panels. Can you talk about this in detail. How did you get around this obstacle?
As the boxes were being unloaded off the truck I started noticing some dents in them. I read in a previous email that I shouldn’t refuse the delivery, since the shipping company is just there to manage the drop off. The email noted that if I took pictures of any damage, InSoFast would take care of it.
My kids helped me get the boxes into the basement. I started unloading the panels and immediately took pictures of any damage. Some panels were a little compressed on the edges, while others got dented from the pallets during shipping.
In the end this damage didn’t matter. I ended up using the panels with dents in the areas where I needed to cut the panels anyway. There were only 2 significantly damaged panels that I couldn’t use.
I also noticed a manufacturing defect. It looked like the foam overflowed slightly in some of the panels when the mold was filled. There wasn’t a clear cut edge, so these panels couldn’t link together. This wasn’t a big deal either, because I could still use all of the panels. I just placed them in the corners or the edges. This did mean that I had to plan ahead and sort them out accordingly.
It all worked out.
Besides the panel dings and dents, did you encounter any problems along the way?
The hardest part for me was actually getting the adhesive out of the tube. It’s very thick, but it’s like riding a bike, eventually you figure it out.
Do you have any advice for fellow InSoFast-ers looking to insulate their basements?
If you are using the InSoFast videos as a resource, make sure you are aware of which panel is being referenced. Most of the videos are using the older panels. This caused some confusion with my electrician when he watched videos for the UX panel instead of the EX panel.
During the installation, make sure to read all of the emails that InSoFast sends you. They are full of helpful tips. I was worried after I installed the first wall of panels because it felt very mushy. I went back to the email and read that it would take time to settle. The next day the wall was as hard as a rock; the glue had cured.
Don’t be afraid to call InSoFast because the people are very friendly. I never had to leave a message. Someone is always there to answer questions.
Is the basement completely renovated? How does it feel?
Not yet. I want to say it’s halfway done.
I recently had someone come over and install the drywall in the portion of the basement that will be the living area. I’m in grad school right now, so I only have so much time. Otherwise, I would have probably done the drywall myself too.
We still have to finish painting and install the drop ceiling. The electrician will also be coming back to finish up a few things. It should be finished in a couple weeks or so. All of this work is only done on the weekends, so it takes awhile to get the last touches done.
So you were thrown some curveballs, but in the end you’ve said the installation was easy, plus you saved a great deal of money. What’s your final take on InSoFast?
I’m really pleased with the process. I wasn’t exhausted after the 20 hours of working. The project didn’t involve physical labor; it’s all about piecing the panels together.
It was honestly easier than doing yard work and was absolutely one of the easier home projects I’ve ever done.
Hats off to Olga for such wonderful work on her DIY basement project.
While shipping damage rarely happens, be sure to call us if it does. Chances are that any dings and dents won’t affect the scope of your project. But if they do, we will solve it for you.