Choosing the Perfect Plumbing Fixtures
There are countless decisions to make throughout the process of remodeling your existing home; some will inherently be more enjoyable than others. For instance, selecting a roof shingle may not get your excitement peaked. However, the selection of plumbing fixtures, primarily sink faucets and showerheads, which are not only something you will see and use every day but can complement the style personality of your home.
You could compare selecting plumbing fixtures to picking out that perfect necklace or earrings to go with your outfit. Better yet, choosing that designer watch, which can be both functional and attractive. Faucets and showerheads can have the same effect on a room that jewelry and/or accessories can have on your wardrobe ensemble, adding the finishing touches that can pull everything together and bring out just the right amount of sparkle.
Still, there is much more to faucets and showerheads than the exterior glam. They are hardworking, permanent fixtures in your home that can cause a real headache if not working correctly or worse yet begin to leak. Most include several moving parts, and all have code restrictions among a long list of other factors to consider when selecting for your home renovation.
The latest styles, features, technology, and even local codes often change, which can make the task of choosing the best fixtures for your home even more daunting. Our professional designers and sales professionals can help navigate you through the forest of options to select the right fixtures for your next home renovation.
STEP 1 – DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS & BUDGET
Whether this is your first time considering a home renovation or you have customized several homes in your past, you likely already have an excellent idea from past experiences what you like (or don’t like) about how you currently use fixtures. For instance, I’m a single handle kitchen faucet kind of homeowner. Although I can’t argue that an antique cross handle faucet like the one pictured below is gorgeous. However, for me, “function” most always wins over “looks”.
When my hands are gooped up with a sticky mess, the very last thing I want is to have to use both hands to turn on my faucet. It will most likely be my elbow or wrist anyway, so a simple one handle lever faucet will work best for me. Better yet, manufacturers are coming up with innovative solutions every year to meet these day-to-day life challenges. Take for instance, the Sensate Faucet from Kohler that operates with the wave of your hand, thus keeping germs at bay and most importantly, your faucet clean!
Understanding how you actually utilize your fixtures will aid in narrowing down the best matches for your home. For instance, in a shower, there are several different ways to set up and install your fixtures based on how you use them. Some choose to have multiple fixtures and showerheads; others prefer a simple overhead rain showerhead. You can set up multiple heads to operate simultaneously or hone in on only one at a time. Of course, this is purely personal preference and depending on if you are a self-admitted water hog or prefer to conserve water, energy & money.
In the case of handheld showerheads, there are a few approaches to mounting them depending on how they will be used. Some opt to use a hand shower as their main showerhead or a main secondary showerhead when more than one person is showering at once. Choosing between stationary mounts or other options that allow for the head to be adjusted up or down based on the height of the person showering; a real plus if you and your spouse are not the same height.
While the old adage that you get what you pay for, staying on budget is a task, every homeowner does when renovating their home. But don’t let it lead you down the road of dominating your decisions making. If you have a fixture allowance for your remodel, we can guide you towards fixtures that will stay close to or at your budget while achieving your desired function and features.
A variety of factors can add to costs, including the product’s finish. A chrome finish is generally the most affordable while other more custom finishes like oil rubbed bronze, polished nickel, matte brass or certain “live” (like raw, unsealed brass or copper) finishes coming in significantly higher. So weighing your personal scale of importance for form and function over eye-catching beauty can help keep you on budget as well.
STEP 2: CONSULT WITH YOUR PROS
While making your choices, with your project designer, they will provide insight and research each of the options desired and pull one of our qualified and reputable plumbing fixture manufacturer representatives when needed. This will help point you toward choices that factor in not just your own personal style but also any conflicts or limitations based on your project’s specific circumstances, including any code compliance concerns. It’s important to remember that these fixtures, although they are a design element, they must be able to function correctly and safely.
It can be tempting in today’s internet age to try and source your fixtures online for a fraction of the cost of traditional brick & mortar stores. And while the added research never hurts, the best price is NOT always the best value or fit for your use. Online retailers and even some big-box retailers cannot always verify the authenticity of their products, nor do they have the same level of support or warranties a traditional dealer can offer.
You sometimes even have to be wary of the quality of the products sourced from some of the big-box retailers. At times these retailers will have a fantastic price on what seems to be the same exact product you saw at that certified plumbing fixture store with your project designer. However, the unfortunate reality is that some product manufacturers will create a “big box store” version of their products that is of lesser quality (like plastic interior fittings vs. solid brass) just to bring their products inline within the big-box retailer’s discount pricing structure. Sometimes even leaving the model numbers and names of the products the same so you, the consumer, may never discover the difference at first glance.
We were personally made aware of this unfortunate reality on one of our projects a few years back. We sourced the original bathroom faucet from our reputable, certified plumbing fixture dealer, and later our client opted to add another sink & faucet. They decided just to go grab what seemed to be the same fixture from the local “big box store”. When both arrived on-site side-by-side, we were amazed at the first significant difference between the two.
Before even opening the two boxes, from the same manufacturer, product name, and model number, the two felt significantly different in hand. There was a full 1-2 lb weight discrepancy between the two. Although they looked identical from the outside; the one from the big box store had plastic interior parts while the other had solid brass. This difference won’t present itself right away but instead will affect the longevity of the product and could cause premature failure of the product just months or years down the road.
In conclusion, the price though cheaper at first will, in the end, cost the homeowner more in repairs and inevitability need replacing sooner than if a quality product was purchased from the beginning. So, trust your local professional remodelers when they recommend a specialized supplier. Not only will the products be of better quality, but the support you’ll receive from the very beginning and throughout any future need for warranty repairs or replacement will also be unmatched.
If you need help selecting plumbing fixtures for your next project, don’t hesitate to contact us at (972) 334-9800.