Typically, I ask my clients to order plumbing fixtures through a certified plumbing supplier to make sure you are getting the highest quality parts. In New England, Ferguson or FW Webb are great resources. These plumbing houses will make sure that your builder and plumber get all the spec sheets on the products selected and the rough-in valves (any connection part that is installed into the walls or floor drains) in time for rough-in plumbing.
Your salesperson at the plumbing supply house should be knowledgeable, helpful and organized. It’s actually a very detail orientated job and difficult so make sure that your salesperson is following through and communicating with you and your plumber.
I encourage my clients to first select the sink faucet. This is the faucet that is used the most and is visible when walking in the room so make sure that it’s exactly what you want. From there, you can simply match your tub / shower faucets or bar sink faucet to the main kitchen sink faucet.
SUPPLY HOUSE VS. ONLINE PURCHASING:
If you order something online, make sure it is direct from the manufacturer and not a lower end distributor. I had a client who really liked a Kingston Brass product the best, so we started doing some research. For example, this Kingston Brass Fixture is not available for the plumbing houses to buy so the homeowner has to purchase this on their own. Available on the Kingston Brass website for: $489.95.
In doing the research, she also found this faucet on the Home Depot website. Available for $260
Yes, they are a little different, but the price difference says to me that there is plastic on the inside of the one from Home Depot. “Deals” online and in large super-stores are sometimes costlier when they leak, and you have several plumber calls and water damage – my recommendation is to always stay with the certified dealers or buy direct from the supplier.
If you don’t really care that you are getting a sub-standard because it is a space that won’t get used much or it’s a rental, sure – go for it. Just remember you are still paying the plumber to install it and plan to replace it in 2-5 years.
Most plumbers will only insure product if they are the ones purchase it. They do typically get the best price from the plumbing supply house and while they will mark it up to you, it rarely will be the full MSRP price.
PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET:
Trends and sales often dictate what is available to purchase. When they first came out with the kitchen faucet with the pull-down sprayer, they didn’t work very well. I’m still not a huge fan because there are more homes than one that I go into and see the dangling spray faucet hanging there. People tend to not like another hole in their granite and I get it. But do your research and make sure that the ratings and reviews for the kitchen faucet are high.
FINISHES– Brass is back. The yellow brass of the 90’s is out and the new brass is available in lacquered or unlacquered – which determines if it will age brown or not. To me, this is more of a traditional look and makes a statement. Black finishes are also available in many of the fixtures. Trending toward the modern, you’ll find that these are the lines that are typically offered in black.
Plumbing fixture selections should be fun and exciting. It’s like the jewelry to the space just remember to select it early in the construction process and purchase wisely.