Getting the Biggest Bang for Your Buck with Smart Bathroom Fixtures

Now you are ready to get all the plumbing fixtures for your renovation or new build.  In order to make the most out of your time and money there are 4 things to keep in mind when purchasing your fixtures.

Shopping Around
Shopping around is very important to do when looking for fixtures for your plumbing needs. The reason you purchase a particular product should not be all about the price, there are a number of things to consider over and above just the price tag. There is a lot to be said about product knowledge, service, and the experience of the salesperson. You need someone to guide you through the maze of product. You want product that will do the job. AND, you want a salesperson who is accountable for the product specified for the project.

When you deal with a sales person from a Retail outlet, you are more reassured that they will have the accountability. You will have some reassurance that you won’t have problems on the job site because of the product being incorrect, or worse still, missing. Problems on the site affect the cost of the project in loss of time and call-backs for the trades, to say nothing of the frustration experienced by everyone. All of these factors will affect the PRICE of the overall renovation or build.  Dealing with the least expensive showroom can very often translate into problems later on at the job site.

No one showroom can show all the product that they have to offer.  There is only so much space on the showroom floor, no matter how large the showroom is.  So, should you shop around?  YES, by all means.  Take pictures of things you like.  Take pictures of things that you don’t like too.  Then take these to your fixture professional and let them see your pictures and they will know where to start you in the journey of choosing your fixtures.

Big Box Stores

Remember Ann Landers, the advice columnist? One of her comments was “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.”  This is true of many of the plumbing fixtures to be found in the big box stores – there is a reason the price is less in these stores. (see Who Does What article).  There is a place for the Big Box Store product. Just make sure that if the place is yours, that you are ready for the potential problems in a few years.  It costs the same for the plumber to install the Big Box product or the Retail Store product.  The difference is, you will be paying the plumber to install the Big Box product, probably at least twice, as to install a Retail store’s product just once.


Not all discount structures will give you the best bottom line.  Don’t just look at the discount offered, look at the selling price of the product.  Particularly when you are dealing with a salesperson looking up prices on a computer.  That person will see a discount structure, but that structure is not necessarily based on the actual SMRP from the manufacturer.  When your plumber has suggested that you purchase product from one showroom, as opposed to another, because they get a better discount, be sure to do your homework.  And, deal with the person that is also giving you the best service, knowledge and expertise.  These are all worth something!

Comparing Product Specification Lists

Most of the time these lists are put together by the homeowner or a designer.  Other times, they are taken from a list produced by a showroom salesperson working with the designer &/or the homeowner.  In principle, these lists are a great place to start, especially for budgeting purposes.  However, in actuality, many times, they are missing important technical parts, and therefore the pricing for these parts will not be included.

When the homeowner has lists that are produced by two different sources, they often do not cover the same areas; for example one may be missing the mud room or the guest suite.  It is often difficult, or sometimes impossible, for the homeowner, or even the designer, to read the list to see what may be missing.  It will take a qualified professional to be able to read a specification list and be able to see items missing or mismatched.

There are a few qualified professionals around.  How do you find them?  They are the ones who want to look at your plans, or ask you to draw out your bathroom that you are going to renovate.  They are the ones who create a list for you of product that they want to ensure they discuss with you because they are going to be important in saving you time and money in your project that you may never even think about. Then they will start talking to you about the specifics of each of the products.  If they don’t ask you a lot of questions, such as: what you think will fit you and your lifestyle based on your day to day habits, and how much you want to spend, then run the other way!   They should work hard to stay within that budget; but also be knowledgeable enough to tell you that you might be aiming a little low for what your needs and wants are.