There are a few things to keep in mind when deciding on what fixtures you want to include in your bathroom or kitchen. Who is paying for it? Whose house are the fixtures going into? Who will use them?
Often your plumber may recommend that it would be easier and cheaper if they buy for you. However, this is often more a case that the plumber can make more money by supplying the fixtures and also may not want to be bothered by the little decorative items.
Many times the product that the plumbers supply are name brands, that is true, but they have been purchased at a Big Box Store. Almost every product representative will say, when asked directly, that the product that is sold in these stores is not the same as that sold in plumbing fixture retail outlets. There is a reason for the lower prices, and it is not just the volume of sales! The product in the retail outlet showrooms is covered by a very different warranty than that sold in the big box outlets. The units have different quality “guts”, although they may look the same, if you weigh the faucet, for example, from the two different outlets, you will find that they are very different in their weights.
Another aspect of purchasing from some showrooms, particularly when you are using price as a means of comparison of product, is whether the fixtures are certified. Water, when it is not controlled properly, is so damaging! It is important that quality product is used, particularly for the parts that are inside the wall. It is very difficult to see if water is leaking, until it has been happening for so long that damage is done. When a project is not done under permit, and many renovations do not require a permit, certified fixtures are not necessarily specified or installed in the renovation. It is disturbing when non certified product is installed in projects. The unfortunate thing is, when a showroom has sold the non-certified fixture, they also feel no compunction to give aftermarket service. They most likely sold the product at a very low price, and probably at a very low margin as well; they feel no need to also offer aftermarket service.
When you deal with a reputable retail showroom, you are virtually guaranteed that this will not be an issue! Their name is on it. It will be the showroom that is the first call made if something goes wrong after installation.
Plumbing fixtures are so very complex and there are so many personal implications to almost every plumbing fixture that is put into a home. It isn’t just about the looks and the price. It is about the usability, the finish, how water is to be controlled, where the fixtures will be placed, and why they will be where they are. There are so many aspects to the purchase of plumbing fixtures, it takes a qualified professional to guide the homeowner through the process in a gentle and comfortable fashion.
It is also about the quality of the product that is installed. If the homeowner is not involved in the choice of the product, if they have not gone through the decision making process, do they have any reassurance about the quality of the product that is being installed and how and where they will be installed.
Architects and Designers do a wonderful job in the design and functionality of the building and the interiors. The spaces they create and the furnishings/finishes that they specify are works of art. They also must have input into the fixtures that go into the water areas of the project. The designer’s most important input into this aspect of the design, is the faucet for the sink. A good plumbing fixture consultant can produce the balance of the package, working with the client, from there.