Author Topic: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware  (Read 953 times)

MsPeacock

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Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« on: July 03, 2017, 06:52:28 PM »
Not exactly DIY as I am paying for a bathroom remodel (long overdue for a 1954 house w/ original bathroom). The bathroom is tiny and I am purchasing supplies - just paying for labor. I've done well with the tile, vanity, etc.

Anyhow - now looking to find the sink faucet and shower hardware. Huge price range - from $100 for a faucet (or less) to $600-700. I don't know really anything about faucets and for the life of me can't figure out what makes one $100 and one $600. I'd like the new bathroom to last a long time, so I don't want to cut corners here. I also don't want to blow an additional $500 on a faucet if it doesn't make a difference.

Advice please - what should I look for? What materials? What matters vs/ doesn't matter? (I got the single hole thing down - I know the size/style I need).

Thanks!

Myosin

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2017, 09:50:18 PM »
I work as a plumber

The majority of my customers spend somewhere in the ~$200-$300 range for kitchen and lavatory faucets, which is about the medium price range, with most of them being on the lower end of that range.

Do not buy the lowest end box store brands. Those are just horrible. They are difficult to repair, sometimes impossible to repair since you can't source parts easily enough to make repairing it worth it, and many tend to start dripping within a year.

The only major thing that really changes when you go into the highest price range is the aesthetics and finishes of the fixtures. The majority of the $500+ fixtures still use the same internal parts as the $300 range fixtures. 

As far as brands go, I usually recommend Moen, Delta, and Kholer.

Delta faucets tend to be the easiest to work on, even for a DIYer, and their parts are easy to get locally for most locations. Kholer and Moen parts can sometimes be harder to source locally for some areas.

Moen and Kholer tend to be more expensive, but they do tend to last longer before needing repairs.

As said above, the biggest difference in the prices comes form the style and finish. Polished chrome finishes tend to be the most inexpensive and they are by far the most common. The finish makes no difference other than matching the rest of your bathroom. No one finish lasts longer than the others in my experience. They all tarnish and discolor over a long enough time line.


« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 10:44:01 AM by Myosin »

MBot

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 07:30:53 AM »
Fwiw I liked the idea of oil rubbed bronze or black and used it in our upstairs bath --  but I found using it for a toilet paper holder meant it's always covered in white bits of TP dust.

From now on I'm sticking with classic chrome :)

lthenderson

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2017, 09:54:50 AM »
I try to avoid the pot metal faucets which have thin coatings to protect them from rust. You can generally tell the quality by the weight of the faucet. The heavier the better. Also look for the valve style in them. Ceramic disk valves are generally top of the line over compression valves with rubber washers.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2017, 10:31:30 AM »
Can anyone shed light on why faucets are so freakin' expensive, especially since the internals don't change much, if at all, from one model to another?  It just seems nuts to me that a few bits of metal and a cartridge cost $200.

Myosin

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2017, 10:46:13 AM »
Can anyone shed light on why faucets are so freakin' expensive, especially since the internals don't change much, if at all, from one model to another?  It just seems nuts to me that a few bits of metal and a cartridge cost $200.

You're paying for the names.

It's another example of where manufactureres got into an arms race to be seen as a high end and luxury brand.

Your average orange box store customer only sees the huge price tag and their lack of knowledge makes them associate it with somehow being better than the other brands.

MsPeacock

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2017, 11:00:22 AM »
Thank you for all the replies. Helpful to know that $200ish seems to be good quality. I knew I didn't want to get a $20 faucet as quality almost certainly would be a problem.

Brushed nickel or brushed chrome is the finish I am working with. I don't care are for the shiney chrome.

Myosin you mention Delta, Mohen, and Kohler. Are there any brands to avoid? Some of the brands online, such as on the website wayfair.com, I have never heard of. They are still $200-$600 faucets though.

Thanks again!

Meowmalade

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2017, 11:14:19 AM »
I just went through this decision and questions myself.  Turns out that cast vs forged brass can make a huge difference in price.  I don't understand why the companies don't use "forged brass" as a selling point for longevity; I was so confused about the huge disparity of pricing too!  During my research I also found the the big box stores sell special cheap crappy products, and buying a product that is also available on Ferguson (plumbing website) is a good idea.

I ended up with cast brass Kohler fixtures, which I bought open box new on eBay and Amazon Warehouse Deals.  The single hole faucet I got for the basement was the Kohler Devonshire in polished nickel and it is a real beauty!  The lever is so smooth and feels great to the touch.  However, snacky warned me that her sons are rough on single-handled faucets and slam stuff around, and this one doesn't feel like it'd live up to abuse (will ask guests to be careful!).  The Kohler Bancroft is a forged brass model that looks super solid (I was considering the 3-hole model for upstairs).  Hansgrohe is supposed to be one of the best brands and I was also looking at their Metris C, but ultimately I found that Kohler had the best looking faucet choices for an elegant look.

I personally don't like the cold cast of chrome so I splurged for polished nickel (since I got it open box, was the same price as chrome new!) and it's beautiful!  Upstairs I went with oil-rubbed bronze which matches our finishes.  I think brushed or oil-rubbed finishes show water spots less.
I have a new journal.

MsPeacock

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2017, 12:05:31 PM »
I just went through this decision and questions myself.  Turns out that cast vs forged brass can make a huge difference in price.  I don't understand why the companies don't use "forged brass" as a selling point for longevity; I was so confused about the huge disparity of pricing too!  During my research I also found the the big box stores sell special cheap crappy products, and buying a product that is also available on Ferguson (plumbing website) is a good idea.

I ended up with cast brass Kohler fixtures, which I bought open box new on eBay and Amazon Warehouse Deals.  The single hole faucet I got for the basement was the Kohler Devonshire in polished nickel and it is a real beauty!  The lever is so smooth and feels great to the touch.  However, snacky warned me that her sons are rough on single-handled faucets and slam stuff around, and this one doesn't feel like it'd live up to abuse (will ask guests to be careful!).  The Kohler Bancroft is a forged brass model that looks super solid (I was considering the 3-hole model for upstairs).  Hansgrohe is supposed to be one of the best brands and I was also looking at their Metris C, but ultimately I found that Kohler had the best looking faucet choices for an elegant look.

I personally don't like the cold cast of chrome so I splurged for polished nickel (since I got it open box, was the same price as chrome new!) and it's beautiful!  Upstairs I went with oil-rubbed bronze which matches our finishes.  I think brushed or oil-rubbed finishes show water spots less.

Thank you! I just went on Ebay and immediately found a Moen that was on my "short list" for almost $200 less than it is selling on other websites. The seller has 100% positive ratings. I ordered it. So - that is done. Now to figure out the shower!

Meowmalade

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2017, 02:00:33 PM »
Thank you! I just went on Ebay and immediately found a Moen that was on my "short list" for almost $200 less than it is selling on other websites. The seller has 100% positive ratings. I ordered it. So - that is done. Now to figure out the shower!

Awesome!  I believe the warranty still holds because you'd be the "first user" of the product.  Which one did you end up getting (love seeing people's choices)?

My plumber had recommended Delta for our showers.  We ended up replacing the showerhead with this efficient one and I love it.  It really has a great spray and pressure, and even comes in different finishes now!  Other than that, I've been happy with the handle part, it's nothing fancy but it works well.
I have a new journal.

meghan88

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2017, 02:42:14 PM »
I just went through this decision and questions myself.  Turns out that cast vs forged brass can make a huge difference in price.  I don't understand why the companies don't use "forged brass" as a selling point for longevity; I was so confused about the huge disparity of pricing too!  During my research I also found the the big box stores sell special cheap crappy products, and buying a product that is also available on Ferguson (plumbing website) is a good idea.

I ended up with cast brass Kohler fixtures, which I bought open box new on eBay and Amazon Warehouse Deals.  The single hole faucet I got for the basement was the Kohler Devonshire in polished nickel and it is a real beauty!  The lever is so smooth and feels great to the touch.  However, snacky warned me that her sons are rough on single-handled faucets and slam stuff around, and this one doesn't feel like it'd live up to abuse (will ask guests to be careful!).  The Kohler Bancroft is a forged brass model that looks super solid (I was considering the 3-hole model for upstairs).  Hansgrohe is supposed to be one of the best brands and I was also looking at their Metris C, but ultimately I found that Kohler had the best looking faucet choices for an elegant look.

I personally don't like the cold cast of chrome so I splurged for polished nickel (since I got it open box, was the same price as chrome new!) and it's beautiful!  Upstairs I went with oil-rubbed bronze which matches our finishes.  I think brushed or oil-rubbed finishes show water spots less.

Thank you! I just went on Ebay and immediately found a Moen that was on my "short list" for almost $200 less than it is selling on other websites. The seller has 100% positive ratings. I ordered it. So - that is done. Now to figure out the shower!

I like Moen.  Great customer service.

MsPeacock

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 06:31:14 PM »
Got the Moen Hensely sink faucet, shower head and faucet (plus tub faucet that I don't need - but I can sell it or something) and towel hook all on Ebay.

This one:




Bosco4789

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2017, 05:29:30 AM »
Beware of the name brands at the big box stores.  They are not the same quality as their counterparts from a private company.  Only difference is they are cheaper, and the internals are sometimes plastic.

BackNColo

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Re: Help needed with bathroom faucet/shower hardware
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 11:00:48 AM »
I work as a plumber

The majority of my customers spend somewhere in the ~$200-$300 range for kitchen and lavatory faucets, which is about the medium price range, with most of them being on the lower end of that range.

Do not buy the lowest end box store brands. Those are just horrible. They are difficult to repair, sometimes impossible to repair since you can't source parts easily enough to make repairing it worth it, and many tend to start dripping within a year.

The only major thing that really changes when you go into the highest price range is the aesthetics and finishes of the fixtures. The majority of the $500+ fixtures still use the same internal parts as the $300 range fixtures. 

As far as brands go, I usually recommend Moen, Delta, and Kholer.

Delta faucets tend to be the easiest to work on, even for a DIYer, and their parts are easy to get locally for most locations. Kholer and Moen parts can sometimes be harder to source locally for some areas.

Moen and Kholer tend to be more expensive, but they do tend to last longer before needing repairs.

As said above, the biggest difference in the prices comes form the style and finish. Polished chrome finishes tend to be the most inexpensive and they are by far the most common. The finish makes no difference other than matching the rest of your bathroom. No one finish lasts longer than the others in my experience. They all tarnish and discolor over a long enough time line.

I bought a Kohler faucet 20 years ago. Over the years, they have sent free cartridges & sprayers every time I contacted them about minor issues. After a remodel of the kitchen, the faucet was acting weird. I tried their troubleshooting and it failed to fix the issue, so they sent me a whole new faucet. They didn't even want the old one back.

Buy good quality.