Homeowner How To: Choosing Plumbing Supplies

Written by Carrie B.  |  25. October 2012

Along with any major renovation comes the task of selecting plumbing fixtures, whether it’s just a faucet or an entire bathroom or home, selecting quality products that will stand the test of time is the key.

Think about how long you’ve had your current fixtures. How long do you expect to have your new ones? Generally, these fixtures must withstand pretty much constant daily use over the course of sometimes decades.  So where do you start? How do you know which ones will hold up and which won’t?

Rule number one…. Shop at an actual plumbing supply store.  Why? The staff at specialty stores are specialists who know their stuff. They can help steer you in the right direction and select products that are within any budget. The prices are really not much different than larger retail stores, but you get critical assistance that can help you save money by purchasing the correct items, quantities and products to ensure your renovation goes off without a hitch.

Often the plumbing supply products at “big box” stores are not made of the same materials, although they look similar or even have the same model numbers! For instance, I know of some products that are only sold by the truck load to big box stores. These are made differently and are of a lesser quality. They can contain plastic internal parts instead of metal, and although you may save a few bucks up front, in the long term you will have to replace that faucet, repair leaks or potentially deal with water damage to your brand new renovation. Spend a few dollars more and get the real thing, a product that is made to last and is not a “builder’s special”.

Chances are the fixtures you are thinking of purchasing will also be on display at one of your local plumbing supply showrooms in your local area. Take time to see, feel and touch them in that setting. This will help you decide if they are the right size, right style, coordinate with the rest of your home and suit your needs. The “feel” of the fixture can also vary, so be sure to try them out in the store; try the handles of the faucet, the pulldown sprayer on the kitchen faucet you like, and be sure to check out the huge variety of available showerheads and body sprays and tubs, which may even be hooked up to running water.

There are so many styles and finishes available so bring along your plans, tile, cabinet or countertop selections to help you choose. There will be numerous design staff available to assist you. Or if you so choose, hire a kitchen and bath designer or an interior designer to help you get exactly the right look for your big project. Once your renovation is done and your plumber installs your beautiful new products, you will have the perfect space to enjoy for decades to come! Choose wisely and invest a little time in your choices. It will be well worth it.

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