How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?

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How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?

Over the years, I’ve always encouraged my clients to ask me anything – I’m there to help!  One of the most frequently asked questions when performing a bathroom remodel is “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”  Typing “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?” in Google returns over 87 million results.  That’s not helpful!  Here is what I suggest clients should focus on when selecting a bathroom faucet:

  • Warranty
  • Quality
  • Style
  • Manufacturer

When asking yourself “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”, the most important considerations are the warranty and quality of the faucet.

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?Let’s look at these top two items separately and see why they are so important.

Warranty and quality are one in the same.  Each drives the other.  This is especially true in South Orange County where many communities have very hard water.  The processes used to treat the water is tough on plumbing (pipes and fixtures).  It’s precisely the reason I urge you not to simply Google “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”  Doing so will not get you the best results for South Orange County.

I’ve seen far too many faucets one year after installation that look like they’ve been used for 20 years!  The large amount of calcium, lime, and corrosive build-up in the valve body assemblies and valves themselves make the entire faucet virtually unusable within a few years.  They became very inefficient.  For South Orange County, higher quality faucets perform better and last much longer (which reduces the overall cost of ownership).  There are also a few great maintenance tricks I’ve learned that can substantially increase a faucets life.

Warranty when asking “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”

Warranty: Many manufactures clearly print on the box that they offer a “Limited Lifetime Warranty.”  What the heck is a “limited life?”  Reading the fine print reveals that it means pretty much whatever the manufacture wants it to mean – including changing the terms at any time!  I don’t know of any faucet manufacture who will cover both labor and materials under warranty.  Some will only cover the entire faucet for 12 months from purchase and virtually all will cover the ceramic cartridge in the handle for a “limited lifetime”.  But you will still need to pay the labor for replacement unless you perform the work yourself.

TIP!  Let DAD’s purchase the faucet!  If you purchase the faucet yourself from the internet or a big box home improvement store, manufacturers typically make it more difficult to exercise the warranty.  This is especially true if you no longer have the receipt, or the faucet is more than a few years old.  Manufacturers want to mail you replacement parts, not an entirely new faucet (and how are you supposed to know what part is bad?).  If DAD’s purchases the faucet, the warranty is usually more generous with faster resolution.  How can this be?  DAD’s Construction buys lots of faucets.  The manufacturers want to keep DAD’s happy to preserve his business.  Therefore, DAD’s typically receives good and fast service from manufacturers.

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?

The second most important consideration when asking “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?” is quality.

Quality: This can be tough.  When asking “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”, quality must be a top consideration.  To keep costs down, many manufactures are now using more plastic.  It might look like polished chrome; however, it’s not.  It’s polished plastic over plastic!  Manufacturers are also plating over plastic.  With this, the outside is real polished chrome, brushed nickel, etc. (super thin I might add).  However, the faucet itself is all plastic (and there is no way you can tell looking at it).  I’ll be frank, this stuff is junk.  Many of the faucets you see in home improvement stores and internet sites sell this stuff to unsuspecting customers.

You want a faucet manufactured using solid machined brass with brass components. The finish is then plated securely onto the brass.  These finishes should resist corrosion and tarnishing.  This type of faucet does not cost a whole lot more and they have superior performance.  As an added benefit, they last much longer and look great for many, many years.

The quality of the valve means everything.

Very important:  Always make sure your faucet has ceramic disc valves inside brass valve bodies.  These typically exceed industry longevity standards for a lifetime of durable performance.

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?
Can you tell which of these Kohler Forte faucets was purchased at a home improvement store vs. a plumbing supplier?

Home improvement stores and large internet retailers can be very deceiving.  They typically offer faucets with the same name, model, and style as a specialty plumbing supplier.  These faucets are marketed as 40% to 70% below retail.  However, what you don’t know is the innards (internal components) are not the same.  Home improvement and internet retailers purchase in large quantities.  This allows them to specify cheaper internal components from the manufacturers.  That’s how they get the price down.  They are not the same faucet!  It’s a cheaper, lower quality faucet (both ways)!

Style when asking “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”

Style:  There are basically three styles . . . single handle, double handle, and touchless.  This really comes down to preference.  For those looking for ease of use and lesser chance of scalding (think small children, older adults, and those with disabilities or difficulty operating levers), the single handle and touchless is the smart choice.  Single handle and touchless faucets work better when space is an issue and are considered more modern.  Single handle faucets tend to leak faster than double handle faucets (but this usually takes years).

A double handle faucet has a more classical and elegant look.  These double handle faucets can also give you a more precise temperature.  The lift rod for the sink stopper is easier to use and tends to operate with less effort.

Touchless or hands-free faucets use either AC power or batteries.  Better faucets use insight technology with an adaptive infrared sensor that gathers and analyzes the surrounding area upon installation.  After recording these details, the insight calibrates the sensor to filter false triggers and optimize the faucet’s operation.  These provide a cleaner, more hygienic bathroom experience.  For those having difficulty turning or using handles (limited movement, arthritic or carpal hand disabilities), this is the ideal faucet.  Most are fully ADA compliant.

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?
Double Handle

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?
Single Handle

How Do I Choose A Bathroom Faucet?
Touchless

What about the manufacturer when choosing a bathroom faucet?

Manufacturer (alphabetical order):  When clients ask, “How do I choose a bathroom faucet?”, I tell them there are basically 10 top bathroom faucet manufactures that I recommend.  After more than 45 years in the bathroom remodeling business, I have a very good idea about brands.  These are, in alphabetical order:

  • Chicago Faucet
  • Delta Faucet
  • Grohe
  • Hansgrohe
  • Jaclo
  • Kingston Brass
  • Kohler
  • MOEN
  • Pfister
  • Phylrich

I’ve used the most expensive and the cheapest brands.  In my experience, Kohler comes out on top.  It’s one of the leading faucet manufacturers in the United States.  They use some of the most advanced water saving technologies in their faucets.  Most importantly, they work, last, and look beautiful!

Kohler maintains an ideal blend of durability and design in their products. They offer a good range of products, and their customer service is excellent.

Kohler is continuously updating its products with new designs.  Recently, they unveiled Kohler Konnect, which is a smart plumbing fixture that covers showerheads, digital shower valves, mirrors, toilets, and traditional showerheads.  Konnect products can be operated through Google Home and Amazon Alexa using the built-in Wi-Fi.

Very important . . . I receive absolutely nothing from any of the manufactures mentioned within this article.  Nope, no free stuff, trips to Hawaii, rebates, t-shirts, pencils . . . nothing.  Not even a sticker or magnet for the refrigerator.  Everything in this article comes from over 45 years of experience.  My dedication and loyalty are to my customers.  If I won’t install it in my house, I won’t recommend it for yours!

How Can I Receive More Information?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at dan@dadsconstruction.com for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

DAD's Construction | Best Local Contractor

“Taking Care of Your Home . . . The Way We Would Our Own”

Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction, a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation contractor, https://www.dadsconstruction.com.  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.

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