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Buying Your New Faucets – Avoid Plastic

It’s pretty. It’s expensive. You want it. STOP!!

Before you buy your new faucets or shower fixtures, you need to make sure that they are going to be easy to care for and that they will last. This means that they need to be made by a reputable manufacturer. Buy your faucet from a FAUCET MANUFACTURER, not a furniture manufacturer or a lighting manufacturer or a pillow company. You want your faucet to be made by a faucet specialty company, not a company who outsources their manufacturing because it will be difficult to get parts later. And some of the biggest names that we’ve known all of our lives are no longer that great. Many of them have allowed poor manufacturing in order to hit a price point while guaranteeing profit. I’m not going to name names. Sorry.

But…make sure your product is made of brass or stainless steel. (Yes, several big names actually make PLASTIC FAUCETS!!) Make sure the cartridges are not plastic. (with the exception of mixing cartridges for single handle shower valves and kitchen faucets.) If your faucet has a hot handle and a separate cold handle, the cartridge beneath that handle should be brass or stainless steel, NOT nylon. Several good brands of shower valves and kitchen faucets do have quality ceramic discs encased in plastic cartridges but you need to know what the good brands are. And how will you know this? Ideally, you would walk into my showroom and I would show you. But, if that is impossible, you can either call the company or buy the faucet and take it apart. If you find nylon or plastic cartridges, TAKE IT BACK!! If the part where the handle attaches is plastic, don’t buy it. It will wear out very quickly. It’s going to give you problems and you’ll spend way more time repairing this faucet (or paying $$a plumber to fix it) than you would one that may cost more but be made of more durable materials. Many less expensive faucets are built with planned obsolescence in mind. This means the faucets were built to hit that magical price point but the manufacturer never planned to support it. There are no repair parts. There is no customer service number (or no one will ever answer it). No outside representative has been paid to help us help you. We try to NOT sell brands like this. Expect to pay about $300 to $350 for a high quality entry level kitchen faucet in chrome.

And make sure it has a lifetime warranty. Ask how warranty issues are handled. Ask about the experience the showroom has had dealing with warranty issues. We have seen many less expensive brands enter the market, offer a lifetime warranty, and then be out of business in just a few years which makes the lifetime warranty useless. If you just love the faucet and have to have it even though the warranty radar has been beeping, perhaps you can order your first set of replacement cartridges at the same time you buy your faucet. This will carry you through your first repair.

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How To Keep That Fixture Looking New – Wax it!

You’ve spent hours (weeks, months?) selecting the perfect fixtures for your kitchen or bath. Now you’d like it if they could look as good as when you opened the box. Before you even hand the fixtures over to your plumber or contractor, you should wax them. Yes. Fixture Wax. We recommend Flitz fixture wax but you can use carnauba wax WITHOUT polish because sometimes polish can scratch the finish. By waxing your fixtures, the future water spots will spot the wax instead of the fixtures so you should be able to buff off the spots without damaging the finish. You should note, however, that wax will darken many finishes. And if you covet an aged, worn finish, wax will slow that aging process down but it will likely change the finish upon the first application. It may be a good idea to try the wax in an area that won’t be seen too easily. Polished nickel will fog over more slowly and living finish bronzes will get darker and age more slowly. For the first time, add 4-6 coats of wax and then reapply the same amount every 4-6 months. Solid stainless steel finishes usually don’t need wax because they are solid stainless all the way through and can be scrubbed. However, most faucets labelled as stainless are actually just stainless plate or stainless finish. These faucets would need to be waxed.

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