As we head into a New Year, and yet another popular season for home renovation, we start seeing more and more homeowners mull over plumbing fixtures. Oftentimes, the first room to get renovated is the bathroom, and homeowners, eager to see their money in the final product, will go for trendy fixtures like hanging vanities and modern faucets.

It’s not that these trendy fixtures are always bad. Sometimes you can find the perfect mix of functionality and aesthetics. But nowadays, there are hundreds – even thousands – of plumbing fixtures brands on the market, and it takes some research to ensure that you aren’t just getting a pretty picture. That’s why you can always call us for help with your plumbing problems during renovation.

The amount of choice out there can feel pretty overwhelming, and it’s difficult for homeowners to know how to choose the right fixture. Some fixtures have a limited warranty while others have a lifetime warranty. Some brands are new to market while some have a long history. To help you cut through the noise, we at MisterPlumber have decided to share our thoughts on plumbing fixtures.

To sum up our ample plumbing experience, we have noticed that homeowners who choose well-known brands – brands with experience in manufacturing for residential functionality, and with honed lines of customer service – often feel better about their purchase than those who go with new, fad brands. To clarify this point, let’s look at a few reasons fad fixture soften come up short, and then discuss what to look for in bathroom fixtures.

The Trouble with Fad Fixtures

You have to remember that style and finish are not the most important feature when choosing bathroom fixtures.  They are a fantastic bonus feature, to be sure, but they shouldn’t be priority number one. For instance, we’ve heard many plumbers state that certain designer faucets, which admittedly do look fabulous because of the designers’ work, have significant technical drawbacks. Such taps are hard to install and they do not mix water smoothly, making for sharp spikes in the temperature of the discharging water.

Another inconvenience with new brands is that they don’t yet have the means to reliably create new parts, nor do they enjoy the economy of scale that their established competitors do, meaning that, if you need to replace anything, it is more difficult and more expensive. Even a simple replacement like a faucet cartridge can be a major headache.

So, our advice: do not choose faucets by their look and price. Here is an example to support our statement. Maybe around 15 years ago, a new line of “Eurostream” kitchen faucets burst onto the market that were not only trendy looking but pretty affordable too. Naturally, a lot of people bought them. In five years, however, the company went out of business and it was impossible to get a replacement cartridge, so homeowners had to buy anotherfaucet and hire a plumber to replace it. What was meant initially to be acost-saving measure turned out costing homeowners over double the price.

That’s not to say that this is the case with every new fixture company, and sometimes it can be good to patronize a new company that appears to make good products. It is best, however, to start looking for a plumber in Toronto to consult with before you make a big purchase. Our knowledgeable plumbers here at Mister Plumber will be able to weigh on in whether the fixture will work logistically for your bathroom, and notify you of any potential drawbacks in the design.

How to Pick the Right Fixtures

Whether it’s taps, toilets, vanities or tubs, most plumbers suggest you go with plumbing fixtures from well-known brands. You want to go with brands that have enjoyed many years on market, whose customer service is easy to work with and responds quickly to homeowners‘ requests. This way if you run into a problem, need to fix that dripping faucet or need a key feature replaced, you can do so easily and quickly.

Also, older brands often have lifetime warranties and replace worn parts for free. Again, this is likely because of economy of scale, but also because older brands tend to do whatever they can to secure brandloyalty – and there’s no better avenue to loyalty than a lifetime guarantee.

For instance, as an anecdote, our personal experience with the “Moen” brand has been very positive. Once, when a vanity tap started leaking and it was determined that the problem was non-repairable, Moen offered a complete replacement of the tap with no charge to the homeowner (our plumber was the homeowner in this case!). Conversely, we’ve had times where we’ve dealt with homeowners who struggle to replace a part with a designer fixture.

This article from the Faucet Guide (which is a real publication dedicated to the review of all things bathroom fixture!) agrees with our assessment about Moen, listing them as the top faucet on the market. This is a website that we recommend you peruse if you want unbiased, thorough reviews on bathroom fixtures from people who really know what they’re talking about. Yes, customer reviews on Amazon are helpful, but the Faucet Guide offers reviews from people who really know what they’re talking about.

The Bottom Line

With thousands of fixtures on the market, it can be difficult to cut through the noise and find the quality. While there is no hard and fast rule for finding quality, we have found that going with large, established companies is a safer bet in terms of replacement parts, functionality and customer support.

There are certainly designer fixtures that buck this trend – we understand that. That’s why, when you are serious about remodelling or renovating your bathroom, it’s in your best interest to get a free estimate from a local Toronto plumber and consult with a plumber about fixtures. We will be able to impart our years of industry knowledge and point you in the direction of well-made fixtures bolstered by supportive brands.

When it comes time to replace your bathroom fixtures, remember that it’s better to prioritize functionality over aesthetics. It’s much easier finding a reliable brand that makes trendy looking fixtures than itis finding a trendy looking brand making reliable fixtures.