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.

Comments (4)

  • Babe


    What brands of faucets do not have any plastic or ceramic c valves?

    • Julia Bettencourt


      Babe, there are several brands that are of high quality but still have cartridges encased in plastic. Those nylon cartridges that are in the video are below the standard that most of our clients expect. Rohl, Waterstone, California Faucets, KWC, Watermark, Grohe and Hansgrohe have very nice faucets. Most two handled faucets from these brands will have ceramic disc cartridges encased in brass. Most single handle faucets from these brands will have ceramic discs encased in a hard (not soft nylon) plastic. Beware of faucets sold at mass retailers that may be of the same brands mentioned here since very often, special products, of lesser quality components, are manufactured specifically for mass retailers. Things as simple as making the mounting nuts have a few threads versus many will make a faucet get wiggly and loose fast. Hoses can be of an inferior quality that are stiff and difficult to bend around the kitchen sink. Yet, this is an example of what manufacturers do to hit a price point for the mass retailers.

  • Meena


    I am concerned about using Grohe for my showers now. They are using a lot of plastic! I had no idea? My plumber used grohe pressure balance valves in 3 showers, he said I am tied to Grohe now! Ferguson has just told me Grohe is changing their valves to groflex or something so I’m limited to what I can even use now. Can the valves be changed after all the travertine is done? We are ready for trims now.

    • Julia Bettencourt


      I am so sorry that I am just now seeing this. You can always call us at the store. Almost all of the Grohe and Hansgrohe trim plates are plastic and NO, the valves cannot be changed once the tile is up unless you are willing to cut into the wall that is behind the valve. What does your shower valve back up to? A closet? The hallway? The outside of the house? A hole could be cut there in the future to replace the valve without disturbing the tile.

      I do still think that Grohe and Hansgrohe make good valves. But most of our customers are willing to pay more to have solid brass trim plates.

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