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  • Jeff Russell

One common mistake we often see

One question we often get asked is, “Can I supply my own plumbing fixtures?”

While we can certainly understand the draw of purchasing fixtures on your own, there are three main reasons why we ask homeowners not to go this route.

For sake of example, we’ll be largely discussing faucets during this blog post, but any fixture does apply.

Code and Quality:

Many homeowners who purchase their own plumbing fixtures want to stay on the cheaper side of the budget. With plumbing fixtures, as with most things, you get what you pay for. The great deal on the shower faucet online might appear to save money, but not all fixtures are created equal. Also, that ‘great deal’ may have hidden costs that only become apparent when the plumber tries to install it. There have been many times in the past when a homeowner has purchased a fixture, the plumber came to install it, only to find that there were pieces missing or it was an unknown brand with nonstandard fittings or thread sizes. Because of this, it required more time from the plumber which resulted in extra trips to find the unusual connectors.

We have also seen inspectors fail an inspection because the shower valve did not meet the code required temperature-balancing safety requirements. With plumbing fixtures there are often additional pieces required for the installation. Drains, handle sets, rough-in valves, temperature balancing valves, strainers, adapters, risers, and extensions, are just a few of the possible items that might be required, but are not obvious to a non-plumber. When you purchase fixtures directly from a plumber (or coordinated through us), you will also be purchasing a professional’s knowledge and awareness of brands and quality, as well as knowledge of which pieces are required, and whether the fixtures are code compliant.

Installation and Warranty:

Many plumbers do not want to, or even refuse to install homeowner provided fixtures because of the problems mentioned above. If the plumber supplies the fixture, they know what to expect, will have the needed parts, and if anything is missing or broken it is their responsibility to take care of it. Installing a brand they are unfamiliar with makes their job more complicated and, if there is a problem (like missing parts), it causes delays and will be the homeowner's responsibility to solve the problem. These challenges are why plumbers cannot warranty a fixture supplied by someone else, and while the fixture may carry a manufacturer’s warranty, if you have a warranty claim, the plumber will still charge for the time it takes to replace it. On the other hand, a plumber will always warranty the fixture and the work when they are supplying the fixture. We have found that the extra cost of buying fixtures through the plumber has always been worth it.

An order with broken parts:

There are many instances where homeowners decide to order a part or fixture online that arrives at their doorstep broken, weeks later. We’ve had many projects delayed because of this. Generally, if a fixture comes broken through a plumber, the plumber has much better success with getting a replacement in a timely manner than a homeowner would. This helps the project continue to move forward more quickly.

Curious to hear more about the process of remodeling your bathroom? Check out our cost breakdown blog post here.

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