Read these 11 Fixture Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Fixtures tips and hundreds of other topics.
To be honest, a lot of people go for stainless steel sinks for purely practical reasons. That is, they are very easy to install and they clean up nice. A stainless steel sink is great if you don't mind the fact that they scratch easily and they make running water sound like the kettle drum at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. You don't even want to know what your garbage disposal will sound like. Oh, yes, one other thing you might not like: You can dent a stainless if you drop something heavy on it like a cast-iron pot or a Civil War cannonball. You can minimize these effects somewhat by buying a sink with an undercoating made from thicker gauge metal. The gauge indicates the thickness of the metal. The lower the gauge number the thicker the material. Stainless steel sinks commonly run from 12-23 gauge.
Single-handled kitchen faucets with pull-out spouts are making quite a splash with consumers these days. They come in different finishes, and are great for cleaning fruits and vegetables, or spritzing a spouse. You will find that spouts with stainless-steel hoses are less prone to kinking than others. Faucets with water filters built into the spout are are also pretty popular. Pot fillers — cold-water taps on long swing-out arms installed within reach of your range or cook-top are also a hot item.
In the area of finishes, chrome is still the faucet fan favorite. It's durable, easy to clean and versatile. Lifetime finishes such as you find with major manufacturers like Kohler, Delta, Moen, American Standard and Price Pfister have taken the worry out of caring for polished-brass finishes. All these finishes stand up to abrasive cleaners and do not spot. According to people who keep track of such things, satin-nickel is moving up on chrome and polished brass in the race for finish supremacy. And why not? They're warm and soft, and blend in with just about everything.
One way you can save money on a plumber is to buy your own fixtures. For the most part, plumbers prefer to sell you the toilets, sinks, faucets that they install. Good business types that they are, they buy stuff at a discount and charge you full price. It's not just about making money off you, however. The plumber needs to cover the costs of dealing with such things as purchases, returns, storage. Things are changing in this regard lately, though home center stores like Home Depot and Lowe's are now selling plumbing supplies at rock-bottom prices. So now plumbers are shopping more and more at the same stores you do. If you have the time to shop around, you can save money by purchasing your own plumbing fixtures.
Having said that, there are a few things you should look out for. One is: you get what you pay for. Sadly, and typically, the lower priced fixtures are no bargain. They can be poorly made and missing adapters, install kits, and other items necessary for completing the job. So beware. Shop wisely, and well. Another potential headache could arise if the something goes wrong with the fixture after the plumber installs it.This could lead to questions of culpability. You can avoid the confusion, animosity and finger-pointing by checking with the plumber beforehand about the brands he recommends and then buying them. Checking with the plumber first will prevent a third problem. Every plumbing product or line of products comes with its own installation idiosyncrasies. Choosing a fixture that your plumber knows and loves will ensure that a happy result.
If you're are adventurous and have some money to play with, you might want to look into a bathtub made from mahogany, birch, or teak. Wood allows you break away from the hard-edged, somewhat sterile look of the traditional bathroom in favor of a softer, warmer, more serene setting conducive to relaxation and meditation. The wooden tubs are made from aged wood that has been dried and glued together and imbued with wax, then polished with a hard-wax oil. Because it's such a new item, we don't know how well these tubs hold up over time. Manufacturers do suggest that the bowl or tub be dried after each use and waxed semi-annually.
Plumbing fixtures are only human. Something is bound to go wrong, (usually on a weekend) that resists your knowledge of plumbing. A plumber is expensive and there's no way around that. But there are a variety of ways to get the best plumber for your job. Most consumers figure that they should hire a "reputable firm" with the lowest rate. Sounds reasonable, but it doesn't alway work out. Here's why The word "reputable" means different things to different people. Many people figure if they hear a company's name a lot, it must have a good rep. It ain't necessarily so, unfortunately. In the plumbing world many of the companies that promote most heavily have the worst track for quality work. Here's another thing to consider when researching hourly rates. How does the plumber count hours. Most plumbers spend a good part of their day on the road, driving between jobs. Somebody's got to pay them for this time. Guess who it will be? Choosing a plumber based on hourly rates can be a challenge. That's why you need to find out how consistently a plumber delivers customer satisfaction. How do you do that? Ask the plumber in question for references, names and numbers of customers (commercial or residential) for whom the plumber has done work. Or ask friends, neighbors or relatives who have had plumbing work done recommend a plumber.
Can a porecelain bowl be customized? Definitely. In fact, a porcelain bowl can be painted with motifs to enhance the décor of the room. Nursery characters, flowers, or fish are common themes. Once the paint is dry, a glaze is applied and the piece is re-fired. The result is a beautiful, custom bowl that is durable as well as interesting. Many manufacturers are including bold colors in their line of traditional style sinks. These are fun in contemporary decors or for use in children's baths.
One way to save money on plumbing is to reduce the need to call a plumber at all. The biggest plumbing issue for most folks have is drain-related. This usually does not require a plumber, though a plumber's friend can be useful. Drains get clogged because of grease build up. Soap residue and hair combine and accumulate to form a kind of plaque inside the pipes. Sort of like cholesterol in arteries. The best way to remove this gunk is with a plunger or a snake, which you can get at a hardware store or home center. Try to avoid putting chemicals down the drain. Use them only as a last resort. When and if you clear the drain, keep it clear by pouring boiling water with a little detergent once a month. Since hair is a major culprit in clogged drains, you can stop clogged drains before they get started by placing a hair catcher over your drain. Pick up the hair after showering and say good-bye to clogged bathtub and sink drains. If you live in the temperate zone, the water pipes can be in danger of freezing, which is not a good thing. You can keep this from happening and keep the plumber away by taking a few preventive measures. Make sure that all your pipes are in heated spaces. Any that are not should be well insulated. When the weather turns colder in the fall, disconnect and drain your garden hoses, turn-off the indoor shut-off valve near the faucet, and open the outdoor faucet. If you don't have a shut-off, valve, consider installing one. The water left in pipes exposed to below-zero temperatures will freeze, and cause your pipes to burst.
You might say that utility sinks are the blue-collar heroes of sinkdom. You can usually find the trusty utility sink anywhere heavy-duty cleanup is called for: a basement, a laundry room, a garage, utility room or mud room. Utility sinks tend to be deeper and wider than their more elegant kitchen cousins. In recent years, manufacturers have developed utility sinks designed to blend in with various architectural styles and decorative motifs. So you can have a sink that works hard and looks good. Today, you can purchase a utility sink made of stainless steel, fireclay, cast iron, and composite materials, not to mention acrylic.
Glass sink bowls have become the rage recently in bathroom decor. And why not? You can get them in virtually any color, texture, and shape you want. What's more you are not limited to traditional placement options. You can set your glass bowls in wrought iron bases, on brass or chrome stands, or on top of a counter-top, chest of drawers or table top.
If you are not into glass sinks, no problem. There are a lot of other materials to choose from. Brass, stainless steel, chrome, copper and stone to name but a few. The design choices are out of this world, too. You can get a sink that looks like fabric draped over a black iron base. Another sink is made from copper encased between two layers of glass. And this is just scratching the surface, design-wise.
Installing new fixtures requires careful planning as even small errors can lead to big problems. Most improvements the do-it-yourselfer will make are add-ons, where you simply hook new fittings or fixtures to existing pipes. This is not as easy as it may sound. Before you try something that requires a plumber's license, like running new water lines, you'll need to understand how supply, drain, and vent pipes work. Don't despair, however. There are a ton of very useful plumbing how-to books available at your local home center, bookstore, public library, and on the internet.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|