Need recommendations for a non-wobbly vanity faucet

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sdmark, Sep 3, 2011.

  1. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    Hi,

    DIY homeowner here. I recently remodeled a bathroom. For the dark wood vanity with beige marble top, I want a brown faucet ("oil rubbed bronze" color).

    Started with a Price Pfister from Home Depot. Besides the generally cheap feel, I couldn't get the drain pull stem right--the faucet is too close the backsplash to accommodate a tilted pull stem. Returned this one.

    Looked for an option with a vertical pull stem. A couple store guys said Delta is higher quality. Bought a Delta Windemere 25996LF-OB at Lowe's. Looks perfect, but: same cheap feel as Price Pfister (same Chinese factory?); finish already scratched; removing aerator required destructive force (they sent me another); and my main gripe, the handles wobble 1/2" up and down. Lowe's guy says the wobble is due to the cheap plastic stem.

    I'm comparing this to the American Standard bright brass faucet that I installed in another bathroom in 1999 that still is as bright and sturdy as the first day.

    Are there still "consumer" grade faucets available that offer quality at a decent price? Apparently $100 is not enough to get a decent faucet--how much do I need to spend, and where?

    Thanks for your help,

    Mark
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    One of the hassles you have is that you live in CA! Their vendetta against anything lead means that more and more plumbing stuff is made out of plastics. Personally, I've used Grohe stuff and some Delta stuff. I generally buy my stuff online, as not being a pro, it's hard to get the best prices from the plumbing supply houses. A lot of places are giving an extra discount over this holiday weekend, but you really want to touch the model before purchasing. Sorry, can't give a specific suggestion...
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    JAD...to quote Humphrey Bogart....you have been misinformed! The low-lead law is FEDERAL. It is just that as with the incandescent light bulb phase out...CA implements on a more agressive schedule. I believe Jan 1, 2012 is the Fed. low-lead date. Not positve, may be later.
  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,143
    Location:
    New England
    Ah, but CA imposed it first, so you're more likely to actually find those in the stores. This is just a preview of what the rest of us will likely get.

    FWIW, the Grohe units I have, have a plastic stem that the metal handle attaches to. They indicate that this is to help prevent the handle from getting excessively hot if the thing is turned to full hot, and left there for awhile. I know that on one (really old) valve, the heat made it impossible to safely turn the silly thing off without burning your hand unless you had some insulation, so I can appreciate the engineering thought that went into that safety feature.

    All that being said, some are more robust than others...you really need to look around and find one you like the 'feel' of.
  5. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    It is NOT Federal law YET. Right now it is a CA and VA law.
  6. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    You're saying the only inexpensive alternatives are lead and plastic? What about brass, iron, steel?

    The Grohe units at Lowe's definitely felt more solid. Unfortunately they only stock chrome finish, and even on their web site I don't think I found the brown/bronze color.

    Saw a simple, fairly sturdy faucet at Costco yesterday in the $30 range. Can't remember the brand, but again, chrome only.

    Mark
  7. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    15,130
    Location:
    Bothell, Washington
    You may want to go to a plumbing showroom.
    If you don't want home center quality, you may want to move up a notch.
  8. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    What kind of budget should I have in mind for a 4" vanity faucet in brown?
  9. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    Normally three to four times what a GOOD chrome faucet would cost. Much more compared to a $30.00 faucet. And I am not sure what you mean by "wobbly" since I install ALL brands of faucets and they are NOT wobbly when I finish.
  10. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    I appreciate the reply, but I don't know what a GOOD chrome faucet costs ($50? $200?), so I'm can't do much with it. Is there a rule on the forum about not putting dollar figures or recommended makes and models out there? Maybe I'm oblivious to some etiquette.

    Here's what I mean by wobble:

    [video=youtube;bmq2BJ0C1wY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmq2BJ0C1wY[/video]

    Delta said it shouldn't do that and they would send me another, but when I checked out the display model at Lowe's, it had the same issue. Also some user reviews mention the wobble.

    I removed one handle cap and tried screwing it down but it was already tight.

    Mark
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2011
  11. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    That faucet must have the "all plastic" stem, (possibly because of where you bought it), which I have not seen for a decade or so. Replace it with the metal shaft unit and it will NOT wiggle.
  12. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    Called Delta to discuss options. They had previously offered to replace the faucet due to the scratch and the handle wobble. This time, rep directed me to the Leland faucet, which has brass stems. We also discussed replacing the stems. I thought she would provide stems or upgrade the faucet. She put me on hold to review options. I planned to come back here and report on their great customer service. When she came back on the line, she advised:

    • A scratch is only covered if it comes out of the box with a scratch. The "lifetime finish warranty" only covers manufacturer's defects. Apparently susceptibility to scratching is not a defect.
    • The wobble is normal; if I don't like it, I can take it back to Lowe's. She can give me part numbers for brass stems, but not provide them.

    Sounds like a supervisor told her to deny the claim. Frustrating.

    Mark
  13. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,831
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    She must own stock in the company. I have NEVER had a representative "deny" a claim, even for a faucet which developed a bad finish.
  14. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    She did say that corrosion damage would be covered. The scratches are small but in the middle of the faucet so noticeable. I may have bumped it on something during the install but I didn't whack it with a hammer. It seems that "oil rubbed bronze" is really just a thin, not very hard coat of paint.
  15. sdmark

    sdmark New Member

    Messages:
    16
    Location:
    San Diego, Calif.
    It was a little discouraging to browse Home Depot, Lowe's, and Dixieline and find that almost all in-stock lav faucet handles have some degree of wobble, with Delta leading the pack. Notable exceptions with metal stems were a Pegasus (I think by Grohe?) and the new WaterWare line by Danze. Unfortunately neither of those were available in oil-rubbed bronze.

    I finally purchased and installed a Kohler Devonshire Centerset Oil-Rubbed Bronze faucet, model 393-N4-BRZ. Purchased as a Lowe's special order, price matched to $151. It's much more solid, at least twice the weight of the Delta, metal stems, metal drain. Finish is a little duller but actually seems to slough off water rather than spot. The finish on the stopper was rough; they're sending another.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2011
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