New shower valve...Where to buy?

Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by French_guy, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. French_guy

    French_guy Member

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    I’m having some contractors quoting a bath tub to shower conversion
    When it comes to the shower valve, they all say the quality at a plumbing store will be much better that what we can find at Home Depot or Lowes
    They even say that for the same model, the manufacturer gives the plumbing stores higher grades, when HD or Lowes get lower grade (thinner walls, plastic guts, etc,..)
    Is it true or not?
    Is it still safe to try saving ~ $100 on the shower valve by buying at HD or Lowes, or I should definitely spend more and go buy in a dedicated store?
     
  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    They do make a differnt line for the discount stores.
    I buy almost nothing there except some tools.
     
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  4. French_guy

    French_guy Member

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    So not a good idea to buy at HD or Lowes? It's really worth the extra $100 and get it from a specialized store?
     
  5. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

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    It can depend on the item. For my customers I sell at 70% of retail.
    Many shower valves at the box stores are set up for IP connections. I don't even use those.
    I prefer to solder my connections.
    There are some items that are big box only items. You have to wonder why.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    Often, if you compare the complete part number, while the model name may be the same, the rest of it is different. IF that's the case, they are not exactly the same, and it was packaged or made to a price. Now, it could just be packaging. For example, many of Delta's valves use the same part in the wall, but then you have a choice of what trim and cartridges you want to use with it. In a plumbing supply house, the rough-in valve is sold separately from the trim and cartridge...a big box store may combine them along with a shower head and tub spout in one box, but you won't have as many choices. IOW, it depends, but they aren't always the same quality.
     
  7. French_guy

    French_guy Member

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    I was reading the reviews of the DELTA Porter shower faucet from Home Depot, and apparently some people are complaining about the low flow from the shower head...Is it because it has the WaterSense feature?
    http://www.homedepot.com/p/Delta-Po...et-in-Oil-Rubbed-Bronze-144984-OB-A/203263676
    So that model has the WaterSense stuff, and also a 3 spray shower head

    The other model I'm looking at (from a plumbing store) is the DELTA Lahara....It has the 2 handles to adjust temp and flow separately, doesn't have the WaterSense and has only 1 spray shower head......and it more expensive. But since it's sold in a plumbing store, it should be better quality
    http://www.deltafaucet.com/bath/details/t17238-rb.html

    I really don't which one I should pick.........!!!!
     
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    When sold as an assembly, a shower head is limited to a maximum of 2.5gpm. Spreading that out over three heads on one assembly means each one will have less, so that the total is not more than 2.5g. If you buy separate heads, or say body sprays, each one is limited, but not the group, so you could be asking for more volume than what is available, and that will appear as a low pressure situation. The pressure is the same, but when it has more outlets than the supply can fill fully, it just comes out slower! Think soaker hose verses jet spray.

    There are basically three different types of shower valve available today that meet codes:
    - single handle, pressure balanced
    - two handles, one for volume, one for temperature
    - two handles, one for volume, one thermostatically controlled

    Delta sells all three types, and they get more expensive as you go down that list, regardless of the trim or other features. The actual trim costs can vary quite a bit.
     
  9. French_guy

    French_guy Member

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    So which one seems to be better according to you?
     
  10. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    First, the Delta website shows suggested retail, and you can often find the items at a discount, maybe even at your local plumbing supply house.

    Second, as I said earlier, going from a single handle to a two handle valve costs more...partly for the extra handle, partly for the more complex cartridge. So, your first decision is do you want a separate volume control or not? Then, decide if you want to spend more for it.

    The model shown from HD is ONLY available at HD and Menards...it is made specifically for them and this may help explain some of it
    http://www.deltafaucet.com/customersupport/understanding-model-number.html . Many companies make those things to a specific price point, and there are compromises. You may or may not ever notice the difference unless you had one made for the trade and one made for HD side-by-side. One common way to save money is to use plastic verses metal, or brass verses pot metal, or the quality and warranty on the finish. Plumbers tend to like to make soldered connections, DIY'ers, threaded ones. The valve body sold to pros is likely to be able to support both, giving a choice. The one from HD, probably only a screw-on connection. Certainly can work, and either method can be a major pain with a leak, but once a joint is properly soldered, it should be good forever...a threaded one could be knocked and leak now, or later.

    The other one from the Delta website is what is supplied to plumbing supply houses and showrooms. Hard to say exactly what is different between the two other than the obvious single handle verses two (volume/temp).

    Given that most people don't remodel their bathrooms all that often, IMHO, now is not the time to skimp, but the HD version would be perfectly serviceable.
     
  11. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    Getting a unit from a popular manufacturer means easy parts decades down the road. You may want to call the manufacturer directly and confirm what they require for the warranty to be transferred and handled by you, so you can always obtain direct service. I would trust no contractor to stick around long enough to hold your "warranty papers". Contractors love it when you have to depend on them for warranty issues, they will find a way to make you pay for their time.

    There is absolutely no disadvantage that IP fitting is "worse" than a solder. Both work when done right. Both FAIL when done wrong.

    Reviews and where your unit will come from is not as important as personal asthetics and real functionality. Someone that stays many nights in motels/hotels will know what I mean here. A lot of shower valves just piss me off, and I wouldn't have any of them in my home even if they were free. I would not let price be a factor here. Whatever your gut tells you to get, will still be affordable. A quality fixture isn't going to cost $500 more than a low quality one.

    Your showerhead can be changed by DIY anytime, you can experiment here and just refund return what you don't like back to the box stores. The rubber nozzles in these things never last beyond a decade, so don't go crazy to "invest" on just the showerhead.

    If something is going to be part of my daily life for a good part of my lifetime, car, bed mattress, eating utensils, door handles, how my windows open (hate the swining levers, love old fashion casement sliders), I don't want anything that will cause peeves and regrets. I despise bullcrap and do not put up with it. Do your other family members get a say in what you choose? You're the one that will have to live with a wife that will constantly complain how crappy a fixture is AFTER having it done.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2015
  12. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    Even when the big box item IS the same, my experience has been that they have NOT been "final inspected" so defects do slip through, and YOU are the final inspector. If you notice the defect and return it, no loss because it would have been scrapped anyway. If you don't notice it or do not want to return it, then they have made a profit and they come out ahead. I have had MANY items that customers have purchased that had defects which I have NEVER seen in the supply house product, and when I question the manufacturer they insist a defect like that would NEVER have left the factory.
     
  13. French_guy

    French_guy Member

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    Yes, my wife is in the loop....At least for the look/color (Happy wife, happy life)
    We are finally going with the Delta Lahara (bronze) and the 2 separate controls (provided by the contractor, who get it from the plumbing store). I get the 20% discount. So final price is something like $90 more than the Porter from Home Depot (which doesn't have the separate controls)
    I will have to ask about the warranty though. It's a lifetime warranty, but since I'm not the original buyer.....!!!???
     
  14. standardairconditioner

    standardairconditioner HVAC'ker

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    Read what I wrote above.

    Basically if you can't PROVE where and when you bought your unit to a manufacturer, the contractor has you by the balls. They are the ones that have a sales receipt of the purchase they made from their plumbing shop.

    Unless the contractor is your best friend or adjacent next door neighbor, DO NOT believe what any contactor says without getting it put in writing. DO believe the manufacturer and their requirements to satisfy warranty claimns. Example: a manufacturer may require that you possess the warranty papers and a paid receipt from a licensed professional.

    It is your responsibility to verify how warranty procedures EXACTLY work. BestBuy is notorious for screwing buyers with their extended warranties, that don't give them much more protection as they contain a lot of exclusions that protect BestBuy, not the buyer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  15. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    They ASK if you are the original buyer, but I have never had to furnish "proof" of it. If I did it would take forever to obtain the part and the customer would be better served buying it to get back into service. As for the "2 valves" on the faucet, if the valve is installed properly they will never even be seen, much less used.
     
  16. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    I think HJ is confusing supply line shutoff valves with the water/temp valves on the unit you're talking about. In-line shutoffs usually can't be seen until you take the escutcheon plate off, and typically, a plumber will not do that since most of the time, you can replace the cartridge without it. It becomes more useful if you as the homeowner are going to do the repairs. It allows you to just turn off that fixture, and not the whole house. Plus, after years of sitting there, they may not work great, either, and you still need to turn off the main supply. Personally, if I were going to upgrade from the single-handle unit, I'd probably go all the way to a thermostatic 2-handle unit.
     
  17. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

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    We have absolutely no idea WHAT the mean by "2 valves" unless they specify WHAT they control, especially, when "2 handles" often control a SINGLE valve unit.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2015
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