real estate

Selecting the right plumbing fixtures

Shower stalls

According to Viola, the home improvement homeowner can purchase three types of separate shower stalls.
Three types of shower stalls:
  1. First, there is the pre-built shower base. These sell for as little as $350. The rest of the shower enclosure is tiled or finished with Corian.
  2. The second shower is completely fabricated. This is a job-site shower with tile on the floors and walls and a glass enclosure. Prices vary depending on the materials, and who is doing the work.
  3. The third shower is a fiberglass enclosure from the base to the walls. It comes as one entire piece. "The price for the this shower definitely depends upon size," Viola says. "The larger the shower or the odder the shape, the more expensive it is." A fiberglass enclosure begins at $1,000.

Toilets

Toilet technology is all the rage. A 1992 federal law requires new toilets to allow a flow of just 1.6 gallons per flush. In recent years, there have been big innovations in making the 1.6-gallon toilet. These toilets have larger openings from the tank to the bowl. This allows more water to flow through faster. Manufacturers also smoothed out the internal waterways, Viola says. "So, as water passes from the tank to the bowl, you minimize the loss of energy and streamline the flow from the tank to the bowl. These toilets deliver gravity flush-water into the bowl to remove the bowl’s content." These traditional two piece tank-type toilets with the new flow technology are priced from $200.

There are also higher-efficiency toilets in the marketplace with a 1.3 gallon flush. These toilets have to meet the same performance standards as the 1.6-gallon toilets, just with less water. Of course, their base price is higher.

Another category of toilets of interest to some do-it-yourselfers is the dual-flush toilet. It has a reduced-volume flush for liquid waste removal from 0.8 to 1.1 gallons and a full-flush mode at 1.6 gallons that removes solid waste. "Instead of a single-flush lever, the homeowner has two buttons to activate the flush," Viola says. Regardless of the toilet you purchase, the vast majority are made of ceramic vitreous China. These toilets can be purchased for $300 or more.

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