real estate

Selecting the right plumbing fixtures

Kitchen sinks

Many homeowners are trading in their old sinks for stainless steel ones because they come in various shapes, sizes and thicknesses. A two-bowl, stainless-steel sink that is seven inches deep with a moderate-to-thick gauge can be purchased for as little as $129. However, it can also be much more expensive if it’s customized. The drawback to stainless steel sinks -- even though they won’t chip -- is that they can be scratched, depending upon if it's brushed steel or a high-grain polish.

Other types of sinks that remodeling homeowners are selecting include Corian, cultured marble and glazed cast iron. The latter is more susceptible to coffee staining over time. In addition, something heavy can chip this sink. "Determining which sink you want installed all depends upon taste," Viola says.

Bathroom sinks

The V-shaped vessel bowls are still popular. Made of glass -- although some are now made of copper and even stainless steel -- they elevate above the countertop. Vessel bowls are expensive and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. However, many people changing their bathroom vanity purchase a cultured marble countertop with a bowl built into it.

Faucets

Faucets are turned on and off repeatedly for many years. That’s why it’s important to select a faucet that is convenient to use, durable, safe, and looks great. Price can be one of the measures of quality. Walk into a store and you will find faucets costing under $50 and plenty of other faucets costing into the hundreds of dollars. Before you purchase a faucet, consider what you need. If you have young children, you may want a scald-guard or temperature-limited feature in the faucet. This type of faucet is made by several manufacturers for a single-control faucet. Check out the warranty for your faucet because they do vary.

According to Viola, aesthetic features drive price. The fancier the shape, the higher the price. Although there are a variety of materials available for faucets, they are primarily brass with some kind of finish. The basic finish is chrome plate but other faucets are finished in brushed nickel or oiled bronze. Each manufacturer has its own proprietary finish.

The second factor determining the price of the faucet is the arrangement. For example, many bathrooms have a four-inch spread of holes for the hot and cold pipes. A wide spread may have the hot and cold or on-off controls separate from the spout. With those types of faucets, you have three different pieces that can be arranged in different ways on the countertop.

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