29 November 2010

Thanksgiving re-runs: My last post on faucets

This is a series on faucet finishes I wrote and ran originally in February 2009. I'll be back tomorrow with fresh stuff!

Fixtures, fixtures everywhere but what does it mean and what should I pick? Well, what it means is that there are a bunch of manufacturers who make a bunch of finishes and the one you should pick is the one you like. Many thanks to Kohler for all of their help with this series. They make a high quality product at a price point that's a value proposition. A Kohler faucet is not a faucet you'll be replacing any time soon. They are as sound mechanically as they are beautiful too.

So here are a couple of fun facts I got from my pal Sarah the product manager at Kohler. 

Brushed nickel is the number one selling finish for kitchen faucets.

Chrome is number one on baths.

A new finish has a ten year run rate. By that I mean that when Kohler introduces a new finish, they expect it to remain in production for ten years. Though exceptions to that ten year rule abound. Chrome and nickel have been consistent best-sellers since the 1930s and oil rubbed bronze has been in production for the last 15.

As an aside form me, expect oil rubbed bronze and its kin to be the next ones forced into retirement.

What's making a strong come back are warm gold tones. And that's designer speak for brass. You heard it here first kids, inside of five years all the cool kids will be sporting brass faucets and cabinet hardware. Again. Ugh. I never liked it much the last time around, but who am I to buck a trend? So here's a run down of some of Kohler's cool fixtures and finishes.

Never use harsh abrasives or lime-dissolving chemicals to clean a new faucet of any kind. On a faucet with a living finish, the heavy duty cleaning stuff will remove your hard won patina. On consumer-grade faucets, a thorough clean with the big guns will damage the clear top coat and end up reducing the life of the finish. Remember, a soft cloth and a mild detergent are your plumbing fixtures' best friends.

This is the Antique in  faucet in Brushed Nickel

This is the Purist in Polished Chrome

This is the Clairette in Stainless

This is the Devonshire in Brazen Bronze

This is the Devonshire in Oil Rubbed Bronze

This is the Finial in Vibrant French Gold

This is Memoirs in Polished Chrome

This is Pinstripe in Polished Nickel

So your options are seemingly endless, but know that a quality faucet will last forever. So remember that when you're considering your finish options. Forever. Hmm.

So thanks to my pals at Kohler for all the good information. I now know more about faucet manufacturing and finishes than I ever thought existed. If you ever have a question about this stuff, just shoot me an e-mail. I'm sure I'll be able to answer it.


  1. I actually have to disagree with you about Kohler. I know they helped you with the post, so I am not trying to step on any toes. I think they do make a good product but only over a certain price point.

    I bought one of the cheaper Kohler kitchen faucets because I liked the look of the handle. Stupid reason, I know, but I my parents have Kohler bath fixtures that are still going strong after 25 years so I figured it would be ok.

    Anyway, I haven't even had the thing for two years and it is has broken twice. The first time it was less than a month old, and the whole thing had to be replaced. The internal parts are cheap, flimsy plastic, and Kohler's customer service was not at all helpful. (Ferguson's on the other hand, couldn't have been nicer.)

    It is a wrestling match to pull the pull-out out (nice sentence there) because there is a little rubber ring that is constantly popping out of place and making the pull-out stick in the stem. Oh and it randomly leaks if I use the pull-out too much, so that's fun.

    I'm now looking at a Delta with the touch thing and the magna-tite. Also Moen - my sister's Moen is 10+ years old and going strong and my mom's older Moen last 20 years and this one is about 15.

    Phew. Thanks for letting me vent.

  2. Oh, you're not stepping on any toes. In the time since I put these posts together originally I've had a bit of a change of heart about our pals at Kohler. They seem to have lost all interest in anything but their higher-end bath products and into that quality void has stepped Delta, a brand I never used to give a second thought.

    Their Maga-tite pull out sprayers are fantastic and my new default kitchen faucet is the Delta Pilar. I cannot say enough good things about it. Delta has increased their quality to the point where they lead the industry and they've done it while maintaining a consistent, reasonable pricepoint.

  3. Well, I really do appreciate all your info on design, new products, etc. And if you are liking Delta, your opinion holds a lot of weight with me.

    By the way, still haven't fixed my cab doors yet, but there are 5 Medallion Cabinet dealers within 10 miles so the plan is to get that done in the new year.

  4. That Medallion warranty is pretty iron clad, go get 'em! I'm glad you found all of this useful and yes, I believe in Delta and that's a phrase I never thought I'd utter.


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