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Where to Save vs. Splurge on Plumbing Fixtures

Sims - Where to Save vs. Splurge on Plumbing Fixtures

Whether you’re hoping to renovate your current home or build your dream home, it’s likely that you’ll be selecting plumbing fixtures in the near future. And with that comes the age-old question: Where can I SAVE and where should I SPLURGE?

First, it’s important to remember that when it comes to plumbing fixtures, FUNCTION is priority number ONE. Be sure to purchase through a plumbing supplier as opposed to a big-box store (Home Depot, Lowes, etc.) or online retailer. The key difference between the two are the parts unseen. Fixtures from big-box stores and some online retailers generally have plastic internal parts, whereas fixtures from a supplier have metal fittings that are higher quality, better functioning, and longer lasting. You can also expect a lengthier and more robust warranty through suppliers as well.

Not sure what to know before getting bids from builders? Read our 6 Tips for  Success for Your Custom Home Bidding Phase »

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There are a few areas in your home where you’ll want to SPLURGE a bit. Consider going “all-out” in your kitchen, master bath, powder room, and perhaps a bar area. These are the areas of your home that get the most use and also have the highest visitor traffic. Higher-end fixtures in these areas will get the most daily notice and appreciation from you, your family members, and your guests.

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We advise our clients to SAVE on plumbing fixtures in their secondary baths and utility/laundry room. There are so many cost-effective options these days that will fit your style, function well, and not break the bank. For example, our homeowners often opt for a more economical undermount sink as opposed to overmount, vessel, integrated, or pedestal sink in their secondary baths. Likewise, they may save by selecting a counter-mounted faucet in order to splurge on a sleek wall-mounted sink faucet in their master bath. Or drop-in tub/showers may be selected for secondary baths in order to allow for a soaker tub and dream tiled shower in your master bath. As it is with all choices in life, you’ll want to prioritize what’s most important to you and make some concessions on the rest.

Have more questions about the custom home selections process? Visit our  previous blog post here »


Believe it or not, another way to save costs is to choose your plumbing fixtures EARLY on in your renovation or new build. This will allow your builder to have the correct rough-in kits and valves on hand when it’s time to make important framing, plumbing, and final placement decisions early on in your project. Delaying the arrival of these “behind the wall” parts may lead to incorrect placement and work needing to be redone later. And as we all know, any schedule delays in construction will cost everyone real time and real money. Selecting early also means that you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of fixtures, and not just the ones with shorter lead times that can arrive quickly to keep your project moving smoothly.

Be sure to ask your builder upfront for a detailed selections schedule so that you are aware of ALL of the design selections you will need to make as well as your deadlines for making them. This will ensure the entire home renovation or building journey is MUCH more manageable and enjoyable for you. Before we begin each of our projects, we supply our homeowners with a basic Schedule of Design Selections AND a Comprehensive Selections Schedule that provide both a general and a detailed roadmap for chipping away at selections throughout their project. The firsthand feedback from our homeowners has been that these selections schedules make the process easier and less stressful for them.

Need help managing the design selections of your custom home? Download our FREE  Design Schedule. »

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Having a comprehensive selections schedule also helps when it comes time to visit showrooms. Having a detailed list of ALL selections that are needed from each showroom visit means that you are less likely to miss making a selection while there.

In addition, here are a few other tips that will help make the most of your plumbing showroom visit:

  • Make an appointment - Be sure that either you, your builder, or your interior designer makes an appointment as opposed to simply showing up at a showroom. This will allow your builder to coordinate closely with the showroom sales rep in order to pass along plans, style/inspiration photos, and important budget information. Ultimately, you’ll get a showroom visit that is much more effective and efficient.
  • Come prepared - Bring inspiration photos with you, and jot down your thoughts beforehand on where/how you’d like to splurge as well as what fixture finish you tend to prefer.
  • Be realistic - Comprehensive pricing is NOT calculated while you are at the showroom. This can be a frustrating part of the plumbing fixtures selection process, and the biggest reason why your builder MUST communicate clear budget guidelines to the showroom BEFORE your visit. After your visit, the rep will compile all selections (including rough-in parts, valves, etc.) and build a comprehensive proposal to send to you and your builder.
  • Find ways to save - The major savings that you’ll receive is from a “builder discount,” but there is also another way to save. More and more, plumbing suppliers are also supplying appliances, light fixtures, or other items. “Bundling” or purchasing multiple selections categories from one supplier, can save you an additional 3-7%, depending on the supplier.

Sims - Where to Save vs. Splurge on Plumbing Fixtures -5We hope this post has been helpful for you. If you have any additional questions regarding plumbing fixtures or any other aspect of your custom home renovation or new build, please don’t hesitate to contact our team. We’re always happy to help!

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Marie Sims

As a veteran team member of Sims Luxury Builders, Marie enjoys sharing what she’s learned with the world.


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