One of the biggest questions I get at City Plumbing & Electric is “Is this trendy? Is it going to go out in a few years?” Most of the time- the answer is YES (that blunt honesty trait of mine rearing it’s head again). However- I always follow up with- Do you LOVE it enough to live with it? Because this is YOUR house people! If you LOVE it- don’t worry about the trends. If you’re going to live in your house for a while- then YOU are the one who is going to have to live with it. Now if you’re going to be selling your house in the next 2-3 years- that is when you are going to have to take “trends” into account. What is hot right now- will most certainly be yesterday’s news in a couple of years. So what to do? My advice? Keep it simple. Avoid the trends- the “hot” finishes and colors- the statement pieces- and stick to the classics. Brushed Nickel finishes, white fixtures, classic designs and colors. Doesn’t SOUND like much fun- but hang with me here- there are things you can do to spice it up. Think jewelry! Lighting is the JEWELRY of the house. Mix those finishes up! Add some sparkle if bling is your thing! Warm it up with textures and wood. There’s so much you can do with lighting!
There are so many options out there for showering. A lot of people are skipping the tub option in the Master Suite and maximizing the shower space. Once you open that door- it’s a slippery slope! (haha) There are so many options! Steam or no steam? Rainhead? From the ceiling or from the wall? Do you want water pressure? Or are you wanting more of an “experience”? Do you want a handheld for cleaning? Is there a seat in your shower? Oh- lets not forget about digital! If that’s not all enough- there are a multitude of finishes!!! Chrome? Polshed or Brushed Nickel? Bronze? Gold is making a HUGE comeback in a softer, gentler way! One of the most popular right now? BLACK!?! Is your head spinning yet?
Well, that’s where I come in. My customers walk in confused and frazzled and feeling rushed, and 99.9% of the time they walk out feeling much more informed and comfortable with their choices and thanking me for making it so easy. My secret? Training. Lots of training and experience helping customers with all types of situations. We sometimes have to get crafty in this line of work to make it happen for our customers. So lets break it down a little. This will most definitely have to be a multi-part series- there are so many parts that go into a custom shower. So lets start with the basics: Valves.
The first thing your plumber needs to know is what manufacturer you are going to go with and how many valves to install. And he wanted to know it yesterday.
Brands/Manufacturers are important. You want to ALWAYS go to a supply house to get your valves and plumbing fixtures. Avoid the big box stores. They have their purpose- but plumbing fixtures are not one of them. Don’t believe me? Ask your plumber. Still don’t believe us? Walk in the big box store and ask an employee how many gallons per minute can the valve they are selling you handle? How many shower heads/functions can you run off of that valve? Oh- and what about a diverter? Your plumber mentioned something about one of those? Now that you’ve good and confused the poor guy/gal- come see me. The manufacturers mostly make specific lines for these stores designed to sell at a lower price point. And how do they do that you may ask? Well they aren’t giving away the good stuff for free! 😉
Once you make the choice to set up a consultation- it’s time to consider a few of your options. If you want to keep it simple and have only one shower head, wether it be in a tub/shower or a shower only, you’re only going to need one valve. So yay! Decision #1 is made!
HOWEVER- if you are going to add functions, such as that ceiling mount raincan, body sprays or a hand shower- we have a bit more to discuss. There are two ways to do this in a shower. The first way and the more budget friendly and most common way is to use a diverter system. In this case you will need two valves. The main valve controls the temperature AND volume and the diverter directs the water to the function you are desiring. I can go more in depth on this and the options- but for the sake of your eyes reading this on your computer/phone screen- just consider that with this you cannot run more than 2 of the functions together at the same time. Also with this system you cannot have more than 3 functions total and the water pressure is more limited. This is not a good system for the “carwash” shower.
The best option, and also can be the most costly, for multiple functions is going to be a volume control system. This system has a mixing valve for temperature only. You have a handle that controls how hot or cold the water is- and then you have a volume control to turn EACH function on and off. Which gives you much more control over each function. It requires a volume control valve for each function as well as that all important mixing valve. Aside from cost- there are other considerations on this system. Some feel that it makes the shower extremely “busy”.
A new solution to that “business” in the shower is eliminating the handles all together! Digital Valves are making a splash (pun intended) in the shower! You get maximum pressure out of the system, and full control with so many options! My one piece of advise on these systems- have a hand shower that is run to a good old fashioned regular mixing valve in the case of power outages or just for general cleaning.
There are other considerations to go over- and that’s where a one on one consultation is important. Your plumber is most likely overbooked and working hard to squeeze everyone in- and they are not going to give you a week or two notice in most cases that they need your valves. That’s where you need to take the bull by the horns and stop in to discuss your options. Appointments are not necessary, but encouraged if you would like to have plenty of one on one time and not have to wait for it! 🙂
Call me at 770-887-1420 ext 2410 or email email@example.com with any questions or to set up an appointment!
About 4 or 5 times a week I hear the statement… I don’t WANT to put a tub in my Master… but my real estate agent/neighbor/friend… told me that no one would buy my house if it didn’t have a tub in the master.
Until I began working in the plumbing industry- I would have probably been the very same real estate agent who advised that you must- absolutely must- have a tub! Who is going to buy a house without a tub in the master? Now I have my answer. Any of the multitude of people who walk in every day begrudgingly to purchase a tub. I now have come to believe- as long as there is a tub somewhere in the home, you are all set! For the money you would spend on a tub- you can have a killer steam shower! But that”s another blog for another day! Stay tuned for more on showers and steam soon!
Getting back to today’s topic- tubs!
Now on the other end of the customer spectrum- to the people (such as myself) who LOVE to bathe… who look forward to coming home to their tub, there are so many options out there to choose from! Freestanding or drop in? Soaking tub, air jets, or water jets? Cast Iron, Volcanic Limestone, Acrylic… Oh My!
So lets break it down a little.
Once you have decided to include a tub, the next big question is freestanding vs drop in. Freestanding are definitely all the rage at the moment. Several times a day we have people walk in wanting to look at our freestanding displays- and better yet- sit in them! That’s a big advantage to visiting a showroom. One of the concerns I hear frequently is how hard it is to get in and out of a freestanding tub. Many people opt for the drop in simply due to the fact you will have a deck built around to sit on to swing your legs in and the ability to add decorative grab/towel bars to help you get out.
Just because you choose a more “traditional” style tub with a deck- don’t think you are stuck with the same old same old! My personal favorite would be the under-mount option- a cleaner look that draws attention to the decking and that beautiful faucet you are adding to draw the eye.
If you decide to choose freestanding- the next big decision is do you choose a freestanding faucet or do you build a ledge behind the tub to do a deck mount faucet? Keep in mind that the investment you will make in a freestanding tub fill can often average roughly the same price as the tub (depending on our next topic- material). There are alternate options to the tub fill- I always advise clients not to let that discourage you from the beautiful freestanding tub you are dreaming of- I can help you achieve that dream without breaking the bank. My favorite freestanding footed tub look? The white tub with the white feet. So classy and just beautiful! And easier to change finishes down the road than going with a tub with a specialty finish on the feet. I’ve worked on a couple of projects lately with the outside of the tub painted a specialty color. Those are so much fun! There are just more options out there than I can even attempt to type out in a blog!
My number one advice to any customer considering purchasing a free standing tub is to ALWAYS buy a quality tub. There are quality tubs at nearly every price point. We are talking about something here that holds a LOT of water that you are placing in your home. Not only that- but you always want to have someone to turn to in the case of any problems. (Can I be a little redundant here? Buying local isn’t only supporting your local economy- it’s giving you a level of support you cannot get from a computer.).
Now lets quickly address material. There are many to choose from. On the lower end of the price point is your acrylic tub. There are different levels of quality of acrylic, so you definitely want to consider the manufacturer and discuss your options. Another popular option is cast iron. The downside? It is heavy. There are different schools on thought over wether it holds heat better or worse than other materials. My personal thoughts? It may take longer to heat up- but metal will hold heat longer- however that water is going to cool a bit in the process of heating the metal. Now keep in mind- it’s just my personal take on the science behind it as I understand it- every manufacturer is going to explain why their product is better- that is just what makes sense to me. We also sell another option- it is a volcanic limestone compound. It has the durability of cast iron but without the weight.
As to soaker vs air jets vs water jets. The majority of homeowners have a bad taste in their mouths from old water jetted tubs. They would sit with water inside the lines and just when you would decide you really needed that relaxing, warm massaging bath- you would sit down and hit the jets- and suddenly you were surrounded and soaking in black mold. Disgusting! Turns out those jets should have been cleaned on a regular basis prior to use. The average homeowner wasn’t told that and so that was a really bad experience for most. The new solution is the Air Jetted tub. These guys are also called “bubble tubs”. They give an all over effervescent effect. The biggest benefit? They “clean” themselves! At a preset time after the jets have been turned off they run an airing out cycle that dries the lines and thus prevents the black moldy bath that so many are afraid of!
As you can probably tell- there is so much more to these decisions than I have the time or energy to write about. However, I will be happy to discuss more in depth what may or may not work with your individual needs and situation.
I met a client today on my day off at our Gainesville showroom to help her pick out faucets to go with her gorgeous new Native Trails Native Stone apron front sinks:
It’s such a stunning sink! A different take on the Apron Front style. I find it refreshing to veer away from the typical white apron front. Don’t get me wrong, the white sinks are gorgeous. I do them every day in kitchens and they turn out beautiful! But the key word here is- I do them every day in kitchens. And there are SO many options out there, whether it’s mixing up the color of a classic Cast Iron sink, or changing the material entirely to something as stunning as the Native Stone, Hammered Copper or Nickel, or the Stainless Steel- mixing it up to make a big standout!
So no matter what your material- the apron front sink is in HIGH demand right now and becoming the centerpiece in many kitchens.
And in case you are curious… we went with the matte black Delta Trinsic kitchen faucet with her beautiful Slate Native Stone sink! It’s going to be stunning!
I’m so excited as the project takes shape! We are combining rustic and transitional to make a unique and personal Dahlonega, Ga. paradise for a wonderful family!
Come see me at City Plumbing & Electric, Inc.; 6030 GA Hwy 400N; Cumming, Ga. 30028 to see these products & so much more in person, email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or call 770-887-1420 ext 2410 for more information.