selecting plumbing fixtures


We’re getting ready to remodel our bathroom and picking out fixtures. There’s a great price difference between faucets on the shelf at Home Depot or Lowe’s and those available through our contractor’s plumbing suppliers. Even when it’s the same make and model, the price difference can be significant. Why is there such a price difference? And is there a good reason for spending more than we have to?


This is a question that always comes up during bathroom and kitchen remodels, and is especially confusing when – as you pointed out – what appears to be the same model from the same manufacturer comes in two different price points!

Quality Difference Equals Price

The main difference between contractor-grade (bought from plumbing suppliers)and retail-grade (also known as builder-grade, on the shelf at home improvement stores or on-line) plumbing fixtures is the quality of the materials used inside the faucets. Quality equals durability.

Even when it’s the same make and model, you can usually feel a difference in the weight of the two. The retail version will be lighter because they tend to use plastic instead of metal (brass or stainless steel) for the mechanical pieces.

The internal mechanics of a faucet is what works the hardest, and is what will need to be repaired or replaced. Retail-grade fixtures tend to wear out faster and need attention sooner than contractor-grade version.

Many of the well-known plumbing fixtures manufacturers purposely make different versions (or grades) of their products in different price points. There are A- and B-grade versions, and sometimes that rating will appear on the box or in the model number.

And that’s another key to comparing apples to apples. If you see the same fixture in two price points, check the model or part numbers. Those numbers will be slightly different, denoting the difference in in quality and durability which equals price.

Service Difference Equals Peace of Mind

We understand why you may want the cheaper model rather than your contractor’s recommended fixtures that cost more. But there are important factors to consider.

Your contractor or plumbing supplier knows the product inventory well.  During your selection process, these experts can narrow down your choices based on your needs and tastes. This kind of customer service and advice saves you time, and quite possibly some money.

Contractors prefer to buy from trusted plumbing suppliers because they can rely on delivery schedules and good follow-up from them on any possible warranty issues down the road.

And this is a key factor for reputable contractors. They stand behind their work, which includes products, installation and warranty. When they install a good quality product, they know the chances of having to deal with problems later on are greatly reduced. It’s better for you and the contractor to do it right the first time, so using the good stuff benefits everyone.

The best question to ask yourself about faucets is: How long do you want it to last?
If you’re fixing a house to sell, builder-grade serves the purpose. If you’re remodeling for a home you plan to stay in for a long time, contractor-grade reduces problems and gives you the long-lasting quality and efficiency you deserve.

If you have any further questions or would like help with your St. Louis bathroom remodel, call the Mosby office at 314.909.1800 or contact us here. And for answers to other frequently asked home improvement questions, visit our Home Improvement Library.

Why Work with Mosby Building Arts?

If efficiency, knowledge and quality craftsmanship are of the utmost importance, then Mosby is the partner for you. We are a design build firm that handles every aspect of your remodeling project from beginning to end. All team members needed to complete your project (designers, architects and production crews) are under one roof to provide time and monetary efficiencies, quality control, and seamless communication throughout.

Custom Bathroom Remodeling

Start your bathroom remodeling project with Mosby’s certified designers and architects. They begin the design process by learning about your exact needs and desires. Be it a hall bathroom, a master bathroom or an accessible bathroom, our designers will make sure it looks the way you desire and performs above and beyond your expectations.

Learn more about custom bathroom remodeling here.

Semi-Custom Bathroom Remodeling

A semi-custom bathroom remodel from Mosby is ideal for those with a standard sized bathroom that needs remodeling but does not require extensive changes to the footprint of the space. Our process is streamlined for maximum efficiency, which means a beautiful new bathroom could be yours in just 1-2 weeks. 

Learn more about semi-custom bathroom remodeling here.

Home Remodeling Peace of Mind

There’s no need to deal with multiple companies, or the frustration of the left hand unaware of what the right hand is doing. Mosby takes the guesswork out of home remodeling by planning the work and working the plan. You will know the scope of work and price before the first hammer swings. And the work will be done with a commitment to excellence and your happiness. All of Mosby’s remodeling work is backed by our 10-year workmanship warranty.

You can trust you’re in good hands with Mosby:

  • 10-Year Workmanship Warranty
  • 70+ Years Experience