Newport Brass = Expensive Garbage and Why I LOVE Moen and Kohler

jacqueline5May 31, 2013


I'm back, I'm mad, and I'm naming names. I logged many, many hours here at GW nine-ten years ago when we were building our dream home. I'm back because the insanely expensive Newport Brass valve in our master shower fractured and flooded not only the entire marble bathroom requiring it to be gutted but my formal dining room downstairs as well.

This is not the first failure we've experienced with Newport Brass. Two years ago the outrageously expensive faucet in the powder room started leaking. I took it to Ferguson's (where we purchased all our fixtures). They contacted Newport Brass. Newport Brass informed them and subsequently us, that their warranty covers basically nothing and we were out of luck. Whatever, we replaced it with good old reliable Moen, and it looks and works wonderful.

So, I'm sure you can guess what Newport Brass's response was when I contacted them about the brass temperature balancing valve that had a huge crack in the brass body that spewed water into the wall and caused over $20k (and counting) damage. The rep on the phone pretty much said, "So sad, too bad, oh and a new one will be $458 to replace the part - yes that's right, just that part, no, not the whole thing". Oh and the warranty for this ridiculously expensive fixture? "One year, parts only." Yep one year.

So who do I love? Moen and Kohler.

Story 1. Moen. After we finished building the house, I noticed a leak under the sink. There was a small crack in the corner of our undermount Moenstone kitchen sink. When I contacted Moen, they shipped out a new one immediately. When my installer said he couldn't replace the sink without damaging the granite slab counter Moen PAID for a new granite slab to be custom manufactured and installed! No angry calls needed, they were friendly and helpful every step of the way. They were AMAZING!

Story 2. Kohler
My beautiful Vinatta kitchen faucet started leaking a few months ago. I called Kohler. They shipped out a replacement cartridge right away - no charge. When it continued to leak after the cartridge was replaced, Kohler shipped a brand new Vinatta faucet NO CHARGE! Again, I had no issues, they were helpful, no jumping through hoops, no 'Too bad, so sad.' Just excellent customer service and a commitment to standing behind a quality product. They are amazing.

If you happen to work for Newport Brass and want to contact me to apologize for your deplorable product and customer no-service, please do. I welcome the conversation.

PS I hope I'm not breaking any GW rules, but I'm going to also post this in the bathroom section. I know I was very grateful for feedback and product reviews when building our home. If it's a problem, please let me know. Thank you!

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My plumber suggested Moen because of the fabulous continual customer service.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Look at it like some notorious exotic cars. A flashy display of wealth. And if you can't afford to fix or replace it often, you're obviously too much of a plebe to appreciate that having the best doesn't come cheap.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Fair warning and I hope people listen to you - what a PITA for you.

We have all Moen and Koehler in our house. My husband does remodeling/repair for a living and always recommends them - quality, available parts, customer service - the big 3 in any home purchase, IMO. When a customer of his INSISTS on other products his stand is that he will install if they insist but 1) it will likely take longer and thus have a higher labor charge because the components rarely fit right and 2) he cannot stand behind it when it fails and any repair/replacement will incur more labor charges. With Moen or Koehler, they back their products and more often than not, his labor.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 1:32PM
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We had a Moen kitchen faucet in our old house that was 4 years old when it broke (and actually, we think there was some operator error involved, a friend yanked on hit quite hard at a funny angle.) anyway, they sent a new one in a matter of days. I was very impressed, they really do stand by their lifetime guarantee.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 5:52PM
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Another thing to think about - I have been told by a couple of plumbers that they generally have the parts to fix Moen or Kohler on the truck. Some less rare faucet parts they can pick up at the warehouse, but the Rohl/Waterworks faucets of the world often need ordering - hence being without for a while. FYI.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 6:41PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

When we were building, all of the plumbers said go with Moen or Delta. I didn't listen and instead went with the lovely sigma fixtures. ALL of them have failed. I had 3 failures in the MBath before we even moved in! It took 18 mos after moving in before the powder room failed. The only sigma left in the house is in the Master shower and I just hope that doesn't burst as that is all in the wall and would mean new sheetrock.

Those that failed have been replaced with Moen.

I had a conversation with a fellow at Sigma who insisted there was nothing wrong with their plumbing fixtures and instead it was installation or misuse. As long as they continue with that attitude, they will never have a quality product.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Very disconcerting to read this as I'm getting ready to place an enormous order for all my NB fixtures tomorrow. (Almost $8k).

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 12:23PM
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Eden Manor

I would RUN away as fast as you can from Newport Brass! I can not begin to describe how horrible my experience with them has been. I spoke with our local Feeguson's and they pulled all the NB product from the displays due to the poor quality and lack of warranty from the powder room sink fiasco. They are mortified now that the shower temp balancing valve failed and destroyed my master bathroom and dining room. Our insurance company mentioned going after them for loss mitigation once my home is repaired.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:05PM
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Eden Manor - this should be more than disconcerting, this should be a HUGE red flag. You haven't placed the order yet so all that's lost is a bit of time working out substitutions which is far better than the potential scenarios post installation.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:24PM
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I am in the process of selecting my plumbing fixtures and was wondering if Rohl has a good reputation in customer service. I've selected a pretty pricey kitchen faucet from Rohl.


    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:44PM
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My Delta fixtures have been bomb-proof for years. Wonderful finish, flawless performance, very solid.

Where is "Newport Brass" located, and where are their fixtures manufactured? I know for a fact they aren't in Newport, RI. Are they in Newport, DE? Newport Beach, CA?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 9:26PM
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I'm interested in hearing thoughts on Rohl.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 10:32PM
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They're in California but I do not know where the fixtures are manufactured or assembled.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 2:40AM
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We put Rohl in our new master bath and so far I like them a lot. I researched and was satisfied with what I found. I did not think for the style and design it was out of range with Moen and Kohl. I had a Moen kitchen faucet and it started to leak after about two years. Although I got a new cartridge I still needed a plumber to install it and after weighing all the facts decided to put in a new faucet.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 4:45PM
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We've had Moen faucets in most of our houses for going on 30 years now. The thing about Moen - Of course, they send out a part to stop the leaks that start occurring at regular intervals about every 3-5 years - but that is part of their business model to being with. They have cheap parts on the interior, and send out replacement $.50 parts when people call in at regular intervals until they've had enough of the faucet. It should be well noted that the parts Moen sends out for repair decline in quality over the years as well. The last kitchen sprayer I received from them looked like something you'd see at the dollar store.

In the meantime, relatively new Moen owners keep saying that Moen stands by their product, which was cheaply built to begin with, so more people buy Moens. And on & on.

As far as finishes are concerned, I've found that the Moen chrome faucets stand up pretty well. My brushed nickel seems to have gotten very dull, both in the shower and lavatory faucets (no chemicals used on them ever). My Roman tub faucet looks practically brand new.

It's been about 3 years since we last renovated our bathroom and one of our Moen lavatory faucets now has a steady drip. The other, less used, is holding up.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2014 at 1:04PM
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