Have you heard this before?

hehatemeApril 5, 2011

I am about to start finishing my basement. The GC I have selected has been good to work with so far.

We have an allowance and they asked us to go to a bathroom/electrical fixtures place. The place seemed nice. We chose a Kohler sink and delta faucet. For lights we were told to choose from catalogs if we did not like the lights in the showroom.

I haven't seen the quote yet but the person helping us told us that it will be list price for everything. The Kohler sink we chose had a list price of $577. Home Depot sells the same sink for $414. Amazon.com ships the same sink to my home for $389.

I told the GC that I want to buy it on my own. I got a push back. I was told that his plumber will not stand behind the product so there will be no warranty. I was also told that the items that Kohler sells to the big box retailers may have the same model number but their quality is not the same. I was told the their supplier will have sink that will have the same model number and brand but it will be of better quality.

I am having a hard time believing this. Have you heard this before. I don't like being lied to. If I had been told that builder would rather supply the fixtures I would have been fine. I was given allowances so I had assumed that I can buy from any place I want.

Let me know if you have heard anything like this.


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Not unusual at all. Many contractors have agreements with or have favorite suppliers. Often the contractor gets a deal on merchandise.

There is many stories of that model is not made as well as our model floating around. Once in a while, the story is true. Plastic parts are substituted for metal parts, or smaller motors are installed, things like that.

I cannot believe the sinks will be different at all. There really is no way to substitute materials, so only the finish could be different, and there is little reason for that.

Basically, tell your GC you understand his situation, but it is your job/money and if he cannot do it to your satisfaction, you will simply find a GC that will.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:20AM
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I agree with handymac as well.

I'd also suggest that you look at plumbingexpress.com for your sink and faucet needs. We have purchased a couple of Kohler sinks from them and they were the best price at the time...and wonderful customer service. I am not affiliated with that company - just a happy customer.

I would also caution you to check with Delta on the faucet you like to see if there are plastic parts in it. If there are, look for a faucet with all metal parts.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:35AM
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Frm things that contractors and the internet have told me, faucets are different. same faucet from Home Depot can be bought from other places and the inside parts are different. Lowes I've heard 50/50.

Sinks, I dunno, but I do know that certian brands make certian sinks just for Home Depot.

its a global world, just b/c it has a brand name on it, doesn't mean its the same quality or made anywhere near where other products from that brand are.

I'm doing a a remodel of my whole house now. I'm gettting all my faucets and sink from Faucetdirect.com. I started out using them b/c they had some good prices on the delta faucets I was looking at. I have since ordered the faucets, tub and shower faucets, my potfiller for the sink, and now just placed an order for my 3 toilets, kitchen sink and medicine cabinets.

they didn't have the best prices on the toilet or sink, but they did price match the lower prices which made me happy, since I'd rather deal with a store I know, than another two.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:11PM
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It is true that things made for big box stores are not identical to their "almost-the-same-exact-model-number" equivalents in small stores. That's part of the reason they're cheaper--it's not just because bigger stores can afford volume discounts or whatever. A sink is pretty straightforward, though; I'm not sure how different it can be or how much that can matter. The faucets, however, are another story--ones that are all metal in your local small store may have plastic internal parts in the Home Depot/Lowes/etc. version, and it's very hard, verging on impossible, to find that out.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:23PM
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Just remember that the manufacturer is the one issuing the warranty and is the one that will be doing any replacement if necessary. I would compare warrantys from the manufacturer and from where the GC wants to buy if they are the same, and there is no reason I know of that they should not be. Bottom line, it is your house and your money that is paying for everything, if some one does not want to do it your way then get some one that does!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:42PM
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write out an email and send it to delta, to kohler, and to any other manufacturer you think you might like to buy from. Make it simple. Ask about the parts quality for the apparently same model number at a retail outlet.

Later, in another email, ask about the warranty.

Emailing them forces them to respond. Don't waste your day on the phone calling their free numbers and listening to their people talk. Do that later if you get an evasive response by email and if you want to hear someone confirm there may be quality differences.

I emailed Moen once and the emailed response took several paragraphs to say basically that if I phoned them and referenced the number they gave me they would have more to say. That is a pretty broad hint. My email query to them did not concern the question posed above, it was about another situation.


    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:50AM
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I had the same situation with my former GC. I picked out my faucers, sinks, etc, and compared the plumbing fixture prices he gave me with what I could find on the Internet. I didn't bother with big box stores because of what folks posted above.

I found cheaper prices on every fixture. He said the same thing about the plumber not standing by the product. If the plumber supplies the part and there's something wrong with it, plumber has to deal with replacement or whatever. If YOU bought the part, you have to deal with it. My GC finally got sick of me asking him about this issue so he said I could find and manage my own plumber. But beware of this set up too. Many plumbers will charge you more for installing parts they didn't provide because they weren't getting their cut on buying the fixture. That seems like a scam to me, but you'd be surprised how many plumbers do this.

I'm my own GC now. Interviewed 6 plumbers and did find a few that wouldn't overcharge their labor for using my fixtures. It only seems fair to pay for the part and then pay for the install separately.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:38AM
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A GC should tell you to ask the supplier for his discount if he is leading you there. If there are problems and the place is local that can be a help. All places these days will offer discounts. One supplier we used had prices just a very few dollars off faucetdirect.com but for my next bath I may consider them because I have only heard positive raves thus far about faucetdirect.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 7:44AM
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I've remodeled two baths and a kitchen. I buy all my own components - lights, faucets, sinks, toilets, appliances, etc.

All have been purchased online. Believe it or not I can get a Toto toilet shipped to Mpls, cheaper than I can buy one locally. Additionally, the local suppliers have to order most of the stuff anyway (seems nobody has much of an inventory.) When I order it, I know it's been ordered and it'll be right.

I have been pleased with my Faucet Direct purchases. We have really been pleased with our Grohe faucets. Not cheap, but the one in the laundry room is 15 yrs old, and it works like the day I installed it.

The manufacturer warrants the goods - not the installer. I don't know of any installer that gives a written warranty.

Get a plumber that will give a fixed price bid to do the work.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 1:33PM
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A little info about pricing materials and labor.

In the pricing wars, any time a business can quote a less expensive price, that gives them an advantage.

However, all businesses operate on the same basic principles to make a desired profit. They all have to make the same basic profit, no matter what they charge for materials or labor.

So, when you buy a faucet from Lowe's/HD/Ace Hardware/Mom's Corner Plumbing Supply, they have to make a set percentage of profit. That profit pays taxes/insurance/salaries/medical benefits/utilities/maintenance/and a lot more things.

To sell a faucet, the business has to be comparable with prticing from mother businesses in their area.

Now, a plumbing company has all the above costs to supply a faucet with the added expense of time involved to get and deliver the faucet to the job.

Now comes labor. In many cases, pricing labor has become a matter of who can lie the most convincingly. At best, when done honestly, the bid has to include unknowns. Alnd, if the company installing the faucet did not make any profit on the faucet, all of their profit has to come from the labor.

I have actually lost bids because mine were too low. And the reason mine were too low was because I did not mark up materials(charged an hourly or flat selection/delivery fee if I got the materials). I mandated people buy their own materials. Many folks did not want the 'hassle' of picking their own stuff.

And, since I did not need a living wage from the business, my labor rates were lower and several folks told me I had to be less competent that other tradespersons who charged more.

Another side to the 'We supply material and install' versus 'I want to buy what I choose and you install' is that many brands are not installed the same way. Bathtubs/shower surrounds/sinks all can have huge differences in size and installation specific details. Getting ons small thing wrong can make a huge headache for the installer.

So, there are many reasons for the actions of companies who refuse to use/install customer supplied material.

I know of a local builder who was hired to build a hopuse for the owner of a new Home Depot business. That home owner specified the builder NOT use HD for materials and parts, but to use his established suppliers.

Did that cosat the owner more---had to have. But, he knew the resulting house would be better built.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2011 at 2:03PM
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