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  #1  
Old 02-07-2014, 01:43 AM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is online now
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High quality bath/shower valve

Putting in a tile tub surround and valve. My client wants something really smooth and is willing to pay for it. I told her I thought the range would be $80 Home Despot models up to maybe $500 for the Bentley/BMW equivalent. I recall some seriously high quality units we put into high end homes back when I worked for the big companies but I don't recall the brands or models. I didn't install them, the plumbers did.

I've heard that some good units exist, with the feature of easy shut off and back on with the temp staying where it is. Most that I've used are so-so.

Any suggestions?

Anybody heard of or used this?:

Hansgrohe Metris S Thermostatic Trim w/Volume Control and Diverter
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Last edited by cmac2012; 02-07-2014 at 01:50 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-07-2014, 06:27 AM
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Coconutpete Coconutpete is offline
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I usually buy my stuff from plumbersurplus.com. The range is incredible. I was looking for a stainless steel sink for my friend the toher day. The range was $99 to over $2K.
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2014, 06:33 AM
Spike Holmes Spike Holmes is offline
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I don't remember the brand name but, I remember a shower in a high end home I worked on in Vegas. The stone walls made it look like a cave. There was 11 or 12 shower heads. About half of them were adjustable as far as having a pretty fair range of motion and direction. It had a couple of seats built into the wall as well. We didn't hardly ever do residential but, this guy wanted some really high end finishes both inside and out. You might try Architectural Digest or something similar. Good luck.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2014, 07:39 AM
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When you say "valve" do you literally mean the valve behind the wall or everything including the trim kit? Does the client want something that feels solid and well built but has the same function/features of the home depot models? (think closing a BMW door vs a KIA door). Or are they more interested in the latest bells/whistles? (Hyundai Genesis)

I've been through this a few times with my own house and subsequent remodels. I was looking for the BMW version, not really caring for some of the latest options. There are many quality brands (Newport Brass, Phylrich, California Faucets), options/finishes can be overwhelming. If you live in a larger city, there are undoubtedly showrooms where your client can feel the mechanisms and see the actual finishes. The costs vary a bunch (can go $1,000+), but they can decide what it's worth to them.

Of course none of this matters much if the valve is not secured behind the wall and the handle still feels flimsy (actual experience). Good luck.
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  #5  
Old 02-07-2014, 08:41 AM
Spike Holmes Spike Holmes is offline
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Google WaterWorks. We used them for a really high end club house just north of Ft Worth.
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  #6  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:00 PM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXPearl View Post
When you say "valve" do you literally mean the valve behind the wall or everything including the trim kit? Does the client want something that feels solid and well built but has the same function/features of the home depot models? (think closing a BMW door vs a KIA door). Or are they more interested in the latest bells/whistles? (Hyundai Genesis)

I've been through this a few times with my own house and subsequent remodels. I was looking for the BMW version, not really caring for some of the latest options. There are many quality brands (Newport Brass, Phylrich, California Faucets), options/finishes can be overwhelming. If you live in a larger city, there are undoubtedly showrooms where your client can feel the mechanisms and see the actual finishes. The costs vary a bunch (can go $1,000+), but they can decide what it's worth to them.

Of course none of this matters much if the valve is not secured behind the wall and the handle still feels flimsy (actual experience). Good luck.
The house is cute but it's no spring chicken. The tile around the tub has some goofy flower illustration in each corner and other cutesy nonsense. We're going to go with a sort of tumbled stone look, but still smooth enough to head off scum buildup. And the existing faucet/valve is just the old style two handle affair. I haven't ever touched that, could be funky inside, at any rate she said it takes her way too long to get temp she wants. And she likes to shut if off while soaping up to save water but the hassle in getting a comfy temp again cuts into any water savings.

I don't think she's fixated on maximum beauty in the trim, just something acceptable with high quality innards.

But you're right, we're going to the tile stores on Monday, I know a couple of decent showrooms, I'll see if there's something high end that I don't know about and we'll hit those too.
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  #7  
Old 02-07-2014, 02:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmac2012 View Post
The house is cute but it's no spring chicken. The tile around the tub has some goofy flower illustration in each corner and other cutesy nonsense. We're going to go with a sort of tumbled stone look, but still smooth enough to head off scum buildup. And the existing faucet/valve is just the old style two handle affair. I haven't ever touched that, could be funky inside, at any rate she said it takes her way too long to get temp she wants. And she likes to shut if off while soaping up to save water but the hassle in getting a comfy temp again cuts into any water savings.

I don't think she's fixated on maximum beauty in the trim, just something acceptable with high quality innards.

But you're right, we're going to the tile stores on Monday, I know a couple of decent showrooms, I'll see if there's something high end that I don't know about and we'll hit those too.
They make a single handle temp regulator with a separate flow valve - sounds like what she needs. Just leave the temp valve where you like and and turn flow on/off as needed.

I wasn't paying close attention because I didn't need that kind of setup, but I seem to recall these models are much more expensive than the traditional setup. From a financial perspective, probably overwhelms any $ savings on the cost of water, but maybe she has other motives for saving water.
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Old 02-07-2014, 03:28 PM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is online now
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Well, she lives in a nice part of Oakland which makes her almost one them Berkeleyians so I suspect her water concern is more eco than $$. And water is short around here these days. Raining today and last few, lightly, but it's rain and we're way behind.

Most of all, she wants something that does what she wants with a minimum of fuss.
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  #9  
Old 02-07-2014, 03:31 PM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Coconutpete View Post
I usually buy my stuff from plumbersurplus.com. The range is incredible. I was looking for a stainless steel sink for my friend the toher day. The range was $99 to over $2K.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spike Holmes View Post
Google WaterWorks. We used them for a really high end club house just north of Ft Worth.
Both sources good, thanks. I've got some reading ahead of me. Need to learn about the thermostatic valves and how user friendly various brands are.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2014, 08:35 PM
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Frank Rizzo Frank Rizzo is offline
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Are you looking for the "vertical spa" experience? Body sprays, shower head, handheld, etc...

Im a big Moen guy. The parts are easy to get and not exorbitant cost either. I did a Moen vertical spa in our new master bath in 2006 and it literally gets used twice a day since then with no problems. If you go with hansgroe or Newport, et al - you can't get parts easily and they change a LOT their repair stuff and IMHO it becomes obsolete quick. Imagine spending 3k on a valve that in 6 years you can't get parts for and the homeowner has to rip out your beautiful tile job to replace the valve body. Personally, i'd avoid the new electronic valves and stick with the tried and true regular valves.

A thermostatic shower valve is kind of like the thermostat in your house for the HVAC. It has an indexed knob with some sort of symbols like 1 to 10. if you find that you like the temp of "5" you set it there and forget it (unless you want to change it). There is a separate valve for volume. So the theory is that when you turn the shower on with the volume knob, it always goes to the same temp (assuming you have enough hot water) you have set. The cool thing is that it can save water because the volume knob can be set to a lower amount of water or shut off while soaping up (don't drop the soap if CaliJeff is around...oh wait...you are in Berkely ) and the temperature won't change when you turn it back on or up.

If you add a diverter valve on the output of the thermo valve, you can direct the water to various sources like body sprays, rain shower heads, handhelds, etc.

I did a Moen with Kinglesy trim in chrome wit ha 5 way diverter to a shower head, rainfall overhead, handheld, and 3 body sprays. It took me one full day to pipe everything in using copper. It should be easier now with PEX.

Make sure you have enough hot water. I can flow over 8GPM at full volume and kill my 60 gal pretty fast with my set up (i pull out the flow restrictors). I had to install a 2" floor drain to make sure I could keep up. Same goes for "jacuzzi" or soaking tubs. You are not going to fill one of those with a 50gal tank heater, it will be lukewarm at best because the tank will run out of hot water. They really need a dedicated tankless heater (BTW the ONLY good use for a tankless heater). Consider heating in the bathroom floor. Greatest thing ever. I put a steam shower in from Mr. Steam. We really like it. Get a good (panasonic) 100cfm or above exhaust fan and hook it up to an occupancy sensor so it always gets the moisture out of the room.

I like build.com. Bought lots of stuff from them. Great customer service. Fair prices. Get faucets to match the shower valve trim!

Moen info: http://www.build.com/sitefiles/moen/...sign_guide.pdf

763 is a great choice for a modest bathroom: http://www.faucetdirect.com/moen-vertical-spas/c4003

http://www.servicealley.com/blog/13-...om-remodeling/

Houzz.com has great ideas: http://www.houzz.com/Moen-vertical-spa-shower
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  #11  
Old 02-08-2014, 03:51 AM
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cmac2012 cmac2012 is online now
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Hey good stuff. I've gotten wind of hansgroe being hard on the repair and parts angle somewhere in the last day or so. And this bath is one of the PITAs - the other side of the wall with the valve is not a closet, it's the back outside wall. So yeah, reliability would be attractive.

She has a handheld now in a bracket which puts it up nice and high - she's about 5' 11" so wants it high. Pretty sure we're going to stick with that setup, no vertical spa stuff. It's not a large bathroom.

I'm more a carpenter than a plumber and I'm not too up on the thermostatic stuff - so there's a strictly manual sort, the type you recommend, and an electronic variant? I'm leaning to your POV on avoiding the electronic but I'm curious what and/or why the appeal of the electronic. What do they do? A dial elec. thermostat by chance?

And wait 8gpm?! WTH? How big is your water bill?
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  #12  
Old 02-08-2014, 08:35 AM
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Agree with everything you're saying about costs/reliability, Frank, but I just installed a Moen Kingsley. Replaced a Newport Brass valve that was working fine for 14 years but since we were remodeling... The Moen doesn't feel as rock solid as the NB valve. Everything behind the wall is firmly planted but the way the handle connects to the valve allows it to torque and bend a little when adjusting. Not a huge issue, but cmac you'll probably want your client to decide how important that kind of stuff is to her. I'll live with it (no way I'm pulling that valve out now) but it is noticeable to me.

Yeah, houzz.com is pretty cool. My wife has discovered it - could cost me a fortune.
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Old 02-08-2014, 04:08 PM
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Hi Franky :what:

Sent from a Galaxy that is held in my hand, so it's not that far away.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:50 PM
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Frank Rizzo Frank Rizzo is offline
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Hi Franky :what:

Sent from a Galaxy that is held in my hand, so it's not that far away.
sorry to bring this up...but that $20 you owe me?

.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:55 PM
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Frank Rizzo Frank Rizzo is offline
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Originally Posted by TXPearl View Post
Agree with everything you're saying about costs/reliability, Frank, but I just installed a Moen Kingsley. Replaced a Newport Brass valve that was working fine for 14 years but since we were remodeling... The Moen doesn't feel as rock solid as the NB valve. Everything behind the wall is firmly planted but the way the handle connects to the valve allows it to torque and bend a little when adjusting. Not a huge issue, but cmac you'll probably want your client to decide how important that kind of stuff is to her. I'll live with it (no way I'm pulling that valve out now) but it is noticeable to me.

Yeah, houzz.com is pretty cool. My wife has discovered it - could cost me a fortune.
+1

Good point.

My Moen Kingsley diverter valve has just enough slop to make you think. And it is strictly the way the handle connects to the valve. Not enough to make me want to pay extra for NB, but could have been better engineered.

No failures in 8 years tho....

.
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