You’re too Poor to Buy Cheap Plumbing

May 2, 2019

You’re too poor to buy cheap plumbing, no that is not a typo. What exactly does that mean then? Simply put, cutting corners on labor/installation or investing in cheaper plumbing products could actually cost you much more in the long run than making the investment in doing it right the first time. My favorite analogy is with shoes as that is where I first heard the saying, “you’re too poor to buy cheap shoes.” I have a pair of $700 Italian handmade dress shoes that I bought 9 years ago which I still wear to this day. They still look as sharp as the day I bought them and are actually more comfortable now that the leather has molded to my foot. Then I thought about how many $100+ dress shoes I have bought in the last 9 years and the total I spent compared to my Italian handmade shoes was more than double. Not to mention, none of those cheaper shoes could even compare in style and comfort.

The same theory and approach can be applied to any size plumbing project with special attention to detail. The most critical factors are: product selection and installation process. Both require extensive knowledge and expertise in both areas while adding service maintenance as a footnote to ensure longevity. When explaining value to a potential client, I keep it simple with, “you get exactly what you pay for.” Not to worry, clients working on a tight budget can still attain the dream of living with quality plumbing with a practical and pragmatic approach. Finding the right professional(s) to work with will help adhere to the key factors of product selection and installation process. Let’s take a look at how this all applies.

Purchasing Expensive Product, Hiring Cheap Labor

Imagine this, a client purchases $30,000+ worth of imported plumbing product in a special order finish (aged brass) then hires a handyman (with minimal experience installing decorative plumbing). What do you think the end of this story is? The client ended up with numerous installation issues. Rough in shower valves installed at the wrong depth, the drain outlets were not plumbed correctly for the decorative drains, etc…The end of the story is that the client had to spend more money on parts and extension kits to correct these issues and not to mention more money on labor to get it installed correctly. An attempt to cut corners on labor costs gone horribly wrong and resulted in costing more money then if done correctly the first time. The worst part about this story? It is 100% true and is more common than you think. Attention to detail in design, planning and labor installation are critical. Whoever is assigned to designing the project should have extensive knowledge on which products best fit the project in function and aesthetic. In addition, the installer should have attention to detail on requiring components, precise measurements and the skill to install correctly. Even better when the designer and the installer communicate well throughout the process to ensure everything goes to plan.

Purchasing a “Look”, not Product Integrity

Online shopping is just fantastic. How can anyone deny the excitement they get when they come home to 3 Amazon boxes at their door after ordering 2 nights ago in bed from their iPhone. I can’t, I love it. The caveat is, plumbing is just so different and unique. You can’t just purchase a look because again the online savings will mean absolutely nothing compared to the costs associated with correcting mistakes or replacing a faulty product. Product integrity in plumbing is so critical from the plating process, quality of the brass or material, quality of parts, availability of parts, mounting hardware…and so on. Unfortunately, it is really easy to be fooled by products that look good online, or even in person but do not uphold high quality standards on the inside. Not to mention, purchasing a plumbing product online usually no one has any idea where that product came from and the warranty can even be void. A professional designer or showroom consultant will know how to help you navigate through the endless maze of products to what is best suited for your project.


Be a well informed consumer going into any project big or small. Seek advice from professionals and just keep in mind that you want to envision your next plumbing project lasting for the next 15-20 years or even longer. Product selection and installation process are the key factors here and not executing on one of those may end up costing you much more. Here at Lutz Plumbing Inc., we have a unique business structure of having in depth technical plumbing knowledge and decorative plumbing product access.