Q: There is a stain on the ceiling of my rec-room, located right below one of the upstairs bathrooms. Should I call in a plumber about this?
A: It is always best to first be your own super sleuth to try to find the reason. A majority of stains on the ceiling tend to be caused by over-wet floors or bad caulking, but not necessarily because of faulty plumbing.
If the bathroom has a shower, ensure it has a door or curtain that covers the entire opening. If there is water splashing at an end of an opening, it is best to move the showerhead or even install a plastic device that deflects most water (which can be easily found at any local home improvement store). Ask those who use the shower to be on the lookout for any excessive puddles of water on the bathroom’s floor. As well, check out the caulking that is around the bathtub or shower stall. If there is mildew, it could be time for you to recaulk that area. Remove any old caulking first and clean off the surface before putting a new layer of caulk down. If none of these options fix the situation, then you should phone a plumber.
Q: According to the plumber, my new toilet will cost $300 as well as installation costs. However, a home improvement store down the street has the same toilet for $230. Am I being ripped off by the plumber?
A: No, the plumber is most likely not trying to rip you off. Most of the time the fixtures a plumber purchases come from a plumbing supply store. The store provides wholesale contractor prices as well as retail prices. The plumber then purchases the plumbing fixture at the listed wholesale price but then turns around and sells it at the retail price. The difference in the price pays for the time the plumber spent finding, buying and then delivering the plumbing fixture. But the plumber will also absorb the costs if they purchase the wrong color or style.
Currently, home improvement centers are providing products that, at one point, were only available at these plumbing supply stores. The home improvement center chains purchase the fixtures in massive quantities and receive large discounts from the manufacturers and/or distributors. Some of these savings are passed right on to you, the customer. The prices at the center are lower than the retail price and lower than contractor prices as well.
Sometimes, the best way to save some money is to personally buy the plumbing fixtures and then just providing payment to the plumber to install them. However, if you opt to do this, make sure you purchase exactly what is needed or you might have wasted money on something the plumber is unable to install.
Daniel Argent is the Community Manager for TheHomeFixers.com, a site where contractors and homeowners can connect with each other and get some work done around the house! We make it easy to find the perfect Phoenix Plumber for your home improvement project.