Doing away with the plumbing contractors and taking a sledgehammer to your outdated bathroom yourself might sound like a good idea, but realistically, updating your bathroom is a process that requires a lot of thought and care. The issue is that the “fashionable” has to match the “utilitarian”. The trim has to match the valves inside the wall or it won’t function correctly. There is very little compatibility among different brands of plumbing valves and fixtures.
When you order your fashionable stuff, you must order the right valve for behind the wall plumbing valve that the fashionable stuff works with. And, it’s not the most obvious thing in the world to understand how to design a shower with different sprays and valves. You really have to know what you’re doing to not order the wrong thing and get stuck with not being able to return a $900 Italian tub faucet with side spray that you got the wrong valve for.
Part of what you pay licensed plumbing contractors for is the experience they bring to the project. Let them design your new bathroom to your specifications and then let them order everything. When you do that, you’ll have the actual install warrantied.
If you provide all the fixtures, you are the one that deals with the warranty issues. If that Koehler shower valve starts leaking behind the wall, if the plumber supplied it, he’s there to repair it. If you supplied it, he might be there repairing it, but it’s you that’s paying for the labor to fix it and you that has to send the defective fixture back to the company and wait on a new part to be installed.
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