Graff Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 11/15/23 Best Value Logo Our panel of consu­mers and industry pro­fes­sion­als has rec­ognized Graff fau­cets as a Best Val­ue in Luxury fau­cets made or assembled in Eur­ope. Read the Best Fau­­cet Val­ue Re­port for more in­for­ma­tion.

Summary
Imported
Poland Flag
Poland
Graff Faucets Co.
3701 W. Burnham St.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
(800) 954-4723
customersupport@graff-designs.com
techsupport@graff-designs.com
Rating
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
Certifications
Brands
Graff
Street Price
$55 - $3,800
Warranty Score
Cartridge
lifetime1
Finishes
Various2
Mechanical Parts
Lifetime
Proof of Purchase
Required
Transferable
No
Meets Federal Warranty
Law Requirements
No
Footnotes:
1. Graff fau­cets are warranted to the original purchaser "to be free from defects in materials and workmanship for the lifetime of the product."
2. Finishes are guaranteed for anywhere from "a limited lifetime" to no warranty at all, depending on the finish. See below for more information.
Download/Read'Print the Graff faucet warranty.
Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Graff Faucets is a subsidiary of Mer­id­ian In­ter­na­tion­al Group, Inc., a family of related companies involved in metalworking and finishing.
It sells high-quality Fau­cets manufactured in Poland.
A quiet company, Graff rarely advertises but simply makes exceptional products and waits for the world to notice.
The company guarantees the mechanical parts of its fau­cets for the lifetime of the product. Some of its finishes are also warranted for a lifetime, but some are warranted for as little as one year, and some not at all.
The company's written warranty on faucets is poorly written and confusing to the average consumer. It violates several provisions of the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308), the federal law that dictates the form and content of consumer product warranties in the United States.
Customer and technical service is excellent and award-winning.

Graff Faucets Co. is the marketing and distribution arm of Milwaukee-based Meridian International Group, Inc., a privately owned group of related companies involved in the casting, machining, and finishing of metal products founded in 1991.

Other members of the group include

The Company

Graff Faucets Co. was incorporated in Wisconsin under its present name in 2002. It is directed by Zbigniew Ludwik (Ziggy) Kulig, its CEO, a migrant to the U.S. from Poland in the 1970s.

Graff designs and distributes but does not manufacture its fau­cets. They are made by Valvex, S.A. and imported from Poland.

Valvex has been in the metal fabrication business since 1922. It became part of the Meridian International Group after a major investment in the company in 1994.[1][2]

Valvex has received ISO 9001 certification of its quality management and ISO 14001 certification of its"green" manufacturing.

Faucet Construction

Graffs fau­cets are well-built and substantial, intended to last a very long time.

Their construction is conventional in which the decorative elements of the fau­cet, body and spout, are also the parts that channel water. Except in its wall-mounted fau­cets, Valvex does not use core and shell[3] construction.

Core and shell is an approach to manufacturing fau­cets in which the core element channels water separately from the body and spout which then become simply a decorative shell hiding the inner workings of the fau­cet.

Core and shell has always been used to manufacture wall-mounted fau­cets in which the valve that controls water flow is hidden in the wall. Trim, installed over the valve gives the fau­cet its appearance and hides the valve.

Faucet Components

Graff's primary fau­cet material is certified lead-free brass. However, some components of its fau­cets that are not under water pressure and do not need the strength of brass are made of zinc or a zinc/aluminum alloy. These may include base plates, handles, and .

Components not in contact with water may also be made of ordinary leaded brass. So long as leaded brass does not touch water, it is legal to use in faucet construction.

Kitchen Faucet Sprays

Some parts are plastic.

All mixing cartridges for single-handle fau­cets and most aerators are plastic. It is no longer possible to find these components in any material except plastic. The material does not seem to be a problem in cartridges or aerators.

Plastic in kitchen spray heads can be an issue, however.

Plastic spray heads ("wands" in fau­cet-speak) are becoming increasingly common even in upscale kit­chen fau­cets like Unlike metal wands, they do not get hot in use, and they are much less expensive to manufacture.

Un­for­tun­ate­ly, they are also much more prone to failure and in a luxury fau­cet may seem to buyers expecting the heft and weight of a metal wand to be an unexpected cheapening of the product.

According to a company source, all Graff side sprays are still metal as are pullout and pulldown sprays in the Bolero, Conical, Oscar, Perfeque, and Sospire collections.

Metal Wands
Other companies that still use metal wands include
If you prefer a metal wand, contact customer support to confirm the wand's materials before buying a fau­cet. Graff, like all faucet companies, changes how it manufactures faucets from time to time. A metal wand as of the date of this report may have been changed to plastic.
Valves and Cartridges

Our inspection of the Graff fau­cets we acquired for testing confirmed that cartridges from Kerox Kft are used in some of Graff's single-handle fau­cets.

Buying Rule for Smart Faucet Buyers

The Faucet Cartridge

Never buy a fau­cet unless you know who made the cartridge.

Its cartridge is the most critical part of a fau­cet. It is the component that actually controls water flow. Without a working cartridge, a fau­cet is no longer a fau­cet.

Companies that use good-quality cartridges in their fau­cets usually disclose the cartridge source on their websites. Those that don't will happily identify the cartridge in a call to customer service.

If the company refuses to reveal the sources of its cartridges (because it is a "trade secret"), you can confidently assume it is not one of the better brands.

For more information about fau­cet valves and cartridges and the companies that make cartridges known to be reliable, see fau­cet Valves & Cartridges.

Kerox is generally considered one of the best ceramics manufacturers, and a frequent choice in cartridges for upscale European fau­cets.

Faucet companies that incorporate this cartridge in their fau­cets are simply too numerous to list, but they include noteworthy brands such as

Other Graff fau­cets that we examined were fitted with cartridges from Hain-Yo Enterprises Co., Ltd., a Taiwanese technical ceramics manufacturer of some pretty good cartridges.

Hain-Yo cartridges are also used in

These are not considered as reliable as first-tier cartridges made by companies such as Kerox, but the difference is probably not substantial. The cartridges should provide years of leak-free service.

Valve and Cartridge Testing

Kerox and Hain-Yo have both been tested and certified to all applicable North Amer­i­can standards which means they passed a lot of tests.

The two most important are the life-cycle and burst tests.

The standard life-cycle stress test in North America requires operating a cartridge through 500,000 cycles under 60 psi of water pressure without a single failure.

The test simulates 70 years of average use home kitchen or bath. At one cycle per second, it takes six 24-hour days to complete. If the cartridge does not last through the 500,000 cycles, it fails the test.

The burst test simulates a severe water pressure surge – a massive surge you are unlikely to ever experience in a domestic water system. It involves pressurizing the cartridge to 500 pounds per square inch for one minute. This is ten times the average water pressure in a North American home. If the cartridge bursts or deforms, it fails the test.

If the cartridge passes both of these tests and several others, it is certified for use in U.S./Canadian fau­cets.

Most Graff two-handle fau­cets are fitted with a brass 1/2" quarter-turn ceramic stem cartridge, easily the most common size of stem cartridge used in fau­cets.

According to Graff, Valvex makes its stem cartridges in-house. The Valvex website, however, indicates that while it makes pressure relief valves for central heating radiators, various stop valves for water systems, and thermostatic valves for showers, it does not show stem valves for faucets as being among its products.

Fau­cet manufacturing companies rarely manufacture their own cartridges. They buy from outside suppliers.

Aerators

Neoperl® supplies most of the used in Graff fau­cets. However, fau­cets with pull-down sprays appear to be equipped with aerators from Amfag S.r.l., a company manufacturing in Casaloldo, Italy. Amfag is Neoperl's leading competition in Europe. Both products are at about the same level of quality and endurance.

Faucet aerators used to be simple devices, often no more than a few layers of fine-mesh window screen, that merely infused a little air to soften the water stream so it would not splash out of the sink.

Today, however, they are precision products used to shape the stream of water, limit water volume to the lower flows required by federal and state water conservation laws, and in fau­cets with pull-out sprays, to prevent back-flow that could contaminate household drinking water.

It is important that these be the best available, and with Neoperl and Amfag, Graff has two of the best.

Graff Faucet Design

The fau­cets are gathered into two broad collections.

The Traditional group includes fau­cets in traditional and transitional styles. These fau­cets are stylish but conservative, reflecting conventional American designs, many of which have been around in one form or another for over a century.

The Contemporary group is designed by Graff's affiliated G+ Design Studio in Athens, designers of Graff's MOD+ collection, and several well-known extra-mural product designers contracted by the company, including

Graff Finishes

Finish Name Finish Type War­ranty
An­tique Brass Image Not Found PVD Life­time
Archi­tect­ural Black Architectural Black Powder Coated 3 years
Archi­tect­ural White Architectural White Powder Coated 3 years
Brushed Brass PVD Brushed Brass PVD Life­time
Brushed Rose Gold PVD Brushed Copper PVD Life­time
Brushed Gold (24K) Pol­ished Gold Electr­plated 1 Year
Brushed Gold PVD® Brushed Gold PVD Life­time
Brushed Nickel® Brushed Nickel Electro­plated 5 years
Brushed Nickel PVD® Brushed Nickel PVD Life­time
Brushed Onyx Brushed Nickel PVD Life­time
Brushed Rus­tic Brass® Brushed Rustic Brass Unknown Omitted*
Brushed Tus­can Bronze PVD® Brushed Tuscan Bronze PVD Life­time (as Brushed Rus­tic Bronze)
Gun­metal Dis­tressed Gunmetal Distressed Living Finish Omitted*
Gun­metal PVD® Gunmetal PVD Life­time
Matte Black Matte Black Powder Coated 3 Years
Olive Bronze Olive Bronze Powder Coated 3 Years
Onyx PVD Onyx PVD Life­time
OR'osa OR'osa Powder Coated Omitted*
Pol­ished Brass PVD Pol­ished Brass PVD Life­time
Pol­ished Chrome Pol­ished Chrome Electro­plated Life­time
Polished Copper/ Rose Gold PVD Polished Copper PVD Omitted*
Polished Gold (Plated (24K) Pol­ished Gold Electr­plated 1 Year
Pol­ished Gold PVD® Pol­ished Gold PVD Life­time
Pol­ished Nickel Pol­ished Nickel Electro­plated 5 Years
Pol­ished Nickel PVD® Polished Nicke PVD PVD Life­time
Polished Rus­tic Brass® Polished Rustic Brass Unknown Omitted*
Pol­ished Tus­can Bronze PVD® Polished Tuscan Bronze PVD Life­time (as Polished Rus­tic Bronze)
Sa­tin Gold PVD® Pol­ished Gold PVD Life­time
Steelnox® Satin Nickel Steelnox Powder Coated with Hydronic Overcoat 3 Years
Un­finished Brass Unfinished Brass Living Finish None
Un­finished Brushed Brass Unfinished Brushed Brass Living Finish None
Vintage Brushed Brass Vintage Brushed Brass Lacquer 2 Years
Warm Bronze PVD® Warm Bronze PVD Omitted*
* Appearing on the company website as available finishes but not included in the Graff written warranty.

These products are designed specifically for Graff. Some of the designs are award-winning.

In addition to its fau­cets, showers, and accessories, Graff also offers bathroom furniture, tubs, and sinks in its Contemporary collections.

The sinks and tubs are made by Marmorin SP Z O. O. in Wschowa, Poland. Marmorin also manufactures sinks and tubs for Most furniture is imported from Tap Grafiche in Italy.

Graff Finishes

The Graff finish chart shows 29 fau­cet finishes. Searching through Graff's fau­cet listings and retailer websites, however, we found four more for a total of 33.

The standard is polished chrome, of course, but fau­cets are also available in several nickels, including Steelnox® (a satin nickel or stainless steel look-alike) and several bronzes, as well as two blacks, a white, several golds and brasses, two onyxes, and a gray finish the company calls Gun­met­al, which comes in two flavors, plain and distressed.

A few finishes are special orders and may take up to eight weeks to deliver. Some, but not all, finishes other than chrome, raise the price of the fau­cet. A 24k gold finish is likely to double the price.

Grraff has changed the name of two finishes: Bushed Rustic Bronze and Polished Rustic Bronze are now Brushed and Polished Tuscany Bronze – a change likely to cause some confusion until the company's warranty is amended to reflect the new names (See more below).

Brushed Rustic Brass and Polished Rustic Brass are finishes that no longer appear on the company website and are apparently being phased out, but we found the finishes in the inventories of some of Graff's retailers.

Polished and Brushed Copper are also called Polished and Brushed Rose Gold, and sometimes referred to as Copper/Rose Gold. We counted each finish as one, not two finishes.

Some faucets like the Segovia kitchen faucet, are available in a for novel and interesting effects. Evidently, any Graff finish can be combined with any other Graff finish to produce a split finish although a few combinations would be incredibly ugly. Faicets in two collections, Mod+ and Vignola can be trimmed in an immitation marble.

Most if not all split finishes are special orders. We did not count split finishes in the total. Had we done so, we would be looking about 1,400 total finishes and finish combinations.

Safe to say that the company probably has at least one finish or finish combination to suit any decor.

Electroplating

Pol­ished Chrome, Brushed gold, Brushed Nick­el, Pol­ished Gold, and Pol­ished Nick­el, are the company's sole remaining finishes.

All except Pol­ished Chrome have a PVD analog (Brushed Gold PVd, Pol­ished Gold PVD, Brushed Nick­el PVD, and Pol­ished Nick­el PVD.) We suspect without knowing for certain, that the electroplate versions will be phased out over time.

Elec­troplat­ing is the well-established traditional way of finishing fau­cets that has been around nearly since fau­cets were invented.

Plating involves immersing the fau­cet and the metal to be used as the finish in an acid bath, then applying an electrical charge to both objects so metallic ions are drawn from the plating metal to the fau­cet.

The process is inherently dangerous, involving very corrosive acid solutions, and the resulting waste products are hazardous to the environment if not disposed of properly.

Powder Coats

Ar­chi­tec­tur­al White, Ar­chi­tec­tur­al Black, Gun­me­tal Dis­tressed, Matte Black, Olive Bronze, and Steel­nox are .

A powder coat is essentially a paint in powder form applied using a special low-velocity spray gun that disperses the powder while giving it a positive electrical charge. The powder is drawn to the fau­cets to be finished which have been given a negative charge.

After spraying, the coated fau­cets are baked in a low-temperature oven which melts and bonds the powder and changes the structure of the coating into long, cross-linked molecular chains.

These chains are what give the coating its durability, reducing the risk of scratches, chipping, abrasions, corrosion, fading, and other wear issues.

A powder coat is the traditional technology used to give fau­cets a painted finish.

Powder coatings are considered at most "semi-durable" – not as robust as electroplated or PVD finishes and requiring more care to maintain a like-new appearance.

For that reason, some fau­cet companies are replacing powder coats with (TFC) coatings. Originally formulated to finish firearms and hard-use military field equipment, TFC is a much more durable finish, comparable in some respects to PVD finishes.

The most frequent source of damage to powder coatings is over-aggressive cleaning, so Graff's detailed care instructions should be closely followed.

Liquid Coatings

Vintage Brushed Brass is native brass given a semi-transparent coating that protects the brass from tarnish and gives it an antique patina.

Graff does not identify the type of coating but is likely a synthetic lacquer.

The Steelnox® finish is coated with a hydrophobic barrier. Graff's literature raves about its features and advantages but never quite gets around to explaning exactly what it is. Most probably it is an oxide polystyrene composite that repels water due to its particular surface structure. Because water cannot stick to the surface, the coating eliminates water spots.

Liquid top coats, like powder coatings, are at best semi-durable and need to be treated with some care. Their relative fragility is illustrated by Graff's skimpy two-year guarantee of Vintage Brushed Brass finishes and three years on Steelnox®.

Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD)

The company has recently upgraded its finish technology. Many finishes formerly available as electroplated or relatively fragile powder coatings are now the more durable finishes. The conversion to PVD finishes is complete for its kitchen faucets and targeted for its bathroom faucets in 2024, at which time we will probably see many remaining electroplated and powder-coated finishes fall off the finish chart.

To watch fau­cet components being given their PVD finishes, check out this brief video. Be aware that it is very noisy, so you might want to turn down the volume on your player.

To create a PVD finish, a chamber is loaded with unfinished fau­cet components. All the air is removed and a carefully calculated mix of nitrogen and reactive gases is added back.

The metal to be used as the finish – usually chromium, titanium, or zirconium – is heated to a temperature so high that it dissolves into a cloud of individual atoms that are bombarded onto the fau­cet parts.

The atoms are deposited in a very thin layer 2 to 5 microns (.00008-.0002") thick – less than 1/20th the thickness of a human hair – but because the coating bonds to the fau­cet at an atomic level, the finish is dense and very hard.

In abrasion tests, PVD finishes were found to be 10 to 20 times more scratch-resistant than the old standard: electroplated chrome.

Different finish colors and effects are possible by using different metals and varying the mix of reactive gases.

Graff's PVD brasses and golds, for example, can be created using a titanium alloy as the coating metal with nitrogen gas. Titanium is a dull gray metal, but combining it with nitrogen in a PVD chamber creates a brass-look finish.

Adding a little methane to the mix reddens the color, producing a finish similar to Graff's OR'osa or Rose Gold finishes. Adding a little acetylene darkens the finish to create Antique Brass.

Living Finishes

Gunmetal Distressed and unfinished brasses are . They are intended to change over time as the surface oxidizes and reacts to its environment, developing a patina of age and use.

Unfinished brasses, for example, will tarnish, turning that familiar warm brown of untended brass. Gunmetal Distressed will become even more distressed with age and use.

If you are contemplating one of these finishes, just keep in mind that the finish you see when the fau­cet is first installed is not the finish you will see a few months later. The changes are normal and expected and not a finish defect.

If you don't want your finish to change over time, do not select a living finish.

For more information on the types of fau­cet finishes and their advantages and drawbacks, see Faucet Basics, Part 5: Faucet Finishes.

The Graff Warranty

Graff is a company that seems to do almost everything right. But, when it comes to its warranty its usual focus on quality seems to have gone away.

A warranty is nothing more than a promise by the company that its fau­cet will work as expected for a time. The better the fau­cet, the longer the time, and the longer and stronger the company's guarantee.

A good fau­cet will work for a lifetime and beyond. And, at one time Graff warranted its fau­cets to be free from defects in materials and workmanship, including cartridges and all finishes, for the "lifetime of the product".

But that warranty now applies only to "mechanical parts and ceramic disc cartridges." The company has backed away from a life-of-the-product warranty on some of its finishes.

Graff's Finish Warranties

Finishes that are covered by the warranty are listed by name in the warranty document.

Graff's Finish Warranties
Warranty DurationFinish
Life­time[1]
Antique Brass PVD[2]
Brushed BrassPVD
Brushed Gold PVD
Brushed Nickel PVD
Brushed Onyx PVD
Brushed Copper/Rose Gold PVD
Brushed Rustic Bronze PVD[3]
Gunmetal PVD
Onyx PVD
Polished Brass PVD
Polished Chrome
Polished Copper/Rose Gold PVD
Polished Gold PVD
Polished Nickel PVD
Polished Rustic Bronze PVD[3]
Satin Gold PVD
5 Years
Brushed Nickel
Polished Nickel
3 Years
Architectural Black
Architectural White
Matte Black
Olive Bronze
Steelnox®(Satin Nickel)
2 Years
Vintage Brushed Brass
1 Year
Brushed Gold (24K)
Polished Gold (24K)
None
Unfinished Brass
Unfinished Brushed Brass
1. The term "lifetime" is undefined. See the main text for more information.
2. Polished Rustic Bronze and Brushed Rustic Bronze have been renamed to Polished Tuscan Bronze and Brushed Tuscan Bronze
3. Antique Brass is not in Graff's Finish Chart and may have been discontinued.
Gunmetal Distressed, OR'osa and Warm Bronze finishes are in Graff's Finish Chart but not in its list of guaranteed faucet finishes. We have to assume, therefore, that they have no warranty.

Sixteen finishes, all PVD except electroplated Polished Chrome, are protected by a "lifetime" warranty. The term "lifetime" is, however, undefined so it is unknown how long the warranty actually lasts (See more below).

Two of Graff's living finishes, Unfinished Brass and Unfinished Brushed Brass, are listed as having no warranty.

The remaining finishes have 1-, 2-, and 3-year warranties.

Three of Graff's current finishes, Gunmetal Distressed, OR'osa, and Warm Bronze, are not listed in the warranty. We have no idea of the duration of the warranty on these finishes or whether they even have a warranty.

Steelnox®, Architectural Black, and Architectural White were covered by a lifetime warranty in the recent past. They have been demoted to a 3-year coverage in the current warranty.

The exceptions to lifetime coverage cost the company points in its warranty scoring (See more below). The sad part, however, is that with a better-written warranty, the exceptions would not be necessary.

All fau­cet finishes can and should be guaranteed against manufacturing defects (and only manufacturing defects) for the life of the fau­cet.

Defects such as blistering, delamination, peeling, spalling, and other failures of adhesion are compelling evidence of a problem with the finishing process at the factory. They are extremely rare. When they do occur, they are usually caught at inspection and seldom see daylight.

Graff's finish warranties seem focused on protecting the company from liability for color and texture changes. This can be done in a lifetime finish warranty by simply excluding ordinary and expected color and texture changes from warranty coverage.

Some finishes, particularly powder coats, tend to fade with exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. This is especially true of the darker hues. (Graff says its powder coats do not fade. Well, maybe, but, if so, why the short-term warranty?)

Some fading is normal and considered ordinary wear and tear. Typically it occurs so slowly that it is unnoticed. Abrupt color changes are very rare and almost always due to careless cleaning. Careless cleaning is never covered by a warranty.

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers

Warranty

Never buy a fau­cet unless you have carefully read and understand the fau­cet's warranty. It tells you more than the company wants you to know about management's true opinion of the durability and life expectancy of the fau­cets it sells.

Learn how to interpret fau­cet warranties at Fau­cet Bas­ics, Part 6: Un­der­stand­ing Fau­cet Waru­rant­ies.

Learn how to enforce your warranty with step-by-step instructions at The Warranty Game: Enforcing Your Product Warranty.

Model Life­time Warranty: For an example of a warranty that avoids Graff's drafting problems and complies with the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act, download and read our Model Limited Life­time Warranty.

Graff's Warranty Problems

In addition to our concerns about the company's ill-considered limitations on its finish warranties, the warranty document itself is problematic.

It is poorly drafted, repetitive, unclear and ambiguous in parts, and illegal in others.

We found multiple violations of the Mag­nu­son-Moss War­ranty Act (15 U.S.C. §2308), the federal law that sets the rules for consumer product warranties in the United States.

We have criticized the document repeatedly in past reports, and Graff has made several changes. But it is still woefully inadequate and far from the "simple and readily understood" warranty statement required by Mag­nu­son-Moss.

It is doubtful that a lawyer wrote the warranty. But if so, he or she urgently needs a refresher in both legal drafting and warranty law.

More likely, however, it is a cut-and-paste effort, cobbled together by someone with limited or no legal training.

Redundant Statements

The lack of legal training is evident in the multiple redundancies in the document.

Redundant provisions are unnecessary. Anything that needs to be said needs to be said only once.

A provision does not get any clearer, stronger, more convincing, or more certain through repetition.

Here is an example:

"This warranty does not cover items sold for display purposes or as is …"

But in case you missed it the first time, a few paragraphs later, the warranty states:

"GRAFF's warranty does not cover items sold for display purposes or as is."

Got it now?

Here's another example.

"At GRAFF's discretion, we require any and all products to be returned to GRAFF for evaluation for any claims and/or defects."

In case that is not already perfectly clear, the warranty provides a few lines farther down that

"GRAFF reserves the right to require any part deemed as defective to be returned to our US headquarters for inspection prior to replacement parts being issued."

Both provisions say the same thing using different words.

Let's try combining the two statements.

"GRAFF, at its discretion, may require products or parts to be returned to GRAFF for inspection and evaluation."

That's all that is required. Simple, isn't it? Anything more is just excess verbiage.

Omitted Terms

Redundancy is not the only drafting problem, however. Some needed language is entirely omitted.

For example, the Graff warranty on cartridges is for the "lifetime of the product." It is extended only to the original owner and cannot be transferred. Any subsequent owner does not inherit the Graff warranty.

It certainly seems like Graff has covered all the bases. But has it?

Here's the problem. The warranty does not end once the original owner no longer owns the faucet.

According to the warranty document, only two events terminate the Graff warranty. These are:

  1. The original owner dies or
  1. The faucet reaches the end of its lifespan.

If the original owner, Bob, sells his house to cousin Nell and the Graff fau­cet with it, he still has his warranty. The lifetime of the product is not over yet and Bob is still alive, so the warranty remains in force.

If Nell has leak in the cartridge a year after the house sale, she cannot claim under the warranty. Nell does not have a warranty. But, Bob does and can claim on her behalf . Graff would be bound to honor the claim.

Instead of

"This warranty is limited solely to the original purchaser, and is non-transferable."

the warranty needs to say:

"This warranty is limited solely to the original purchaser for as long as the original purchaser owns the product, and is non-transferable."

With this language, the events that terminate the warranty are:

  1. The original owner ceases to own the faucet (which will happen when the faucet is transferred or the owner dies, whichever occurs first.)
  1. The faucet reaches the end of its lifespan.
Ambiguous "Lifetime"

The Graff warranty lists sixteen faucet finishes as having a "Limited lifetime" warranty but it never gets around to explaining what is meant by "lifetime."

Exactly what "lifetime" is being referred to?

There are several possibilities. The life of the faucet. The life of the buyer. Perhaps, the life of the company.

Without knowing the lifetime referred to, it is not possible to know the event that actually ends the warranty and that violates the "certaity" required by Mag­nu­son-Moss.

By contrast, the duration of Graff's warranty against defects in materials or workmanship is very certain. It lasts for the "life of the product" and ends when the faucet ends. Are these finishes also guaranteed for the life of the product? If so, why not say so?

Defining "Lifetime"

Courts have repeatedly warned that the term "lifetime" in a warranty is not self-defining. It must be explained whenever it is used, so it is clear to a buyer when the warranty ends. The Federal Trade Commission's rules on the use of the words "life" or "lifetime" in a warranty require disclosure "with such clarity and prominence as will be noticed and understood by prospective purchasers, the life to which the representation refers." (16 CFR § 239.4)

Lifetime" standing alone without an explanation has no certain legal meaning. It is ambiguous.

Ambiguities in a warranty are resolved using the legal rule of Contra Proferentum which holds any ambiguous wording against the writer. This means that in court the consumer will get the longest "lifetime" that is reasonable under the circumstances. Probably not the "life of the universe," but something close.

Clueless "Voiding"

Here is another ill-considered provision. This one is truly goofy:

"Improper maintenance and cleaning of fixtures with abrasive or corrosive chemical cleaners will void this warranty."

What Graff is apparently trying to convey is that damage caused by maintenance or cleaning not in accordance with its care and cleaning instructions is not covered by its warranty. Fair enough. And that's what the warranty should say. But, that's not what it does say.

What it does say is that if you improperly clean your Graff fau­cet on Monday (whether or not the improper cleaning does any actual harm), then your valve cartridge fails on Tuesday causing a massive leak, the leak is not under warranty.

Why?

Because the warranty ended on Monday.

When you improperly cleaned your fau­cet, the warranty became void that very instant. Void means exactly what you think it means. The warranty is over, gone, terminated, finished, ended, kaputt, history.

So, on Tuesday you have no warranty and the leaking cartridge is your problem and yours alone.

Unskilled writers of product warranties tend to use the word "void" much too loosely without fully comprehending its legal impact.

This is a sterling example of a clueless use of the word.

Illegal "Tie-In"

Here's another:

"Warranty will be void if [the product] has been … previously repaired using replacement parts other than genuine GRAFF parts …

Once again the word "void" is improvidently used but, more importantly, this provision violates the Mag­nu­son-Moss ban on tie-in provisions.

Graff cannot legally under any circumstance require the use of only "genuine GRAFF parts." That's considered a tie-in and tie-ins are absolutely prohibited. Magnuson-Moss provides

"No warrantor of a consumer product may condition his written or implied warranty of such product on the consumer's using any article … which is identified by brand, trade, or corporate name."(16 CFR § 700.10)

Nor can Graff void the warranty for their use. According to the Federal Trade Commission:

[C]ompanies can't void a consumer's warranty or deny warranty coverage solely because the consumer uses a part made by someone else …" (FTC Staff Sends Warranty Warnings)

What the company probably means to say is that damages caused by the use of other than "genuine GRAFF parts" are not covered under warranty. So, why not say exactly that? Why is it necessary to "void" the warranty?

Deceptive Disclaimer

This illegal tie-in provision is just one of several violations of Mag­nu­son-Moss written into the Graff warranty.

We don't intend to list them all but here's another glaring illegality:

"This warranty is the exclusive warranty granted by GRAFF in lieu of all other warranties expressed or implied including those of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose."

Mag­nu­son-Moss views a company's written warranty as an extension of and not a replacement for state law warranties.

If a company provides a written warranty, it also, as a matter of law, is deemed to have adopted warranties of merchantability and fitness. It cannot legally disclaim them. (15 USC §2308)

The most a company can do is limit the duration of state law warranties to the same duration of its limited warranty.

For example, if the warranty on a fau­cet finish is one year, it can limit the application of state law warranties to that same one year. But, it requires the proper language to do so.

Here is some legally compliant language taken from our Model Limited Life­time Faucet Warranty:

"The duration of implied warranties (including but not limited to those of merchantability and fitness for a particular or special purpose) arising under state law is limited to the shorter of the duration of such warranties provided by law or the duration set out in this warranty."
What Is the Implied Warranty of Merchantability?

All states and provinces in North Amer­ica have laws requiring that products be fit for their ordinary purposes and conform to an ordinary buyer's expectations. This is the implied warranty of merchantability. It automatically attaches to every sale of a consumer product by a merchant

A product is merchantable if it serves its ordinary purpose. A fau­cet, for example, is merchantable if it dispenses controlled amounts of water.

A merchantable product must remain merchantable for a reasonable amount of time. How much time varies with the product. A fau­cet that leaks after one or two years is probably not merchantable. One that doesn't leak until its 20th anniversary probably is – a fau­cet is not expected to be leak-free forever.

Magnuson-Moss refines state warranties of merchantability by requiring uniform national standards for form and content, but it does not supersede them.

Any attempt to otherwise modify or exclude state law warranties is simply void and has no effect. Magnuson-Moss warns that

"[a]ny attempted disclaimer, modification, or limitation made in violation … is deemed to be ineffective for purposes of the [Magnuson-Moss] Act and state law." (5 U.S.C. § 2308(c))

Moreover, the claim that Graff's written warranty is the exclusive warranty is a "material statement" that is "likely to mislead a customer" into believing that state law warranties do not apply to his or her fau­cet. As such it is a "deceptive act or practice" as defined in Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. (FTC Policy Statement on Deception)

Graff's Myopic Warranty Vision

Our last problem with the warranty involves neither poor drafting nor a legal violation. It is a matter of poor business judgment and a lack of vision.

Graff requires the customer to pay to ship a defective fau­cet to the company for inspection or repair and to pay the cost of shipping the fau­cet or replacement parts from the company with this provision:

Inbound and/or outbound freight for warranty items is the responsibility of the purchaser.

The company may save a few pennies on shipping expenses but it costs the company many dollars in future sales. And, it makes Graff look incredibly churlish and chintzy.

The customer, already aggrieved by the failure of his or her Graff fau­cet, is going to be even further annoyed by this penny-pinching requirement.

The likelihood that he or she will ever again buy another Graff product is probably gone forever.

Graff clearly views its warranty as undesirable overhead to be minimized as much as possible. This is the bean counter approach to warranties favored by Chief Financial Officers and accountants.

The much better philosophy is one pioneered by decades ago. This the constant marketing approach.

Moen views its warranty and any claim made under its warranty as a golden marketing opportunity not to be missed – a way to encourage more sales to repeat customers by cementing loyalty to the company and its products.

It figures that the small cost of a good warranty and simple, hassle-free warranty service will be more than made up by additional sales to happy repeat customers and the family, friends, and folks at the gym and in the car-pool that they tell all about it.

How do you think that's working out?

There are good reasons Moen customers tend to stay Moen customers, and this is one of them.

Making an enemy out of an existing customer is absolute madness and makes no business sense whatsovever.

A Better Graff Warranty

Graff needs to start taking its warranty as seriously as it takes the rest of its business. Writing a warranty is not a job for amateurs.

Understanding Faucet Warranties

To better understand how to read and interpret a warranty and the valuable information that can be gleaned from a fau­cet warranty, read Under­stand­ing Fau­cet War­ran­ties.

For the steps to take to enforce a fau­cet warranty, read The War­ran­ty Game.

A written warranty is a legal contract. Every word in a warranty has import and will someday be minutely scrutinized by a court.

Drafting a warranty is not something to be handed off to a third deputy assistant vice-president with a business school degree. The result will be the amateurish, convoluted, redundant, ambiguous, and illegal warranty that Graff now has.

If its warranty ever gets to court, Graff will lose and lose big, paying not just a hefty judgment but also its customer's attorney fees – a nifty little penalty imposed by Magnuson-Moss for ignoring its requirements.

Graff's warranty urgently needs a complete re-write, this time by an experienced lawyer familiar with state warranty law and the requirements of the Magnuson-Moss Act who has read the Federal Trade Commission's manual. Writing Readable Warranties..

Warranty Scoring

The defects in the warranty, along with the reduced or omitted finish coverage, require us to lower the company's warranty score to below the U.S./Canadian standard.

The standard "lifetime" warranty is to the original owner for as long as he or she owns the faucet and resides in the dwelling in which the faucet is first installed. Living finishes may have no warranty but all other finishes must have the same lifetime warranty against manufacturing and material defects.

For an example of a standard North American faucet warranty that meets all U.S. and Canadian law requirements, read our Model Life­time Fau­cet War­ranty.

Hopefully, by our next full revision of this report, Graff will have made the changes necessary to raise its point score back to standard or even above standard.

For an example of a warranty that exceeds North American standards, see

Graff Customer and Technical Services

Graff divides its help desk into two parts. Customer Service handles all pre-sale issues: prices, availability, lead times, etc. Technical Service handles post-sale issues: installation problems, warranty claims, and replacement parts.

We rate both services as very good. They scored extremely well on our service tests, never dropping below 4.4 out of a possible 5.0. Any score above 4.0 is satisfactory. The company generates very few complaints from consumers about post-sale issues and seems to handle those that do occur with dispatch.

The Better Business Bureau rates Graff "A+" on a scale of "A+" to "F" for its effective response to customer issues.

Graff's technical service department was selected by the Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association as the customer service department of the year for 2015.

The DPHA cited "responsiveness, courtesy, knowledge, ability to go above and beyond the norm, and overall performance" as its reasons for the award.

Fortunately, nothing has changed.

The Graff Website

The Graff website is very artistic: full of beautiful, well-staged photographs – probably more artistic, well-staged photographs than it really needs. At some point they become intrusive, getting in the way, and Graff has reached and gone past that point.

Faucets can be displayed individually or as an item in the collection of matching showers and accessories.

It's very useful to see all of the pieces of a collection before deciding on a fau­cet. You may love the fau­cet but hate the towel rack or soap dish, which may be a factor in your buying decision.

Graff's collections are so complete that they even include components that you will never see, and are of interest only to plumbers, such as valve extension kits, and vessel rings. Whoever put all this together did a really good job.

The information provided about each fau­cet is very clearly presented, including its available finishes, critical dimensions, and options. Down­load­able .pdf files include a dimensioned drawing, exploded parts diagram, parts list, installation instructions, and specifications for most fau­cets.

There is even a link to a 3d CAD model of most fau­cets but in 3ds format rather than the more universal dxf format. The model may not help consumers but is a boon to designers and specifiers.

Missing Information

Unfortunately, however, the totality of the hard information (as opposed to sales puffery) provided about a faucet is insufficient for an informed buying decision.

Most faucet listings include a link to a specifications sheet but some do not, meaning that information available about the faucet is very sparse indeed.

For those faucet listings that do link to a specification sheet, important specifications are missing. Only about half of the needed information is provided.

Graff Website Scoresheet
(Minimum Website Information)
Score: 52 out of 100
Grade: F

(Checked boxes indicate specifications usually, but not always, provided on the Graff website.)

Most of what's missing can be readily supplied without any redesign of the existing listings. There is a lot of unused space on most listing pages. The rest can be provided through links.

Hard to Find Information

A Graff spokesperson told us that most of the required information is on its website somewhere. Even if true, however, that's missing the point.

A typical fau­cet buyer does not take the time to read through the entire website.

The information he or she needs must be available on the fau­cet listing pages.

Some critical information is indeed on the website but is very hard to find.

The warranty, for example, is buried so deep in the backwaters of the site that it requires the persistance of an ar­chae­ol­o­gist searching for ancient artifacts to merely locate.

Since there is no menu item labeled "Warranty," we first tried a site search on "warranty" that produced the notice "No products Found."

Then we found "Product registration and Warranty" at the very bottom of the page. But, clicking on that link displayed a page for registering a Graff product, but no warranty.

As a last resort, we tried clicking on "FAQS," and hit paydirt.

We found

"Is there a warranty on Graff products?"

that displayed two warranty links. One of them, "Graff's North American Signature Warranty," covered faucets.

So, yes the warranty is on the website, but good luck finding it. To make it easier, however, here is a direct link to the warranty.

Configurators

On many faucet websites, faucets can be displayed in multiple finishes. The user selects a finish and the faucet image is redisplayed in that finish.

The Graff site does not offer this feature for most faucets. Instead, selecting a finish displays a button on which an approximation of the finish is displayed. Often, the approximation is not very close to the actual finish.

For two collections, however, Mod+ and Vignola, the user can use what Graff calls a "configurator" to select a body and separate trim finish that are displayed on the faucet image, providing a much better visualization of the faucet. The trim selections include all available finishes plus three marbles: Storm Black, Forest Green, and Smokey White. For the Vignola faucet, the spout and handle shapes can also be configured.

These collections are a good start, and we look forward to the day when all Graff faucets allow on-screen configuration.

Where to Buy

Graff fau­cets are sold in most parts of the world and through most venues, including an extensive presence on the internet.

The most ubiquitous source in North Amer­ica is Fer­gus­on En­ter­pris­es, (Wolse­ley in Canada) the British-owned plumbing supply company that has outlets in just about every city, town, and hamlet in North Ameri­ca and multiple online stores including Build.com, Fau­cets­Direct.com, and Fau­cets.com.

The fau­cets are a favorite of interior designers and sold in design studios throughout North America. A very good "Where to Buy" locator on the Graff website will find the design studios near you.

Online web sources in addition to those affiliated with Ferguson include De­cor Plan­et, Fau­cet De­pot, Plumb­tile, Qual­ity Bath, and Ama­ti Can­ada. A few Graff fau­cets are sold at Amazon, but the styles and finishes available are very limited.

Minimum Advertised Price Policy

No matter where you buy a Graff fau­cet in the U.S., do not expect a substantial discount.

Graff enforces a Minimum Advertised Price policy that prohibits authorized retailers from advertising prices lower than the company's permitted minimum price.

Those that do are subject to sanctions up to and including the loss of the authorization to sell Graff products.

Testing and Certification

Graff's Competitors

Faucets made in Europe or the Americas that compare to Graff for quality include

Conclusions

We think of Graff as the North-Amer­i­can­ized version of the up-scale Eur­ope­an designer fau­cet.

If you are outfitting a heritage kitchen or bath, Graff's traditional collections may be just the ticket. Faucets suitable for a Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Art Deco. or Mid-Century Modern motifs are abundant.

If your kitchen or bath is more modern, there are even more choices in Graff's contemporary collections.

These are serious fau­cets: heavy, solid, and substantial. We are very impressed with their quality and with the very low number of consumer or plumber complaints over our 5-year look-back period.

They are definitely luxury items, however, with prices to match, but the prices are competitive and often lower than similar fau­cets from competing companies.

Over the past few rating cycles, Graff has been consistently listed by our panel of consummers and industry professional as a Best Value or Best-Value runner-up in luxury faucets. The fau­cets are well worth a look for anyone in the market for a designer fau­cet.

The company needs to fix the problems with its warranty and add the information needed for a well-informed buying decision to its website.

Despite these lapses, however, our rating panel was unanimous in its view of the company and its fau­cets. All of the members indicated that they would buy a Graff fau­cet for their own kitchen or bath but only in finishes that have a lifetime warranty.

You should also be circumspect in your choice of finishes.

Graff's very short 1-, 2- and 3-year warranties on some of its finishes is a strong indication that Graff's management has little faith in their long-term durability. Why? We don't know and may never find out. But, if management believes some of its finishes won't last, perhaps you should too and select an electroplated or PVD finish that has a better warranty.

Graff's warranty in general is a problem.

We think Graff intends to offer a strong warranty, but ha snot quite figured out how to write it to balance buyer protection against unreasonable warranty claims. Fortunately, almost all of Graff's warranty mistakes actually make it a more buyer-friendly warranty but you may have to go to court to prove it. If you do have to bring a lawsuit, you will win and Graff will end up paying your attorney fees.

To find out how to enforce your warranty, see The Warranty Game: Enforcing Your Product Warranty.

We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Graff fau­cets, good, bad, or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.

Please note, we cannot answer questions posted in the comments. If you have a question, email us at starcraftreviews@yahoo.com.

Footnotes:
1. Valvex fau­cets are not sold under the Valvex brand name in North America but are sold in Poland and other parts of Europe.
2. Graff obfusticates its date of formation, refering vaguely to manufacturing that started in the 1970s and sometimes that the company was dates to 1922. Not true. Graff started in 2002. It was Valvex that began business in 1922. Valvex is related to Graff, but is not Graff.
3. Core and shell is not new. Lots of industries use the technology. Think of your car. The frame, engine, and drive train are its core elements. They make the car move. The body is the shell. It hides the ugly core and gives the car its aesthetic appeal. Core and shell construction of fau­cets follows the same formula.
Core and shell has been used by fsu­cet companies for decades in wall-mounted fau­cets. The core or "Valve" is installed in the wall. It is the element that handles water flow. The decorative shell or "trim" is then attached to hide the ugly core and make the fsu­cet pretty. One advantage of this form of fsu­cet construction is that one valve can be used with many trims.
It is only since brass in fau­cets became lead-free that fsu­cet companies began applying core and shell contruction to ordinary deck-mounted fau­cets. If water runs through the body and spout, these parts have to be made from lead-free brass in order to pass the tests needed to be certified lead-free and drinking water safe. Lead-free brass is very expensive.
If watter runs through an inner core element, that core can be made of relatively inexpensive copper or even polimer tubing. The shell, which not does not touch water, can be ordinary (leaded) brass or even a zinc alloy, saving substantially on the cost of manufacturing a fsu­cet.
Some fsu­cet companies such as are rapidly transitioning to all core and shell construction.