Vola Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 01/05/21

Summary
Imported
Denmark Flag
Denmark
Hastings Tile & Bath
711-8 Koehler Avenue
Ronkonkoma, NY 11779

Showroom:
150 East 58th St.
10th Floor
New York, NY 10155
(800) 351-0038
(631) 285-3330
info@hastingstilebath.com

Vola A/S
Lunavej 2
8700 Horsens
Denmark
45 70 23 55 00
Rating
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
Certifications
Brands
Vola
Street Price
$870 - $6,100
For chrome. Any finish other than polished chrome is an extra charge.
Warranty Score
Cartridge
lifetime1
Living Finishes
None2
Other Finishes
5 years2
Mechanical Parts
5 years
Proof of Purchase
Yes
Transferable
No
Meets U.S. Warranty
Law Requirements
Yes

Warranty Footnotes

1. The term :Lifetime" is defined as the actual lifetime of the original buyer.
2. "Living finishes," are expected to tarnish and otherwise show evidence of use and wear. Living finishes are usually not included in a finish warranty. So, this exclusion is not unusual. Vola's sole living finish is Natural Brass.


Download/Print and read the Vola warranty.

Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Founded in 1954 by Verner Overgaard, Vola A/S is a Danish manufacturer of high-end, high-style fau­cets of its own design sold throughout most of Europe and North America. The fau­cets are starkly modern – inheritors of a functionalist design tradition introduced to the company by designer Arne Jacobsen in 1968.

Vola products are distributed in North America by Hastings Tile & Bath in New York and sold primarily through showrooms and kitchen and bath design centers.

The fau­cets are well made using quality components but are pricey compared to other high-end luxury faucets sold in North America and to the prices for the same faucets sold in Europe.

The Vola North American warranty is for a lifetime on cartridges, but just five years on all other parts of the fau­cets, including most finishes.

Vola A/S is a Danish manufacturer of plumbing fittings such as fau­cets and shower systems as well as bathroom accessories. Founded in 1954 by Verner Overgaard. The company is still owned by the Overgaard family, many of whose members are involved in Vola's management.

The direction of the company underwent a profound change in the 1960s it collaborated with the renown Danish architect, Arne Jacobsen (1902-1971), to design a fau­cet in which the working parts were hidden in the wall with only the handle, spout, and trim plate visible – as if the fau­cet were just the decorative end of a water pipe.

The radical fau­cet, designed for the Danish National Bank building in Cop­ha­gen, became the Vola model 111 fau­cet introduced in 1968.

The faucet won nearly instant widespread acclaim in the architecture and design communities and several international awards for its design innovation and timeless simplicity. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) added the faucet to its permanent design collection in 1974.

The Vola 111 was followed in quick succession by the 121 kitchen fau­cet and the KV1 and HV1 bathroom sink fau­cets. Most of the faucets made by Vola are derivatives of these four original Jacobsen designs.

Upon Mr. Jacobsen's untimely death in 1971, the mantle of design was assumed by Teit Weylandt, a former Jacobsen associate. Then, in 2006 it was passed to Torben Madsen at Link Arkitektur in Oslo, Norway who has designed several European showrooms for Vola as well as the FS2 floor-mounted faucet and the innovative Round series of in-wall dispensers and waste bins.

Vola fau­cets are distributed in North America by Hastings Tile & Bath, Inc., a company that has been in continuous business for years.

The company traces its heritage to the Hastings Pavement Company, founded in 1885 in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York to manufacture asphalt and limestone paving blocks. Its signature 8" hexagonal blocks paved more than 150 miles of New York City sidewalks and can still be seen in Central Park, at the Port Authority on 41st Street, on the promenade at Battery Park City, and Liberty Plaza on Ellis Island. (If you can't make it to New York today, you can view images of Hastings-paved New York City sidewalks at Historic Pavement.)

In 1944 the company incorporated in New York. It started moving away from manufacturing in the 1970s and began importing high-end ceramic tile and decorative plumbing products from Europe. In 2000 it changed its name to Hastings Tile & Bath to better reflect its changed business focus.

Hastings Tile & Bath
List of Suppliers*
Hastings sells only top quality products imported primarily from Italy and Spain. Its suppliers include:
Ceramic & Glass Tile
Italy Flag Altaeco S.p.A. trading as Ceramica Bardelli
Italy Flag Ceramiche Grazia S.p.A.
Spain Flag Industrias Alcorenses Con­fed­er­adas SA (In­al­co Cer­ami­co)
Italy Flag Rex Ceramiche, S.p.A.
Italy Flag Tagina Ceramiche D'Arte S.p.A.
Italy Flag Taulell, SL
Furnishings, Fixtures, Fit­tings, and Ac­ces­sor­ies
Italy Flag Veramiche Ascot, S.p.A.
Italy Flag Vetrocolor (di Luigi Aronica)
Italy Flag Azzurra S.R.L.
Italy Flag Ceramica Catalano S.p.A.
Italy Flag GB Group S.R.L.
Italy Flag Lineabeta S.p.A.
Italy Flag Mario Bongio S.R.L.
China Flag (Foshan) NanHai Wisdom Sanitary Ware, Ltd.
Spain Flag Sonia SA
Italy Flag Tamanaco
Italy Flag Tulli Zuccari S.R.L.
Italy Flag Uno Ceramica, S.R.L. (Axa One)
*These are not all of Hastings' suppliers, just the ones we could identify quickly from customs and import records for the past 24 months.

Vola is by no means its sole line of products, or even its most important. It also sells high-end ceramic and glass tile from Italy and Spain; bathroom furniture, fixtures, fittings, shower enclosures, and accessories imported from Italy, Spain, and China.

Vola fau­cets are sold though showrooms and kitchen and bath design centers, as well as a few select online retailers such as Quality Bath, Home & Stone, and Plumbtile. The Hastings Tile website includea an easy-to-use deal locator for the U.S. by state. We did not find an equivalent locator for Canada.

The faucets' prices are at the upper end of high-design fau­cets. Based on a survey of Vola faucets offered on web-com­merce sites, we found street prices ranging from $870.00 to $3,500 in polished chrome.

If the faucet is an electronic, hands-free, version, then the price climbs even higher once the electronic sensors and control devices are added.

Some Vola faucets deliver only cold or only hot water. These are intended to be used in pairs, one faucet for cold and another for hot water. They are called by many names, the most common being pillar taps or dual taps.

Pillar taps are more common in Europe than they are in North America where, in many localities, they are banned because the hot faucet can deliver scalding water and is a danger to children.

In the U.K., however, they make up about 40% of all bathroom sink faucets sold. Vola prices dual taps at a minimum of $550.00 each, the pair being $1,100.00 and up.

Vola faucets sell for considerably less in Europe than in North America. We found a non-sale average online street price of $479.00 for a Vola HV1 chrome lavatory faucet in Denmark, $601.00 in Ger­many, and 653.01 in the U.K. compared to $891.00 in the U.S. Do not expect substantial discounts from any dealer. Hastings Tile maintains a minimum pricing policy that limits the maximum discount a dealer may offer.

Before you contact cousin Anja in Co­pen­hag­en to send you a discounted Vola faucet, you should know that faucets sold in Europe do not meet U.S./Can­adian lead-free standards and are illegal to sell or install in a drinking water system anywhere in North Amer­ica.

Any finish other than polished chrome is an extra charge and will add as much as $2,000 to the price of the fau­cet, although a more typical surcharge is under $500.00, depending on the faucet and the selected finish.

Vola manufactures all of its faucets in Horsens, Denmark from low-lead brass, bronze, stainless steel, and zinc.

The material used in the waterway of a Vola's brass fau­cet is a bronze alloy that is lead-free and unaffected by dezincification. This bronze alloy is commonly known as gun metal (from its early use to make bronze cannon).

Bronze in faucet waterways avoids the risk of dezincification and lead contamination. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. Since it contains no zinc or lead, it is unaffected by dezincification and cannot leach lead into the water passing through the faucet.

Vola uses very little zinc but it does use some mostly in the form of galvanized (zinc plated) steel. It also uses polyphenylene oxide (PPO), a durable plastic commonly found in faucet aerators.

Zinc and its alloys are not as durable as brass or bronze. They are not materials suitable for components in a faucet that are under stress from water pressure. Typical water pressure in most homes in North America is between 30 and 50 pounds per square inch (psi), but water pressure can surge to momentary levels of up to 200 psi – close to fire-hose pressure.

Zinc is appropriate, however, for use in unpressurized parts like handles, base plates (es­cutch­eons), and trim plates for wall-mounted faucets. The zinc used in fau­cets is usually not pure zinc, but an alloy of zinc and aluminum (ZA), the most common of which is ZAMAK, a composition containing 4% aluminum. Zinc-aluminum alloys are much less expensive than brass and are increasingly used even by high-end fau­cet manufacturers to save a little on material costs.

The various components used in sink fau­cets are either made by Vola or sourced from within the European Union. We can find no import or customs records indicating that Vola imports fau­cet parts or components from anywhere in Asia.

The company offers 27 fau­cet finishes. The standard finishes are polished and brushed chrome, natural brass, and brushed stainless steel.

Chrome finishes are . The natural brass and stainless steel finishes are not applied finishes, but the material the faucet that is cleaned up and polished or bushed. Natural Brass is just unprotected brass. Unlike most natural brass finishes that are protected by a lacquer coating to prevent tarnishing, Vola's Natural Brass has no protective coating. It will tarnish over time unless polished frequently.

As what is known as a , Natural Brass is not warranted against tarnish, spots, or color changes. All of these are expected to occur and do not constitute a defect.

Fifteen RAL colors are available as . Eight additional metal finishes are (PVD) finishes. Seven of these are "exclusive finishes" available only through certain dealers.

PVD is the latest space-age fau­cet finishing technology, rapidly replacing electroplating as the finish of choice. It's still fairly new but growing rapidly. Fifty years ago, PVD barely existed outside of experiments in laboratories. Today, the technology is everywhere and the machines required are getting smaller, faster, and cheaper all the time.

The process is almost science fiction. Load a chamber with unfinished fau­cets, remove all the air and add back a carefully calculated mix of nitrogen or argon and reactive gases. Add a chunk of the metal to be used for the coating, usually in the form of a rod. Heat that rod to a temperature so high that the metal dissolves into individual atoms. The atoms mix with the various reactive gases to get the color and finish effects you want and are then deposited in a very thin layer – 2 to 5 microns – on the fau­cets.

A micron is one-millionth of a meter or 1/26,000 of an inch. The average human hair is 83 microns thick. The smallest the unaided human eye can see without magnification is about 5 microns.

Despite being just microns thick, a PVD coating is very dense and, as a consequence, very durable. By some estimates, it is up to 20 times harder than electroplated chrome.

From long experience, we know that PVD is nearly impossible to accidentally scratch or mar, never fades or changes color, and resists all forms of soiling. It can usually be maintained with just an occasional wipe from a damp cloth.

Powder coatings are much less robust, usually described as "semi-durable", requiring more care than electroplated or PVD finishes to maintain a like-new appearance.

The powder coating process was invented during World War II when the need for speed in manufacturing was paramount and a faster method of coating war materials kept production moving. Powder coats, unlike liquid paints, need no drying time, so the assembly line could move right along, producing the tanks, artillery, aircraft, and Jeeps needed for the war effort.

The powder is applied using a special low-velocity spray gun that disperses the powder while giving it a positive electrical charge. The powder particles are drawn to the fau­cet which has been given a negative charge. Once the powder is applied, the fau­cet is baked in an oven at about 400°F (204°C) 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 is durability.

The process has some drawbacks. The first is the material has to be applied in relatively thick coats to avoid defects like orange peel, a mottled, uneven surface. The thickness can obscure fine detail.

Another is bonding. Powder coats do not bond to the underlying metal of the fau­cet at the molecular level like electroplated or PVD finishes. The lack of molecular bonding combined with its relative hardness means that powder coats can chip, especially around exposed edges.

On the plus side, powder coatings are considerably less burdensome to the environment than electroplating which uses acids and produces toxic waste that needs to be disposed of carefully.

Vola's faucet cartridges are, according to the company, proprietary, designed by (or for) Vola, and used by no other fau­cet company.

The company's early mixing cartridges were a variation of the sleeve cartridge invented by in 1937. It used a cylinder inside a sleeve to control both the volume and temperature of the water. The single fau­cet handle moved the cylinder up and down in the sleeve to control the water flow and rotated it from side to side to change the water temperature.

Like the Moen cartridge, the Vola cartridge used rubber seals to block water, and these seals wore out relatively quickly requiring the cartridge to be rebuilt every three to five years – fairly easy to do, but still an annoyance. To solve that problem, the company adopted the newer ceramic disc technology for its cartridges starting in 1989.

Invented by and patented in 1972, water flow is controlled by ceramic discs rather than rubber or silicone seals. When closed, the gap between the two highly polished discs is smaller than a single molecule of water, which blocks water from flowing.

Vola Cartridge Table
Cartridge Faucet Series
(Fitted With the Cartridge)
VR227K Mixing Cartridge 111, 112, 121, 122, 131,132, 311, 321, 500, 590, FS2, HV1, HV3, HV10, KV1
VR1227K Mixing Cartfidge 2500
VR692K & VR691K Stem Cartfidges HV5, HV6, HV8, HV10, KV3, KV4, KV10, KV15,
VR694K & VR693K Stem Cartfidges HV7, KV7, KV8, RB1, RB3, RB4
VR697K & VR698K Stem Cartfidges 611, 613, 621, 623, 631, 633, 911, 912, 921, 922, 931, 932, 1511, 1512, 1513

Faucet Cartridge: Its cartridge is the heart of a modern fau­cet and should be your very first consideration when making a buying decision. It is the component that controls water flow and temperature. Its finish may fail and the fau­cet will still work. It may be discolored, corroded, and ugly but water still flows. If the cartridge fails, however, the fau­cet is no longer a fau­cet. It is out of business until the cartridge is replaced. It's important, therefore, that the cartridge is robust, durable, and lasts for many years.

Vola builds its sink fau­cets around just two mixing cartridges for its single-handle fau­cets (VR277K and VR1277K), and three sets of stem cartridges in its two-handle fau­cets. Stem cartridges are paired, one for hot and the other for cold. The Vola pairs are VR697K/VR698K, VR694K/VR693K, and VR692K/VR691K.

For the vast majority of its single-handle fau­cets, Vola has standardized around the VR277K mixing cartridge. The other cartridge, the VR1277K, is used in just the 2500 series consisting of three fau­cets.

We think it very possible that the VR277K is a proprietary design. Cer­tain­ly, we have not seen its like elsewhere. But, the VR1277K is non-proprietary – a re-labeled Kerox VR277K cartridge. Kerox Kft is a Hungarian technical ceramics manufacturer that makes only mixing cartridges. It is probably the top European brand of cartridge for single-handle fau­cets.

(What makes us reasonably certain that the VK1277K is a Kerox cartridge is that one of the cartridges we examined for this report was stamped "Kerox".)

We are certain of the quality of the VR1277K, a cartridge made by one of Europe's premier cartridge manufacturers. We don't know who makes the VR227K cartridge.

We took a VR227K apart to see what we could see about its quality and whether it contained any makers marks that would identify the manufacturer.

At $227.00 list and $158.00 street price, our mistress of the exchequer threatened bodily harm if we dared buy one just to tear it apart. We did it anyway (and no actual harm resulted, except to the cartridge).

Alas, we found no marks, nor any hints as to its manufacturer. So, we don't know for sure where it is made, and so far at least, the company is not talking except to say it is not made in Asia.

The Vola stem cartridges for its two-handle faucets are even more of a mystery. According to a company spokesman, they are made by Vola as are the fittings used to mount the cartridges. The exact specifications are proprietary and a trade secret. Evidently, so are the performance test results. We could find none in the usual places.

The problem with proprietary cartridges is that there is no price competition. Vola fau­cet owners are a captive market. No one but Vola sells its proprietary cartridges, so Vola can charge as much for the cartridge as the market will allow, and a little more.

While the Vola VR1277K 35mm cartridge is actually not a proprietary cartridge, very few people know that, so it makes a good example of proprietary pricing.

As a Vola cartridge, it lists for $227.00 in the U.S. – street price: $204.00 – which is over three times the street price of the same cartridge sold as the Kerox K35-VR1277K.

Some of this price, however, may be Hastings Tile adding a generous margin. We found the VR1277K in Europe for between $82.00 and $110.00, which is more reasonable but still considerably pricier than the Kerox-branded K35-VR1277K cartridge that typically sells in the U.S. for about $62.00.

Vola seems confident in the longevity of its faucet cartridges – confident enough to guarantee them for a lifetime – the only part of a Vola fau­cet guaranteed for longer than 5 years – which makes us wonder why Vola does not do more to promote them.

In our 15+ years of reviewing fau­cets and fau­cet companies, we have found rather consistently that companies providing good quality cartridges for their fau­cets tend to trumpet the quality of the cartridges and publish a summary of their test results for durability and longevity.

See, for example, our reports on which proclaims the virtues of its proprietary cartridges as often as it can, including releasing the results of its perforamce tests.

If Vola has tested its proprietary cartridges, and it probably has, the results have been kept very quiet.

The Hastings Tile website has a lot of information about Vola the company, but nothing about Vola products. The Vola website, however, makes up for any deficiency. It has extensive product information and the website is smart enough to realize that you live in America. It will display the site in English and show only the fau­cets that are for sale in the U.S.

Overall the Vola site is well designed and navigation is reasonably intuitive. One thing we do not like, however, is the extensive use of light gray type on a white background. This may work for 15-year-old eyes, but not for eyes that are 35+.

Much of the terminology is in British English and may take a little getting used to (unless, of course, you are British). Installation instructions, for example, are "fitting instructions". Faucets are not fau­cets, they are "taps". Single-handle fau­cets are "mixing taps". Bathroom sink fau­cets are "basin taps" (because bathroom sinks are "basins" in the U.K. In U.S. plumber lingo, the basin is just the bowl in a sink, not the entire sink).

In American English tap seems to mean a faucet that delivers either hot or cold water, but not both, for example, a filtered drinking water "tap". It is also used to mean faucets that deliver liquids other than water, such as a beer "tap".

The term faucet (from the Norman French fausset meaning stopper or bung) is reserved for taps that deliver a mix of hot and cold water. Faucet is used only in the U.S. and parts of Canada. To the rest of the English-speaking world, all faucets are taps, period.

English to American Translation Table
Vola Label Translation Content Description
Available Colors Available Finishes Displays a dropdown table with tiny unlabeled fau­cet icons that do not clearly show the finish, making finish selection guesswork in many instances. It would be more useful, especiaslly for the 35+ crowd, if the icons were much larger and labeled.
Accredi­ta­tions Certi­fica­tions Displays logos for all of the organizations that have tested and certified the fau­cet. The only ones of interest to Americans are the "ASME" and "NSF" logos
Dimensions Opens up a dimensioned drawing of the fau­cet. The dimensions are in metric, however, and have not been translated to our quaint "customary units" (inches).
Fitting Instructions Installation Instructions Down­loads and displays a .pdf file of installation instructions which can help your plumber identify any potential installation issues before you buy a fau­cet.
Exploded View Exploded Parts Diagram Opens up an exploded diagram of the fau­cet with part numbers but no part names.
Speci­fica­tions Down­loads and displays a .pdf file of detailed specifications.
CAD-drawings 2D Displays a link to a download of a 2D drawing of the fau­cet in AutoCAD's .dwg format.
CAD-drawings 3D Displays a link to a download of a 3D model of the fau­cet in universal Drawing Exchange Format (.dxf).
CAD-drawings BIM Displays a link to a download of a BIM model of the fau­cet. BIM stands for Building Information Modeling which is, according to its developer, Autodesk, "an intelligent 3D model-based process that gives architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct, and manage buildings and infrastructure."
EPD (No Equivalent) Downloads the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­duct De­clar­ation required by Eur­opean Stand­ard EN 15804 "to communicate scientifically based environmental information for construction products, for the purpose of assessing the environmental performance of buildings." Here is a link to the EPD for the Vola 111 fau­cet.

Filters help drill down to the fau­cets that have the features you want, and unlike a lot of websites with filter capability, these filters actually work (except it is sometimes necessary to reload the page before the filtered results appear – we thought the filtering faulty until we figured that out).

Each fau­cet page shows just about everything you could wish to know about a fau­cet. But, again, some translation is from British to American in order. Below is a table showing the information typically available for a Vola fau­cet.

Not all of this information is available for every fau­cet. We found a few fau­cets missing Specification sheets, a few others without an Exploded View, and a fair number that did not have one or more of the CAD drawings or models.

On the other hand, some have even more information. Some faucets have a "Historic Exploded View" which links to downloads showing the fau­cet's engineering evolution over time – useful if you own an older version of the faucet. Some fau­cets have a "Water Saving" tab that drops down a list of the flow rates available with the fau­cet.

Although the Watersense® database shows that all or nearly all of Vola's bathroom sink fau­cets are Watersense® listed, there is no indication of Watersense status on the website's fau­cet pages – probably because Watersense® is a North American (Canada/U.S.) program and the website is addressed to English-speaking Europeans.

Vola identifies faucets that are suitable for use by persons with physical limitations as "ADA approved." However, the term reflects only the company's opinion and does not mean that the fau­cet has been tested and certified by independent testing to meet ADA requirements or is suitable for use where an actual certification to ADA standards (ANSI A117.1) is required.

Installation instructions are language-independent, depicting the installation process without text, using drawings that are clear and concise.

We did not install any of the Vola faucets we had for testing. One was wall-mounted and would have required the partial demolition of a wall. Since we only just finished repairing all the walls in our over-the-warehouse-office this past winter, we did not want to do that.

The other reason is that we did not buy the faucets. If we had, it would have used up our faucet budget for the quarter. We borrowed them with the promise of returning them in pristine condition. So a careful partial disassembly was okay, but no installation. However, our plumbers were satisfied that they would be simple to install with no particular problems.

Vola's warranty protection is extended only to the original purchaser and dates from the date of sale (presumably shown on the sales receipt). By implication, it is not transferable to any subsequent owner of the fau­cet because that person would not be the original purchaser.

The warranty guarantees ceramic cartridges against defects for a "limited lifetime' but every other part of the fau­cet, including finishes, for just five years (except the Natural Brass finish which, as a living finish, is not guaranteed at all). Vola defines "limited lifetime" as the "life of the original purchaser".

Vola's "lifetime" is more generous than most. It does not require the original buyer to continue to own the faucet or continue to live in the residence in which the faucet was initially installed – two requirements often used to limit the actual duration of a lifetime warranty.

It might, in fact, be a tad too generous which could lead to some unanticipated results. If the original owner sells his or her house to a subsequent buyer, presumably the faucet is part of the sale. The warranty does not pass to the new owner because he or she is not the original purchaser. It does not end, however, because the original owner is still alive and therefore, still owns the warranty.

If the faucet starts to leak due to a faulty cartridge, the original owner has a valid warranty claim for the benefit of the subsequent buyer that Vola would be legally bound to honor. An odd result indeed, but that's how the warranty is written.

The Vola warranty does not attempt to disclaim implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for purpose created by state law, which means that these implied warranties apply to the fau­cet alongside the Vola written warranty and may provide more extensive warranty coverage than does the Vola warranty.

Many fau­cet companies try to reject (the legal term is "disclaim") implied warranties, evidently blissfully unaware that Section 108 of the federal Mag­nu­son-Moss Act (15 U.S.C. § 2308) prohibits a company that offers a written warranty from disclaiming implied warranties. The only modification to implied warranties allowed is the duration of the implied warranty. Its duration may be limited to the same duration as the company's written warranty. So if the company's warranty is for five years, implied warranties may be also be limited to five years. Any other disclaimer is simply void and has no effect.

Many if not most faucet warranties attempt to limit the company's liability for consequential and incidental damages resulting from a faulty faucet – an exclusion that is permitted in limited warranties by Magnuson-Moss. Vola goes one step further. The mere existence of consequential and incidental damages voids the entire Vola Warranty, something we have not seen before in a faucet warranty. Here is the exact language:

The below actions void the warranty:
 - Misuse, abuse, negligence, improper installation, accidental damages resulting from the customer or installer
 - Improper care and maintenance
 - Consequential or incidental damages

(Emphases supplied)

Such a provision has never been tested before a court, at least none that we can find, so we don't know if it's legal. If it is, then its effect is to extinguish the Vola written warranty. Implied warranties are still in effect, however.

Consequential and incidental Damages" Damages other than to the fau­cet itself. For example, your Vola fau­cet leaks and damages your cabinets. The leak is a "direct damage" to the faucet. The damage to the cabinets and their contents is a "consequential damage". The costs of making the warranty claim are "incidental damages". These may include the "cost of returning a faucet or its parts to the company for inspection" and may include any attorney's fees required to take your claim to court.

In addition to the sometimes strange language in the Vola warranty, some practical business matters should also be examined.

1) The term of the warranty is woefully sub-standard.

A five-year warranty in a market in which the standard warranty is for the buyer's lifetime suggests that Vola management does not have full confidence in the quality of its products. We do not understand this reticence. Nothing about the quality of the faucets justifies a lack of complete confidence in their longevity or durability. But, as always, management may know something about the faucets that we don't. In any event, as the cost of a lifetime warranty is little different than the cost of a five-year warranty, Vola should upgrade its warranty to make it competitive. (Read our Model U.S./Canada Limited Lifetime Faucet Warranty.)

2) Penny pinching has no place in a warranty.

Requiring the customer to pay the cost of returning a faucet or its parts to the company for inspection is a prototype example of why the phrase "penny-wise, pound-foolish" was coined. A customer who has paid $1,500+ for a Vola faucet is already seriously annoyed that it is broken, and even more seriously annoyed after being without the faucet for several days if not weeks. It's not hard to imagine how much more annoyed he or she will be having to pony up for the shipping to return the faucet. Odds are very good that Vola just lost that customer forever.

Vola needs to learn how to use a warranty as a marketing tool to earn customer loyalty and repeat sales. At present, it is viewing the warranty as an unwelcome intrusion and an expense to be minimized as much as possible – the bean-counters' perspective.

It's the wrong viewpoint. Vola should study a company that figured out years ago how to use a warranty to grow sales – which is one of the factors that elevated Moen to a place at the table as one of two top-performing fau­cet companies in North America (along with

Moen does not charge a customer so much as a single penny and does everything it can do to make the warranty process as quick and as painless as possible, figuring that it is less costly to pay the $10.00 shipping than it is to lose a customer for life (not to mention all the neighbors, friends, relatives and guys in the carpool he complains to about his unhappy warranty experience). For Moen, a warranty claim is a marketing opportunity, and Moen makes excellent use of every marketing opportunity.

Faucets made in Europe comparable to Vola in price and quality but not necessarily in design, and with a stronger warranty, include

If you are building or remodeling an upscale kitchen or bath, or even a more modest kitchen or bath, and want that one sinfully luxurious item to cap the project, a Vola fau­cet may be for you.

However, while we consider the fau­cets to be of good to very good in quality, we do not judge them to be a good value. They are pricey, even for the rarified strata of very upscale faucets. We see nothing in the North American versions of the faucets that makes them worth as much as twice the European price for the same faucets.

In addition, Vola's five-year warranty protection on most parts and finishes is far below the North American "limited lifetime" standard. If you are not concerned that, after five years, you may be paying big dollars to repair a defect in your out-of-warranty Vola fau­cet, then the lack of an adequate warranty may not be an issue for you. For the rest of us not in the wealthiest one percent, it is.

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