Waterworks Faucets Review & Rating Updated: 08/08/22

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Design Investors, LLC
trading as
Waterworks Operating Co., LLC
60 Backus Avenue
Danbury, CT 06810
(800) 927-2120
(203) 546-6000
Business Type
Product Range
Kitchen, Bath, Prep and Bar Faucets
Street Price
Warranty Score
2 - 5 years1
5 years2
Non-Moving Parts
Proof of Purchase
Meets U.S. Warranty
Law Requirements
Warranty Footnotes:
1. "Wearable parts" such as cartridges, are guaranteed for just three years.
2. Two finishes: gold and matte gold, are limited to a two-year warranty.
3. "[A]s long as the original purchaser... continues to own and maintain the residence where the products are initially installed."

Download the Waterworks warranty.
Learn more about faucet warranties.

This Company In Brief

Waterworks sells upscale faucets as part of extensive collections of sanitary fixtures, accessories, and furnishings through authorized showrooms including Res­to­ra­tion Hard­ware Gal­leries

Most faucets are designed by Waterworks and manufactured by in its plant in Picardy, France.

Waterworks markets design collections that include faucets but also any other fixture or accessory you can think of, right down to ceramic tile, towels, floor mats, and even lotions and bathrobes.

The Waterworks warranty is very sub-par for the North American market, does not fully comply with federal warranty law, and contains several objectionable provisions.

Organized in 1976 by Robert and Barbara Sallick, the company is now composed of a collection of several legal entities. The most important are Waterworks IP Co., LLC, the company that owns all of the trademarks and patent rights, including the Waterworks and Waterworks Studio trade names, and Waterworks Operating Company, LLC which operates the business of designing and selling bath, kitchen, and bar collections.

Waterworks ran into considerable financial trouble during the Great Re­ces­sion of 2007-2010 and filed for voluntary Chap­ter 11 reorganization in bankruptcy.

It was purchased out of bankruptcy in 2009 by De­sign In­ves­tors LLC, an investment group organized by Pe­ter Sal­lick specifically to purchase Waterworks. Mr. Sel­lick is the son of Wat­er­work's founders and the current CFO and Cre­a­tive Di­rec­tor at Wa­ter­works.

The new owners guided the company out of the recession and back to profitability. It was then acquired by Restoration Hardware, Inc. in 2016. The deal was estimated by some to be worth $117 million USD ($150 million CAD).

Restoration Hardware, a company that started out as a source of vintage decorative hardware, has morphed into an upscale home decor retailer that sells its own line of luxury faucets made by BrassTech, Inc., a Masco company.

It has a history of ups and downs in which periods of rapid growth and expansion were followed by brushes with near bankruptcy. At present, however, it appears to be in one of its relatively stable periods.

The merger should be an excellent fit, enhancing both companies.

Waterworks markets design collections that include faucets but also any other fixture or accessory you can think of for the modern bathroom, right down to ceramic tile, towels, floor mats, and even lotions and bathrobes.

It sells through authorized showrooms in the U.S. and U.K. where trained designers can help buyers create a coordinated Wat­er­works suite for a bathroom, kitchen, or bar.

If a buyer lives in a part of the world that does not have a showroom, the company will sell direct but prefers to work with a decorator.

The merger with Restoration Hardware vastly expands Waterworks' retail presence. RH owns 66 showroom stores (which it calls "Design Galleries") in 30 states and 3 provinces as well as six internet sites and several outlet stores at which "excess inventory" is sold at a discount.

Waterworks will certainly benefit from the almost instant expansion of its retail exposure as its wares are added to RH outlets.

The faucets are also sold by Waterworks on its website and by some showrooms on the internet.

Wherever you buy a Waterworks faucet, however, do not expect deep discounts. Waterworks enforces a minimum advertised pricing (MAP) policy to discourage discount retailing, especially over the internet.

Not being a Water­works dealer, we are not privy to the actual MAP agreement but calculate that the maximum discount from tWater­works' suggested retail price that may be advertised is 30%.

Waterworks is a design and marketing company, not a manufacturer. It does not make its own faucets. According to the company, they are "made in France without compromise."

Our research shows, however, that while most Water­works faucets are indeed made in France, some have been and still are manufactured elsewhere.

The French fau­cet company, (formerly Tet­ard, Haud­iquez, & Gris­oni, now THG-Paris) manufactures most Waterworks' faucets in its plant in Pic­ardy.

THG is famous for its own diverse collections of very up-scale faucets, fixtures, and accessories that it sells worldwide, including in the U.S. and Canada.

Other French companies manufacturing faucets for Waterworks include

Faucet suppliers outside of France include

For its accessories, furnishings, plumbing fittings and fixtures, the company sources far and wide. We found over fifty suppliers from at least twelve different countries during our two-year lookback period.

Most of the suppliers are from Italy and the rest of Europe. A few are now from from China and Taiwan. A sampling of the company's suppliers include:

Pe­ter and Bar­bara Sal­lick provided the original design vision for the company. Since their retirement, the baton has been passed to Water­works' creative director Dav­id Schaef­er.

Most design is internal, and most fau­cet designs are distinctive and striking, many with a distinctively French flair. Hoever, a few are surprisingly pedestrian, not unlike the styles found in almost any mid-priced faucet line, but only a few and far fewer than in past years.

The collections are getting more interesting and more creative year by year.

The company uses outside design talent, but not heavily. The design firm of Roman and Williams, for example, created the R. W. Atlas lighting, fittings and hardware collections for Waterworks based on late 19th-century fin-de-siècle industrial motifs.

In addition to its own designs, Wat­er­works expands its offerings by buying faucet lines designed by other companies. The Etoile collection, for example, is the creation of Volevatch S.A., the French manufacturer. Volevatch designed and manufactures the faucets and owns the designs.

The striking Easton kitchen faucet collection appears to be a slight variation of a design.

If the company's standard collections are not exclusive enough for your mega-mansion, five-star hotel, or Vegas casino, the Waterworks Studio will design a one-of-a-kind faucet just for you. Of course, you may have to buy a minimum of several hundred facets to recoup the sizeable cost.

Waterworks faucets are available in five metal finishes: brass, copper, chrome, gold, and nickel. The company does not offer non-metallic finishes.

All of the finishes are except brass. Brass is simply the actual material of the faucet buffed and polished, brushed, or burnished to create an attractive finish.

All finishes are characterized by Waterworks as , meaning they

"will naturally age, patina, and take on their own individual appearances as they are exposed to time, climate, environment, and handling …"

Technically, it's true that these metals exhibit the basic characteristic of living finishes – they react with their environment and will tarnish over time. But, their reactivity varies. Some react so weakly that they are normally not considered by the fau­cet industry to be living finishes.

Chrome, nickel, and gold are in this category.

Pure gold is non-reactive. Gold is one of the "noble" [1] metals in chemistry. It does not react to the environment at all and does not tarnish. It is inert.

But, the gold used in faucet finishes is not pure. It is an alloy that usually includes copper and (sometimes) silver. Pure gold is very soft and scratches easily. Copper and silver make it harder but also allow it to tarnish ever so slightly.

Chrome and nickel are weakly reactive. They actually do tarnish, creating a thin protective coating over the surface of the faucet that is virtually invisible and no more than a minor nuisance. It darkens the finish slightly and dulls the metal's sparkle but a quick buff with a soft cloth wipes away the tarnish (and any water spots), restoring the faucet's gleam.

Understanding Waterworks Finishes

If you choose either of the highly reactive metals (brass or copper) or a chemically altered finish, you are not buying a carefree faucet. You are buying a lifetime battle against tarnish that involves repeated and regular maintenance.

However, if aged and tarnished to a unique patina that is never exactly the same from faucet to faucet is your preferred aesthetic, then a Waterworks living finish may be just what you are looking for.

Visualizing the aged look of a finish can be a problem, however. Water­works never shows a finish in its aged state. Its images are of new faucets in pristine factory-fresh finishes.

You will pretty much have to guess what a finish will look like as the months and years roll by. (Our polished/Tarnished comparison table may help, however.)

Brass and copper are very reactive and will tarnish quickly and tarnish a lot. They are justifiably called "living finishes." Both will turn brown fairly quickly – a hue usually described as antique or vintage.

If exposed to environmental extremes or left to tarnish for a long time, they will eventually turn green, a color known as verdigris. Copper tarnishes fairly quickly, brass more slowly. Brass contains copper and it is the copper that tarnishes. But it also includes zinc and a soupçon of other metals. These slow tarnishing.

The basic metals may be treated at the factory to produce different finish effects. Burnished and matte finishes are variations in sheen. Matte is a very flat finish with almost no shine. Burnished is a satin sheen somewhere between matte and polished.

Finishes described as "vintage" or "dark" have been artificially aged at the factory using chemicals to induce rapid tarnishing. This process creates a patina that, according to the company, "normally takes months or years to achieve." The three chemically altered finishes in the Waterworks' palette are Dark Nickel, Vintage Brass, and Dark Brass.

Through these effects, the number of finishes is increased from five to twelve standard finishes.

Chemically Altered Finishes Require Special Care

Waterworks' vintage or dark finishes require special care. Cleaning these finishes to remove tarnish also risks removing the factory-produced patina. That extra money you spent to get a dark or vintage finish will have been wasted.

Ten of the twelve standard finishes are available for quick shipping in "as little as four weeks" but more often six weeks or longer. Gold and Matte Gold require a longer lead time. How much longer, Waterworks does not say.

Very few faucets are available in all twelve finishes. The finishes common to most faucets are chrome, nickel, and brass. The Waterworks website identifies the finishes available for each faucet.

Some faucets are available in , what the company calls "mixed finishes" in which a base finish is paired with a trim or accent finish. The available options are Brass/Dark Nickel, Matte Nickel/Brass, Nickel/Dark Nickel, Brass/Copper.

A few faucets such as those in the Easton or Henry collections may include wood trim as an option.

Waterworks Split Finishes

Waterworks recommends daily cleaning with a soft cloth and Dawn® dishwashing liquid and drying with a soft cloth. It also warns that the "use of abrasive cleaners, cleansers, or disinfectants will … void the warranty." (Read more about this below.)

The key to preventing tarnish is to overlay the metal with a coating that protects the finish from coming into contact with air, water, and other elements in the environment.

The most common coating is some form of clear lacquer, usually applied at the factory. Waterworks, however, does not lacquer its finishes. Instead, it leaves overcoating to the buyer using a carnauba paste wax. Unlike lacquer which is reasonably permanent, wax requires periodic renewal.

If the faucet is new from the factory, it can be prevented from tarnishing by cleaning the faucet (to remove the installer's fingerprints), and applying wax immediately after installation. If it is partly tarnished and has reached the desired patina, apply wax to prevent further tarnishing.

After the initial waxing, Waterworks recommends it be re-waxed "bi-annually" or every two years. We think it should be more often, about every six months.

Waterworks does not use the latest processes such as (PVD) to produce its finishes. PVD is the "armor plating" of faucet finishes, virtually indestructible, requiring only minimum care. Highly reactive metals such as brass and copper are emulated using metals like zirconium and titanium that are non-reactive. The result is very convincing. PVD brass and copper look just like natural brass and copper.

Other upscale faucet companies, including from American Faucets and Coatings use the process exclusively.

Waterworks provides support for the faucets it sells, including parts replacement and warranty service. But, it does not always provide effective support.

The Better Business Bureau does not have a high opinion of the company. It rates the company's customer relations as a dismal D- on its scale of A+ to F focusing on the company's failure to respond to consumer issues. This rating, however, is based on two unresolved complaints received over the past three years. We don't consider two complaints in three years to be unduly excessive, but we would be happier had they been resolved.

The buyers we surveyed characterize customer service as friendly and courteous but not always able to help – not because agents are not trying to be helpful, but because they do not have an adequate structure supporting them. It is a systemic problem and one that Waterworks does not seem able to cure.

Metal Finishes

It is impossible, for example, to resolve a customer issue that requires a replacement part when the part is no longer in inventory.

The lack of replacement parts is a continuing problem for Waterworks, especially parts for discontinued faucets. The inability to get replacement parts constitute fully half of the customer complaints we receive about the company.

The Waterworks faucet warranty has many problems. It is not the worst warranty we have seen in the faucet industry, but it is close.

It is what we call a "Barnum Warranty" after the famous showman, philanthropist, and carnival huckster, Phineas T. (P.T.) Barnum. It appears to promise a lot at the top of the warranty but then takes most of it away down the page.

It is convoluted and confusing, full of ill-defined and unexplalined terms, ambiguities, and contradictions. It requires very careful parsing just to figure out what it actually guarantees. In the end, it guarantees very little.

Major problems with the warranty include:

So, to recap, here, in a nutshell, is what the Waterworks warranty actually provides:

Summary: Waterworks Residential Faucet Warranty

By no stretch of the imagination is this a lifetime warranty.

We cannot help but wonder if anyone at Waterworks has actually read its warranty.

It has all the earmarks of a warranty cut-and-pasted from bits and pieces of other warranties without regard to whether the various provisions actually fit together.

Most likely it was not written by a lawyer. If it was, however, he or she badly needs an immediate refresher on legal drafting and warranty law.

We suspect that Waterworks does not actually intend these inane results, and they are probably not enforced in actual practice. But, they could be, and in a court action, they almost certainly would be. Courts tend to be literal about warranty language.

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers


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

Learn how to read and interpret faucet warranties at Faucet Basics, Part 6: Under­stand­ing Fau­cet War­rant­ies.

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

Because it excludes major components from lifetime coverage and considering the Barnum surprises buried here and there in the warranty language, we rate the Waterworks warranty as very sub-standard for the North American market.

The standard North American lifetime fau­cet warranty guarantees all parts of a faucet including all finishes (except actual ) for at least as long as the original buyer owns the faucet and lives in the residence in which the faucet is initially installed. The Waterworks warranty falls far, far short of that standard.

Waterworks' short five-year warranty on chrome and nickel finishes is particularly baffling.

We have never heard of a company other than Wat­er­works that characterized chrome or nickel as a living finish. Technically it's true that they will tarnish, but the tarnish is nearly invisible and easily removed by routine cleaning.

Chrome has been the most common faucet finish since the 1920s when chromium metal became cheap enough for use on faucets. We doubt that any user anywhere has ever complained about tarnish on a chromed faucet. Before chrome, nickel was the most common faucet finish, serving the industry well for nearly a century.

We see no reason that chrome and nickel should not be viewed as lifetime finishes with an actual lifetime warranty.

Understanding Finish Warranties

A finish warranty does not protect against anything that can go wrong with a fau­cet finish.

It protects against defects caused by faulty materials or errors in the finishing process, generally subsumed under the rubric "manufacturing defects."

Delaminating, peeling, blistering, and spalling are the usual manufacturing defects. These are extremely rare.

Most problems are caused by overzealous cleaning and ordinary wear and tear, neither of which are covered by a finish warranty.

If it peels, the company pays, but if you scratch it or discolor it with harsh cleaning chemicals – well, you should have been more careful and you are on your own.

The Waterworks website is colorful, well laid out, and even dramatic in places. It was having a problem with its vertical scroll in the Firefox browser when we tested it, but not with Chrome, Edge, or Safari. Hopefully, by the time you read this, the problem will be fixed.

Navigation is menu-driven and intuitive. It adapts well to various screen dimensions from desktop to smartphone. The search function is very robust so long as it is restricted to products and product features (configuration, finishes, etc.). With non-product terms like "warranty", it does not work.

The information provided about Waterworks faucets is generous but falls short of the complete picture needed for a well-informed faucet-buying decision.

Each faucet is briefly described with the list price and available finishes. Selecting a finish re-displays the faucet in the chosen finish.

Visualization of the faucet is excellent. Faucets are pictured in a single 3/4 view supplemented by either additional views including views of the faucet installed or a 360° feature. Clicking the 360° icon displays the faucet in a view that can be rotated to almost any angle by your mouse. The view can be zoomed in to closely examine even the smallest detail of the faucet.

More detailed information is available in downloadable "technical documents" in .pdf format. These include a "specification document" that lists the details of the faucet. It may include a measured drawing, but not always. For some faucets, the drawing is in Installation Instructions. A measured drawing is useful in deciding whether a faucet will fit your sink.

Links are available to installation instructions and care & cleaning instructions. An exploded parts diagram (entitled "service parts diagram,") is available for most but not all faucets, as are 2D and 3D CAD drawings. CAD documents are not particularly useful to consumer buyers but are helpful to architects and designers specifying a Waterworks faucet.

What's missing are:

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers

Valve Cartridge

Never buy a faucet unless you know the type of cartridge used in the faucet and who made it.

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 and perhaps you should consider a different faucet.

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

Buying Rule for
Smart Faucet Buyers

Spray Head (Wand)

Never buy a faucet with a spray unless you know the material in the spray. If the material is not identified on the company website, you can usually find out from customer support with a telephone call.

For more information about faucet materials and the problems with plastic, see Faucet Basics, Part 1: What are Faucets Made of?.

Waterworks is not a faucet company for the budget-conscious.

The faucets are indecently expensive, as befits something manufactured mostly in France by THG. Faucets and handles are priced separately, and anything but a nickel finish can drive the price straight into the ionosphere. The company's prices are at or just shy of "if you need to ask, you can't afford it."

French-made faucets loosely similar to Waterworks styling include both also quite expensive. American-made or -assembled faucets with approximately the same period look include


For late 19th century American styles of good quality with impeccable finishes try

For the most technologically advanced luxury faucets, try These faucets have none of the verve of Waterworks styling but include super ceramic cartridges that are likely to actually last a lifetime.

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


1. The noble metals are Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, and Gold. Silver is sometimes included in this group although it does tarnish. Its tarnish, however, is not oxidation. It is a reaction with air-borne sulfur.

2. The usual term is manufacturing defect or, more rarely, factory defect, both of which have well-established legal definitions.

3. In requiring this interpretation Mag­nu­son-Moss follows the ages-old legal doctrine of contra proferentem. An ambiguous term in a document whall be construed against the writer of the document.

4. Most faucet warranties exclude (the legal term is "disclaim") consequential and incidental damages without ever explaining what they are, and the Waterworks warranty is no exception. Very briefly, these are damages other than the defect in the fau­cet itself. For example, your Water­works fau­cet leaks and damages your kitchen cabinets. The leak is a "direct damage" to the faucet. The damage to the cabinets is a "consequential damage". It is a "consequence" of the leak. The cost to make a warranty claim is an "incidental damage." If you need to hire an appraiser to estimate the loss in value of your damaged cabinets, the appraisal fees are an "incidental damage." Col­lect­ively, consequential and incidental damages are often called "indirect" or "special" damages.