Above: Squash blocks installed to support load from above. Right: Load from above without squash blocks or blocking panels caused this web to buckle.
Kitchen and Bath product manufacturers selected for Professional Builder Best in Class survey
Our first-ever Kitchen and Bath Best In Class Survey reached out to interior design professionals and builders to find out what’s cookin’ in the kitchen (and bath).
Our first-ever Best in Class Kitchen & Bath Survey represents our groundbreaking effort to figure out the top brands in the industry. Our readers rated manufacturers based on the awareness, use and preference of their products within our survey.
In cabinets, the largest manufacturers have seen new upstarts offering eco-friendly and recycled content. They have responded in a big way, with Kraftmaid and Merillat leading the charge in all three categories.
Countertops show a dead heat between arch-rivals Corian and Formica, each sharing the same numbers in awareness and nearly the same in use within the past months. But it seems installers prefer to work with Corian in the field and even slightly prefer some other brands over Formica’s products.
You’ll never find more of a consumer influence on builders than when it comes time to choose appliances. GE carries the widest awareness—undoubtedly because of their full-speed-or-nothing approach to grabbing consumers. Whirlpool and KitchenAid are within hairs of each other in use and preference.
Kitchen Sinks and Kitchen Faucets might as well be mirror images. Kohler, American Standard, Moen and Delta are top dogs with Kohler in the lead in all except one curious category: more survey respondents reported a preference for Moen’s products in the Kitchen Faucets category.
On the bathroom side, Kohler faces little competition from American Standard, its closest competitor. Elkay enjoys much higher brand awareness over Sterling (a division of Kohler) but both are locked in use and preference.
Though Kohler again takes the lead in the bathroom when it comes to toilets, none of the other companies flushes the competition away. Toto ranks far behind American Standard in use over the past 18 months, yet American Standard only enjoys a five-point lead over the Japanese-founded Toto.
We based our reporting on highest brand awareness, use and preference of the manufacturers and their products. Like our other Best in Class surveys conducted by our sibling publications Custom Builder and Professional Remodeler magazines, respondents (549 in all) were plucked at random from the magazine’s readership and completed our survey between December 2007 and January 2008. We had an impressive rate and quickness when it came to responses, which can be attributed to a shorter, more to-the-point questionnaire.
Those surveyed include builders, architects and manufactured or modular home producers in addition to interior designers. Surveys were sent and completed via e-mail. The respondents identified the products they use in their kitchens and baths.
For each product category, respondents were presented with a list of brands and manufacturer names and were asked three questions:
- Of the [product] brands/manufacturers listed, which are you aware of?
- Which of these [product] brands/manufacturers has your company used in the past 18 months?
- Which one is your preferred brand/manufacturer of [product]?
Not surprisingly, names like Kohler, Moen, GE and Delta kept popping up first when it came to awareness and use. It seems, at least ostensibly, that the big names have the kitchen and bath market cornered, with smaller boutique firms claiming the rest of the pie. Names like Jacuzzi have become synonymous with the product they produce (The Kleenex Effect). But when it comes to faucets and sinks, Delta, Kohler and Moen carve up equal shares in awareness and are within mere hairs of each other in use and preference.
Below are the results of our first Kitchen and Bath Best in Class survey.
|Aware %||Used (Past 18 mos.)||Prefer|
|Countertops & Surfaces|