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Are the bass cartridges usually harder to get out than the plastic cartridges?
YUP. depending on mineral content, you might actually wind up just telling homeowners to replace some. Corrosion can get so bad that sometimes you damage the valve body trying to remove them, they're almost welded together on older faucets.
On topic..apparently I'm another face in the crowd, Moen or Delta for faucets...easiest to service in the industry, parts are everywhere, great customer service with the MFG's.
Kohler is an easier install with the screws in the basin nuts for stability, though usually more pricey, they make solid faucets...nothing flops. Future service can be another thing though...
As for shower valves, well, Symmons takes the cake here in my state. I'd wager as much as 50% of households have Symmons valves in their baths here. Pitfall...they're brass, the seats can be a nightmare sometimes. Delta & Moen are plastic internals...good for service, bad for sturdiness.
I have had good luck with Moen. It is nice to have a faucet company that guarantees both it cartridges and its finish (life shine) plus I see the sales rep for Moen around all the time so if I need extra parts he has them in his car and gives them out freely. With Delta I have a problem with the seats and springs wearing out in about 6 months.
________ Iolite vaporizer