Sector: Plumbing

Market Overview: With housing starts expected to increase at an annualized rate of 6.6 percent over the next five years and home improvement projects at 2.9 percent, the market for plumbing products looks promising.

Three-quarters of the plumbing product manufacturers researched for this project are not manufacturing their products in the United States. However, the remaining 25 percent of companies who do manufacture in the United States currently meet 75 percent of the domestic demand. Most of the water efficient plumbing products made in the United States are manufactured by large, well-known OEMs.

Smaller OEMs who manufacture plumbing products made of stainless steel for the U.S. market have a much harder time manufacturing their faucets at the same cost as their larger competitors and generally make 100 percent of their faucets overseas. This is in contrast to their other product lines such as sinks, which given their size and shipping costs, are more often are made from 100 percent U.S. steel and are Buy America/ARRA compliant. Pricing pressure in the stainless steel markets has been a deterrent to returning faucet manufacturing to U.S. shore. The Chinese government currently subsidizes nickel for the steel industry, an element that improves its quality when used at low temperatures.

Imports are expected to continue to grow as part of domestic demand for faucets to 24.9 percent of the total. This will grow an already large trade deficit in this industry with the United States importing $1.6 billion in products as opposed to the $223.5 million exported to other countries. An estimated 72 percent of these products are coming from China. High-margin specialized valves, fittings and other flow control devices for water infrastructure projects and other commercial/industrial purposes are a growing export market for U.S. manufacturers and have been aided by a weaker U.S. dollar making it more affordable to purchase U.S. goods overseas. However, these valve exports still fall short of the number of imported generic valves used in construction and light manufacturing.

Conversely, porcelain products like toilets are heavy and require hand finishing. Because of high shipping costs and rising wages in countries like China, some toilet manufacturing has returned from overseas with both domestic and foreign owned companies producing toilets at seven U.S.-based manufacturing facilities. 

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Company Location
Watermark Designs Brooklyn, New York
Waterstone Faucets LLC Murrieta, California
Watertech Whirlpool & Bath Johnson City, Tennessee
Whedon Products Inc. West Hartford, Connecticut
William H. Harvey Company Omaha, Nebraska
Willoughby Industries Inc. Indianopolis, Indiana
Wolverine Brass Conway, South Carolina
Zurn Industries LLC Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Zurn Industries LLC Sanford, North Carolina
Zurn Industries LLC Erie, Pennsylvania
Zurn Wilkins Paso Robles, California