Review & Rating
1355 2nd Street Industrial Park
Sainte-Marie, Quebec G6E 1G9
Footnotes:1. "Kalia Inc. guarantees all aspects of its faucets to be free of defects in material and workmanship for normal residential use for as long as the original consumer-purchaser owns his or her home."
This Company In Brief
Kalia is a family-owned and -operated Canadian company located in Quebec that designs faucets that it then has manufactured in China and Taiwan by well-regarded faucet manufacturers. The owners, David and Marie-France Poulin and Bruno Raby were formerly associated with MAAX Bath, Inc., a leading Canadian manufacturer of bathwares. The family sold its interest in 2004, and some of its members founded Kalia, Inc. in 2007.
It sells faucets, tub fillers, bathtubs, showers, shower enclosures and other bathwares through showrooms and plumbing supply dealers, and over the internet. A dealer locator is available on its website.
The faucets are organized in six bath and eight kitchen collections. Most bath collections include coordinated faucets, tub fillers, showers and accessories. Kitchen collections often include both full-sized faucets for your cleanup sink and its smaller version (a "junior") for your prep sink with assurance that they will coordinate nicely. There is plenty of room in each collection for additions over time, which is clearly the company's intent.
Most Kalia faucets are very contemporary, although some, such as the Bellino wide-spread lavatory faucets evoke Art Deco styling and would be quite a home in an Arts & Crafts or Mid-Century Modern bath. For the kitchen, our kitchen designers especially like the very interesting Elito collection featuring high-arc faucets with a distinctive styling difference, especially in the Elito Surfer and Elito Diver.
Some of Kalia's designs are somewhat tentative — tweaks on existing faucet styles — but many are truly distinctive while staying firmly rooted in Northern European design tradition, so they are at the same time refreshingly innovative and comfortably familiar.
Four of Kalia's faucet collections are designed and prototyped in Canada by the company's in-house Studio Team. The company has identified the Elito, Kachet, Neris, and Monark collections as in-house designs. Industrial designer Rémi Théberge of Montreal created the Cité, Umani, and Bellino faucet collections. M. Théberge also designs for faucets and for the Italian faucet manufacturer Rubinetterie 3M (Treemme). He is the winner of numerous international design awards for his bathware designs, including two Good Design awards in 2014. Good Design is sponsored by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, and is the oldest and most prestigious of the international design competitions.
Yatin Bath Corporation, Ltd. created the distinctive Kurve kitchen faucet (pictured above). Yatin and its designer, Yu Qing, are starting to make a name for themselves in international design circles. One of Yaatin's faucet designs received honorable mention in 2014 at the very competitive international Red Dot Award competition. The Red Dot, sponsored by the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen in Essen, Germany, is one of the most sought after design awards, attracting as many as 17,000 entries that are judged by a panel of 40 noted international designers. Six Yatin faucets were nominated for the Designpreis Deutschland (German Design Prize) in 2012, and in 2007 a Yu Qing faucet won the German IF design award. The judges observed that the faucet
....conveys the Oriental spirit, synthesizing fashion with science. The simplest curve creates a harmonious appearance — a classic fusion of East and West.The Kurve (pictured above) is the only faucet sold by Kalia not designed in Canada. It is also sold by Build.com, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ferguson Enterprises, Inc.,, as the MK-750 Baffi commercial faucet under license by Kalia. Build.com has confirmed that it acquires MK-750 faucets from "a French Canadian company".The faucet is no longer in the Miseno catalog and may have been discontinued. The faucet is still available from Kalia.
The company has selected well-regarded manufacturers to make its faucets, including:
We like the quality of the faucets. The ones we took apart to examine were of thick-walled brass, carefully machined, with a heavy plating and reliable cartridges. All of our test faucets installed easily with no difficulty — but do read the installation instructions all the way through before installing the faucets. In operation, the mechanics of the single-handle mixing faucet were smooth and flowing with precise temperature and volume control. Two-handle faucets operated with equal precision.
Kalia faucet finishes are limited to the basics: chrome and brushed nickel. So, if you have your heart set on oil rubbed bronze or native brass, you will have to look elsewhere.
Most of the ceramic cartridges used in Kalia single handle faucets are from Kerox Kft and made in Hungary. Kerox is the mixing cartridge preferred by top European faucet manufacturers that don't manufacture their own proprietary cartridges. Its reputation is that it is extremely reliable and performs well even in relatively hard water. We judge it to be a very good cartridge.
The cartridge used in Cité kitchen faucets is made by Gear Plastic Co. Ltd., a Chinese company that, despite its name, manufactures ceramic cartridges used widely in better Chinese faucets. Cartridges used in the Kontour BF1285 and BF1412, and the Oze BF1289 and 1410 faucets are from Kuching International Ltd., which makes the well-regarded KCG cartridge in Taiwan.
For two handle faucets, the company has chosen stem cartridges made by Geann Industrial Co. Ltd. of Taiwan. Geann is gaining recognition as a cartridge on par with many of the best European products, and is becoming the cartridge of choice for faucet companies that buy faucets from Taiwanese manufacturers, including recently switched from German-made Flühs cartridge, generally believed to the world's best stem cartridge, to Geann cartridges for its entire line of upscale American-made faucets.
All of these cartridges are lifetime products, and are unlikely to fail, but if they do, Kalia promises to replace them under warranty, and for most of Kalia facets, installing the cartridge takes five minutes with ordinary household tools.
The company's warranty is average for the North American market, promising to provide replacement parts to repair a broken faucet or defective finish for as long as the faucet is owned by the original buyer. It is not transferable to any subsequent owner, and does not travel with the faucet if it is removed and reinstalled in another house. The warranty document is clearly written and does not contain any hidden trickery as is the case with many faucet warranties.
We rank customer service as average — competent but unremarkable. We were able to reach customer service agents by telephone with a minimal delay, and they seemed to know a great deal about their products and were open with information. But, two out of three attempted contacts by e-mail did not elicit a response, a situation we do not feel is acceptable.
The Better Business Bureau has no report on the company, which generally means that it has never received a complaint, but also means that the company has not been accredited by the BBB, and it should take steps to become so.
The website is polished and navigation is intuitive. We did discover some broken links, however, and at least one drop-down menu that did not function correctly. We identified these problems to the company which has undertaken to fix them. The information provided about the company's faucets is more than adequate, but we would prefer a lot more information on the faucet's web page rather than buried in .pdf specifications and installation instructions. The site's search feature does not appear on the home page for some odd reason. You have to go to a faucet collection to find the search box, and then it is about 1/3rd of the way down the page and very inconspicuous This is just poor design. The dealer locator section is clumsy and more difficult to use than it needs to be. It could use some redesign. In addition, there is no link to the home page anywhere on the site, most unusual.
The site is in French by default. To display the English version, you will need to click on the "English" link at the top right of the page. List prices are available in U.S. and Canadian dollars. The default is Canadian dollars. To display prices in U.S. dollars, click on the American flag at the top right of most pages.
The fact that the company is Canadian does not excuse non-compliance with the U.S. Energy Policy & Conservation Act since the faucets are offered for sale in the U.S. Last year a company spokesperson indicated that Kalia was not aware of the certification requirement, and should immediately take steps to comply. It has not done so. We don't understand the hesitation as the process takes just a few hours and costs nothing. Until the company complies, its faucets are illegal to sell in the U.S. It is not, however, illegal to buy one in Canada and bring it across the border, and it is not illegal to install the faucet in the U.S.
The faucets are not Watersence® qualified. As they almost certainly comply with Watersense® requirements, the company should seek the necessary qualification.
We judge these faucets to be a good value in a well-designed and well-made heavy-duty faucet backed by a solid, no-nonsense warranty. The average price of the faucets is somewhat less than we would expect of faucets of this quality, and compares favorably to other designer faucet lines. We also like the company. It is managed by people with a lot of experience with faucets who have created some very interesting designs, chosen top quality components and selected first line manufacturers.
It is unfortunate that legal sales are limited to residents of Canada.
We are continuing to research the company. If you have experience with Kalia faucets, good, bad or indifferent, we would like to hear about it, so please contact us or post a comment below.