Here are some tips for shopping for plumbing fixtures from Bedroom and Bath Ideas magazine.

- Porcelainized cast iron is an extremely durable and attractive finish for sinks and tubs, and can keep water warm for long periods of time. It's extremely heavy, however, and a tub may require extra floor support.- Enameled steel doesn't wear as well as cast iron but is especially good for remodeling because it's light enough to move easily.

- Stainless steel is light, durable and unaffected by household chemicals. Used primarily for sinks, it tends to collect spots from hard water and soap residue.

- Vitreous china is easy to clean and has a lustrous surface but can crack or chip when struck. It's traditionally used for sinks and toilets.

- Fiberglass-reinforced plastic can be molded into novel shapes, but abrasive cleaners may cause damage. Many less expensive tubs are made of this light material.

- Cultured marble is an inexpensive alternative to the real thing. It looks good, but abrasive cleaners may damage the finish.