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Bathroom Faucet Buying Guide

by Staff Writer

Oil-rubbed bronze bathroom faucet

Most of the plumbing fixtures in your home concentrate in the bathroom: sink faucets, bathroom tub faucets and shower fixtures. When it comes time to install new bathroom faucets during a home improvement project, there are many options and choices available. This bathroom faucet buying guide will help you choose the right bathroom faucets and fixtures to maximize functionality and style in your bath.

Buying a Bathroom Faucet:

  1. Faucet holes: If you're replacing an existing faucet in your bathroom, be sure that the deck of the bathroom sink has at least as many mounting holes as is needed for the new faucet. If you have an extra hole, you can fill it with a plug, but it will be difficult to drill new faucet holes if you don't have enough. Single-handle faucets (with an integrated handle and spout) need one hole for the handle/spout piece and may require a separate hole for a built-in soap dispenser. Traditional bath faucets with separate hot and cold taps require three holes for the taps and spout.

  2. Two-handle faucets: Two-handle designs offer a classic look. Adjusting water temperature is a bit easier, too, since you have two individual valves to adjust hot and cold water flow.

  3. Single-handle faucets: Single-handle bathroom faucets are more contemporary looking than two-handle faucets. The single-handle, also called a post, adjusts both the temperature and flow rate of the water.

  4. Faucet finishes: Faucets come in a wide array of finishes. The finish you choose will help shape the style for your bathroom. Remember to consider how the finish complements or contrasts with the color of walls and textiles in the room. Here are a few of the most popular bathroom faucet finishes you'll encounter:

  5. Chrome: One classic bathroom fixture is a chrome bathroom faucet. The silvery shine works well in a variety of styles, especially with contemporary decor. Chrome bath faucets require little maintenance and have great light-reflecting properties.

  6. Bronze: Bronze faucets and oil-rubbed bronze bathroom faucets give a classic feel to a room. The dark color of oil-rubbed bronze faucets is especially popular for bathrooms with an old-world influence.

  7. Brass: Shiny polished brass bathroom faucets look great in a traditional bathroom. The light golden color lends a formal look to the room. Brass also comes in unpolished, antique styles.

  8. Brushed nickel: Like chrome faucets, brushed nickel bathroom faucets are perfect for a modern bathroom. They share the same silvery hue, but brushed nickel faucets can look a bit warmer than chrome. Brushed nickel bathroom faucets are also low-maintenance.

  9. Faucet valves: Bathroom faucets use valves of different designs to control water flow and temperature. Each design has its benefits:

  10. Compression valve: These valves open and close by screwing a cylinder onto a rubber washer to create a watertight seal. Washers wear out over the years, causing leaks, but can be easily replaced.

  11. Ball valve: A ball valve uses a spherical disc with a hole in the middle to block water, turning to allow it to pass. They rarely leak and have few moving parts.

  12. Cartridge: The valve is replaced by a cartridge, which can be removed and replaced. The cartridge operates to open and close the water path.

  13. Ceramic disc valve: These valves slide ceramic discs over one another to open and close water paths. They are extremely durable and resistant to corrosion.

  14. Installation: Installing a new bathroom faucet is a relatively simple task, assuming you don't have custom plumbing fixtures to consider. Basically, you'll be disconnecting the water supply lines, disconnecting the old bathroom faucet from the sink and drain assembly, and then attaching the new faucet in place.

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