Faucets & Fittings

Bathroom faucets add both style and function to any bathroom. With so many styles to choose from, it's easy to find a faucet that is not only easy to use, but also enhances a bathroom's decor.

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Types of Bathroom Faucets

There are four kinds of faucets:

  • Compression valve
  • Ball valve
  • Ceramic disk
  • Cartridge faucets.

Compression valve faucets use rubber washes or seals that close against a valve, regulating the flow of water. Turning the handle off turns off the control of water. Compression valve faucets are prone to leaking, but are easy to repair. The other three kinds--ball valve, ceramic disk, and cartridge--don't use washers or the "on and off" mechanism, but do use O-rings and neoprene seals to prevent leaking. Ball valve faucets use a steel ball to regulate both the flow and the temperature of water.

Maintenance of Bathroom Faucets

Because ball valve faucets don't use washers, they are easy to maintain; replacing the steel balls is both inexpensive and convenient. Ceramic disk faucets require almost no maintenance, and although they rarely wear out, they are also considerably more expensive than other faucets. Cartridge faucets also require almost no maintenance, and are also very expensive.

Choosing the appropriate style of faucet for a bathroom can dramatically improve the room's appearance. Faucets come in both double-handle and single-handle styles. Double-handle faucets have separate levers or knobs for hot and cold water, allowing more precise control of water temperature. Single-handle faucets have only one control, usually a side-mounted lever or a center-mounted knob. There are also wall-mounted faucets, usually used with vanity bowls, which create a more modern, streamlined look.

Materials for Bathroom Faucets

Chrome and brass surfaces are the most common styles for bathrooms, and are available in both polished and brushed finishes. Chrome is the most popular because it doesn't corrode or scratch even with frequent or long-term use. It is also easy to clean. Brass, though also popular, isn't as durable as chrome and can rust. Pewter, nickel, and copper are also frequently used. For a unique look, specialized finishes such as brushed nickel, matte brass, antiqued bronze, and black iron can enhance a bathroom's decor. Many finishes are designed to be easy to care for, resisting corrosion, tarnishing, and discoloration. For a touch of color, powder-coat epoxy can liven up any faucet, and is easy to clean. However, it doesn't resist scratching or stand up to cleaning the way chrome and brass do, and it chips easily.