Once seen as purely functional, the bathroom is now seen as a luxury room, with many people creating a spa-like sanctuary in their own home. Choosing the right tapware to match your bathroom will help complete your desired look. There is a huge range out there, in varying finishes and styles, so we've listed the features you should consider and the pros and cons of different taps to make your decision-making easier.
One of the most important features of a tap is its water efficiency. You can also attach aerators and flow controllers to your taps that can reduce water usage by up to 13 litres per minute.
Temperature control is one of the most important aspects of tapware, especially if you have young children. The ideal tap will heat water to a set temperature, instantly, every time. Alternatively, water companies sell temperature control pads where you can pre-set the temperature as part of the water heater.
Choose tapware to match the décor of your bathroom. There is a huge range out there, made from polished chrome, brushed stainless steel and porcelain. Available in varying shapes and colours, you are bound only by your budget.
Ease of use
There's nothing more annoying than spending 10 minutes in the morning trying to get the shower temperature just right because the taps are difficult to use. When you're buying tapware don't be afraid to turn them on and off to get a feel for how they work. Some taps are designed to be especially user-friendly - ask the store attendant to show you tapware with this feature.
TYPES OF TAPS/FAUCETS
Also known as a washerless faucet.
Uses a rubber diaphragm or two metal, plastic or ceramic discs with holes that align to let the water flow or close to shut off the water flow. Ceramic plates are more difficult to damage than rubber seats, but hard water can sometimes cause problems with the ceramic cartridges, such as squeaking or sticking.
Single-handle faucets that use stainless steel ball design have just one moving part and are a durable alternative.
Reduces leakage problems that result from worn washers.
Easy to repair because most new models have the water-control mechanism housed in a replaceable cartridge.
Replacing a cartridge is an easy do-it-yourself project, compared to working on conventional faucets. Most faucets that offer this convenience are labeled "self-contained cartridge."
Also known as a washerless faucet.
A single-handle faucet that uses a ball with openings in it to control hot and cold water.
May leak either at the spigot or at the handle.
Leaks from the handle are usually caused by improper adjusting-ring tension. To stop the leak, adjust the tension.
Worn cam seals can also result in leaks at the handle.
Worn spring-loaded, soft rubber seal assemblies usually cause dripping from the spigot.
Also known as a washer-type or stem faucet.
When the spindle is turned down, the washer or disk attached to its lower end is pressed tightly against a smoothly finished ring or ground-seat that surrounds the flow opening to shut off the water flow. If the washer and seat do not make a firm contact at all points, water will leak. This usually happens when the washer becomes worn.
Seats in faucets that are not removable may be reground with reseating tools.
A washerless faucet.
Water is controlled by openings in the two discs. When the discs are rotated to align, the water flows. When the discs are misaligned, the water shuts off.
May have one or two handles. Fix by replacing the O-rings or, better yet, replace the whole disc.
Tub & Shower Faucet
Usually combination style, where hot and cold mix in a single arm.
Available in different patterns, they can be built into the wall or flush mounted on the wall above the bathtub.
In three-valve bath and shower faucets, two valves control water and a third diverts water either through the spout or to the showerhead.
Two-valve tub and shower faucets have an automatic device on the spout that, when activated, diverts water to the showerhead.
Two-valve tub fillers and shower fittings fill either the tub or control water in the shower, as do the tub and shower faucets
Lavatory & Kitchen Faucets
Often come in a combination style, where hot and cold mix in a single arm.
Are available in several different patterns.
A Ledge-Mounted faucet is mounted in a horizontal position.
Standard lavatory faucets are made with 4" centers.
Wide Spread faucets are made with adjustable center measurements up to 12".
The Wall-Mounted unit is connected to pipes coming through the wall above the sink. It is mounted vertically.
The most common size in kitchen sink faucets is 8" center, but 6" and 4" are also available.
Concealed faucets are mounted underneath the sink, with only handle flanges and spout visible.
Exposed faucets are mounted on top of the sink, with or without sprays.
A mixing faucet, known generally as single lever, is produced by a number of manufacturers as swing spout kitchen faucets, lavatory faucets and bath faucets. They ordinarily operate by pushing the upright lever straight backward for a 50-50 opening of hot and cold water, back and to the right for cold, and back and to the left for hot water. They have the advantage of being quick-opening and closing, and nearly all have complete repair kits.
An Over-The-Counter faucet is easier to install because there is no need to crawl under the sink and reach behind the basin to secure the faucet. It comes with factory-installed flexible supply lines and a spring-loaded toggle, with the screw head concealed by the escutcheon.
Mounts either on laundry tubs or on the wall above the tub. Most fiberglass tubs require a ledge faucet with 4" centers.
Sometimes furnished with a standard 3-3/4" hose thread outlet on the spout. Most codes require the use of a vacuum breaker attachment if the outlet contains threads to prevent water contamination.
Is a faucet located on the outside wall of the house that easily hooks to garden hoses.
The best type is a frost-proof sill cock, made of heavy red brass, that looks and works like any ordinary faucet. However, water flow valves are located inside the building where it is warm.
The anti-siphon frost-proof sill cock employs integral back-siphon and back-flow devices. These serve to prevent potential back-siphonage, which, if unchecked, could compromise the safe potable water supply to the home. Hose-attached garden sprays and other pressurized canisters can potentially link a cross-connection if a pressure charge occurs when the frostproof is in the open position.
The anti-siphon frostproof sillcock allows for outside spigot usage in freezing climates. The closing member (seat washer) is located inside the heated building.
TAP PRICE AND BUDGET
Tapware varies greatly in price. Before you fall in love with the latest design from Milan, work out your budget and ask only to see taps in that price range.
SOME MORE TIPS ON BUYING TAPS/FAUCETS
Always pick a double-levered faucet for the bathing area. This way you can regulate hot and cold water flow. A single levered faucet would do for the washbasin.
Faucets that have to be turned open tend to wear out quickly. Opt for those that open by lifting up a lever.
A stopper for the drain would do you good if you need to soak your hairbrushes, combs etc. before you wash them.
If you are the kind who prefers showering to soaking in a bathtub or a bucket bath for that matter, invest in a good quality showerhead that allows you to adjust the pressure of the water. Otherwise a simple showerhead will do.
Depending on your bathing style you can completely avoid a telephone (hand) shower.
You could also get an adjustable overhead shower which will double up as a telephone shower too.
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