When you walk into your plumbing supply store, you might feel a little bit overwhelmed by all of the different choices. Bathroom faucets come in numerous sizes, numbers of holes, finishes, and heights.
How do you know which one is right for you?
Well, there are a few ways to narrow down which bathroom faucet you might need.
The first thing you should consider is the functionality of your faucet. Is this going in a high traffic bathroom such or is it going into a low traffic area such as a guest bathroom? If you are replacing the sink in the master bathroom, you should probably look into one that is functional before all else.
You need to know if the faucet mounts to the sink or the wall. If it mounts to the sink, then you need to know how many holes are in your sink. Faucets usually come in either centerset or widespread. These terms refer to how far apart the mounting holes are in the sink. For some center set faucets, the handle and the spout are combined. Typically, you will see two-handle center set faucets with the handles and spout all mounted to the same baseplate. Widespread faucets, on the other hand, are typically three separate pieces: the two handles and the spout.
The valves are the part of the faucet that actually controls the flow of water. This is typically one of the areas responsible for leaks. So, the functionality of a faucet is largely dependent on the reliability.
Your plumbing supply store will typically have four kinds:
Ceramic disc valves are considered the most durable and long lasting. They are made of two ceramic discs that slide against each other. This motion opens and closes a pathway for water.
Cartridge valves are not quite as reliable as ceramic discs, but they do have very few moving parts, which means that less can go wrong. These devices consist of two moving sleeves that align or block holes that allow or restrict water flow. They do, however, have seals that can require replacement.
Ball valves are typically only seen on single-handle faucets. These devices control the amount of hot and cold water flowing through the spout with slots in them. They have many moving parts that make them more likely to fail.
Compression valves are the ones most often seen in faucets. They are the simplest kind and also wear out the fastest. They are composed of a screw-like appendage in the handle that presses a seal inside of it.
Choosing the right kind of faucet at your plumbing supply store begins with considering your needs. The finish and style of a faucet will not seem nearly as important if it keeps leaking. In a low-traffic area like a guest bathroom, a simple compression valve will probably suffice. You can save money on the costs and focus on the aesthetics. However, in a high-traffic area, you might want to spend the extra money on something more reliable like a ceramic disc valve. If the faucet regularly leaks, you will probably end up wasting the money you saved.
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