Choosing a bathroom sink faucet is more complicated than heading to the plumbing fixtures aisle at the hardware store and finding a design that looks attractive. There are a few key faucet feature considerations that can determine how easy the sink will be for you to fix in the future, which can save you on plumbing costs, and how easy the sink will be to install. A couple of the features also determine how the faucet functions in day-to-day use and that can determine how much you enjoy the faucet in the future.
What are some of the important features to consider when buying a bathroom sink faucet?
Single-Bodied or Widespread Mounting
There are two main types of mounting styles for bathroom sink faucets: single-bodied or widespread. A single-bodied faucet has the faucet and control knobs or levers all attached to one base piece for easy installation. A widespread faucet setup has the knobs and faucet as three individual pieces.
If your sink already has pre-drilled holes with standard spacing or you have the ability to drill your own holes, a single-bodied faucet will offer the easiest installation process. You basically only need to drop the faucet into the holes, hook up the water lines, and you are good to go. On the downside, there isn't any room for personal configuration since the valves are fixed and you will need to hook up the water lines in the indicated direction.
Widespread faucets are good if your sink has pre-drilled holes with an unusual configuration or spacing and you don't want to drill new ones. The widespread style also gives you some wiggle room with configuration as the valves can be switched, which means you get to decide the side that has hot or cold water.
Every bathroom faucet has a valve inside that controls how the water comes out of the spout. The type of valve can cut down on maintenance and make for easier repair work if necessary. Due to the near-constant presence of water, metal or ceramic valve bearings are the most durable in general and thus lower maintenance. Three popular, durable types of valves are the compression, ball, and ceramic disc valves.
Compression valve faucets are one of the most common and feature a metal stem that moves up and down according to whether water should come through the faucet or not. Ball valves utilize a ball – go for a metal ball rather than plastic for durability -- that swings around to block or unblock the water flow. A ceramic disc faucet is a bit more complex in that there are two flat ceramic discs that move apart or press tightly together to allow in or stop the water.
Control and Stopper Types
Choosing control and stopper types is part cosmetic and part functionality. Knob controls are classic and homey feeling to many homeowners. Levers are easier to turn even for small children, which can be a good or bad thing depending on the situation, and can have either an ultra modern or rustic look according to the construction material.
The traditional stopper type in a bathroom sink is the pop-up stopper, which has a rising and falling stem on the rear of the faucet and an attached, rising plug in the bottom of the sink. There are other stopper styles available but consider going with the standard on stopper type since a pop-up is easy to fix and use. For more information or for help choosing and installing your faucet, talk to Gopher Plumbing Supply or another plumbing supply expert near you.