The sink is often the primary statement of style in the bathroom. It's immediately visible, central to the space, and (we hope) used every time. You'll encounter a wide variety of handles and spouts in just about every discernible style, each designed to complement a different style of basin. Here are some of the most common types:
This common type of faucet features independent spout and hot and cold water handles. You'll find sink basins and countertops pre-drilled for widespread faucets with holes anywhere from 6 to 16 inches apart.
These easy faucets are made for sink basins predrilled for 3-hole installations at 4 inches. The spout and handles are mounted on a single base unit below, but appear as 3 separate pieces at the sink.
True to their name, these faucets mount on basins and countertops with a single hole in the center. They may have a single-handle mixing lever, two handles, or a touchless mechanism - many come with a deck plate to compensate for pre-drilled 4-inch holes.
For an especially clean countertop or above-the-counter basins, a wall-mounted faucet is best. These require basins with no pre-drilled holes and a separate wall-mounted valve and drain for installation. When installing a faucet that comes out of the wall, make sure the spout reaches almost to the middle of the basin and that the basin is deep enough to prevent splash-out.
Another option for above-the-counter basins is a vessel faucet, a single-piece spout and handle that rise independently from the countertop. Measurement is essential for this type, as the spout must be high enough and long enough to reach into the vessel.
Most often found in commercial applications, touchless faucets take a distinctly hands-off approach to keeping things clean in the bathroom. With automated on-off and regulated temperature, these faucets are a great way to limit maintenance, maintain cleanliness, and save water.
If you're designing a shower from scratch, the possibilities are truly endless. But most of us are re-doing or modifying an existing shower, so there are some limitations. Understanding your options is the most important factor in making your shower both steamy and dreamy.
Pull or push the single wall-mounted handle and turn counter-clockwise to your desired water temperature. Single-handle shower faucets are practical and timeless. There's a huge variety of styles to choose from with this popular design.
Similar to sink faucets, a double-handle shower design lets you make the custom temperature mix that suits your mood. A double-handle design is a great way to match exactly the other fixtures in your bathroom.
A traditional fixed showerhead is mounted directly onto the wall, requiring little customization and zero extra hardware. They can be short or long, and offer any number of spray types and other features. From totally traditional to strikingly modern, there's a fixed showerhead to match your style.
A hand showers let you control exactly where the spray goes. With ergonomic sprayer handles and flexible hoses, you can get those hard-to-reach spots or spray a powerful rain directly into your hair. Most hand showers come with a mount that lets them operate hands-free like a fixed showerhead.
With a little creative plumbing, there are a surprising number of spa-like shower fixtures available for your home. From ceiling-mounted faucets that simulate a torrential rainfall to wall jets that cover your whole body with soothing spray, you truly can create a unique shower experience.
Love to rub-a-dub-dub? Not every bathroom has a bathtub these days, but those that are still soaking swear by its relaxing and regenerative qualities. The type of tub you have is often limited by the layout and plumbing in your bathroom, but a perfectly planned tub faucet will help you get your fill.
Floor-mounted, or freestanding, faucets are used for tubs without pre-drilled holes. They extend from pipes in the floor and usually attach to the wall or the basin itself for support. These are most commonly seen installed with clawfoot tubs or other designs with a continuous smooth edge.
If your tub has pre-drilled holes like sink basin, you'll need a deck-mount faucet to match. This design hides all the pipes and connections, making it great for modern designs where visual simplicity is key. Most drop-in tubs come with holes drilled 8 inches apart.
Most commonly seen in bathtub/shower combinations, wall-mounted tub faucets hide the plumbing in the walls and show only the handles and spout. These may install through pre-drilled holes in a shower/tub or directly into the wall. Look for lots of creative designs with one or two handles with a matching showerhead.
The trim is the part of the faucet that's visible - this includes faucets, handles, showerheads, nozzles, sprayers, etc. Behind or underneath the trim, you'll have either a standard valve or a diverter. A faucet valve controls the water temperature, separates and mixes the hot and cold, and acts as flow control. A diverter does the same, but also selects whether to send water to the a shower head, handheld, or both.
Your valve and trim kit must be made by the same manufacturer. They are not interchangeable!
You can't see them, but it's the valves in your bathroom that keep the water flowing exactly as intended. They also protect you from unpredictable changes in water temperature and pressure, so they're essential for safety, too. Compression valves with rubber washers used to be the standard, but they're prone to wearing and leaks - these days, ceramic disc, cartridge or ball valves are the reliable choices.
- Ball Valves: The most economical type, these valves only work on single-handle faucets.
- Cartridge Valves: Longer-lasting and easier to fix than ball valves.
- Ceramic Disc Valves: These are the most expensive, but they last for ages and are easy to fix.