Tips for Specifying a Faucet
Even though you turn on a tap multiple times a day, you often don't give it too much thought. You just twist, turn, or push the handle, and wait for the water to wash over your hands. Regardless of the design of the faucet, you still know how to immediately operate it. This is partially why we don't give them much thought. When it comes to specifying a faucet, however, there are a lot of decisions that could be made and we've outlined them in this guide.
Single Hole, Two Hole, or Three Hole Installation
The first decision you must make is whether you want a single hole, two hole or three hole installation process. With a new counter top you have the option to choose either installation method, however, it's important to note that the choice you make will influence future choices. This is because it's difficult to change from a three hole installation to a single hole installation later without having design flaws. The choice you make, however, is often not too influential on your ability to replace it, since most faucets come with an optional deckplate to cover unused holes.
So what's the difference between them?
Single Hole: Known as being the space saver of the three options, single hole installation is ideal for bathrooms that have small sinks and limited counter space. Traditionally the faucet includes one handle, however, in recent years motion sensor activation has been commonly seen for this sink type in commercial areas.
Two Hole: Installation of a two hole sink is commonly intended for prep sinks. This is because one hole is commonly used for a single-hole faucet, while the other one is reserved for an accessory such as a soap dispenser or sprayer.
Three Hole: It's very common to find three hole sinks because it provides the user with the option to control the temperature and water pressure of the sink. While not necessary, in most cases the faucet is installed with a deckplace that covers the three holes. Occasionally, however, the faucet is installed directly onto the sink.
Different Fixture Types
Once you've decided the installation type, your next step is to browse faucets that meet your installation demands. Below we've outlined the different faucet types and the installation styles of each.
If your sink has three or four predrilled holes, then you can install a center-set faucet. This is one of the most popular sink designs for homeowners as it allows the user to control the water pressure and temperature.
A single handle faucet allows the user to control the temperature setting, however, not the flow rate.
Depending on the style of the handle, some faucets allow for temperature memory. This allows the user to shut the water off at a desired temperature and turn it back on.
Although we mentioned the need to define the installation type, with a vessel faucet, it is not installed on the sink but rather behind it. This allows for more design flexibility since the installation can be specified to meet your design requirements.
While a widespread fixture requires a three-hole basin, it's the ideal choice if you're looking to have more control over your water temperature and pressure.
When considering the finish for your faucet, you want to ensure that it will coordinate with the finishes of your other bathroom accessories. Consider matching lighting fixtures, door hardware and towel bars with your faucet.
There are two common types of finishes:
Polished Finishes (metallic shine)
Brushed Finishes (silky-matte finish)
- Brushed Chrome
- Polished Chrome
Each type of finish requires a different level of maintenance:
Polished Finishes: Require you to constantly wipe and clean them in order to maintain their shiny appearance.
Brushed Finishes: Require less maintenance than polished finishes since they are capable of hiding water spots and fingerprints. This makes them an ideal choice for families with children.
Lever Handles: A lever handle is the most popular style because of their ease of use and compliance with ADA regulations. When choosing a lever handle, it's important to note that they are mostly compatible with a 3 hole design and more difficult to implement with a single hole sink.
Knob Handles: A knob handle can come in a variety of shapes including a classic ball, bun, oval, or egg -shaped. They can also come in various sizes which can increase the the grip and leverage. Typically, a knob handle is not ADA compliant and can be difficult for children or the elderly to use.
Cross Handles: Temperature can be controlled more freely with cross handles since there is a handle installed on either side of the spout. Similar to the knob handle, cross handles need to be twisted. While the user typically has control over hot and cold water because of the two separate handles, the style is not known for being ADA compliant.
Single Handle: With a single handle faucet, the handle is traditionally installed against the faucet body. The handle simultaneously controls the temperature and the flow of water. Single handles are known for their ease of use which makes them generally ADA compliant and ideal for children or older adults.
Motion or Touch Activated: While the technology for motion or touch activated faucets is relatively new, it has gradually become more popular - especially in commercial areas. The faucet is easy to operate with typically a simple touch or hovering motion of your hand, or wrist near the activation point. Unlike all of the other options that put the temperature and water flow at the hands of each user, a motion faucet has the water flow and temperature pre-determined.
Ultimately, when it comes to choosing a bathroom faucet, it's important to always keep the user in mind when specifying. By keeping them in mind, you'll be certain to choose a faucet that not only meets their needs but also exceeds them.
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