If you're planning a renovation, or just want to replace an old bathroom faucet set, here are a few things you'll need to know, along with a few tips that should help you pick the faucet that's right for you.

What is it made of?

You'll want to know what type of material the faucet is made of. Some faucets have plastic parts to make them less expensive but more prone to breakage. Others are made of brass, which is more expensive but more durable. Brass can tarnish, so make sure it has some kind of protective coating like chrome.

What kind of valve does it have?

This is the heart of the faucet, the part that controls the flow and temperature of the water. There are four main types:

  • Compression, the oldest type, uses rubber washers. Eventually the washers wear out and need to be replaced. You'll see these in faucets with two taps.
  • The ball type is seen on single-handled faucets, and works like the ball and socket joint in your shoulder. Like all single-handle faucets, they're more convenient because they free up one hand. They're fairly reliable, but they're also the oldest of the single-handle types. If you have one already, it may be due for a replacement.
  • The other two types, cartridge and ceramic disk, are the latest single-handle valves. Both are somewhat more reliable, but like all faucets, eventually some of them do break down and need repair or replacement.

If you're interested, we have an article on how to fix the four types of faucets.

What kind of finish does it have?

This is the coating or treatment applied to the faucet to protect it from wear and tear, and contributes to its look and style. Chrome or brass used to be the only ones available, but now there's a wide selection of colours, matte or glossy. Chrome tends to be the most durable because it's been around for so long, but new finishes like PVD (physical vapor deposition) are proving to be equally durable.


The faucet's design and looks are top of the list for some people, but style should not be more important than the other choices like how well it's made and how it works.

One function-related style consideration has to do with the spout. Depending on its height or shape, you may be able to do more things like hair washing. The handle type is another determiner - some people strongly prefer one handle over two, for example, but others like the simple functionality of two taps. Still others want to be rid of taps altogether with a hands-free model.


Finally, here are some tips that may give you more ideas or things to consider.

  • Think about replacing the faucet and the sink together. With just the faucet replacement, the mounting holes in the existing sink may limit your choices.
  • Tired of taps? Look at hands-free or touch-sensitive models.
  • Check for finishes and surfaces that are easy to clean.
  • Planning on washing hair? Some bathroom faucets have pull-out spouts like a kitchen faucet.
  • Above all, spend time thinking about how you'll use your faucet, and your bathroom, as well as the rest of the people in your house. You'll be thankful you did.

Need more advice on bathroom faucets? Get in touch with us. We're your Access.

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