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How to choose an American faucet
When you do need to select a new faucet for the bathroom, you quickly discover that having just a little bit of basic knowledge will make purchasing your faucet much easier. This article gives you some basic information you should know before making your purchase.
Things You (And We) Must Know
If you are completely remodeling your bathroom you can select almost any faucet and sink combination, but there are some things you'll want to keep in mind. If you want to fit a faucet into an existing sink, or if your bathroom has limited space, you may find that your choices are limited. Either way, there are some basic things you must know when picking out a new bathroom faucet:
How the faucet is or will be mounted (wall mounted or on the sink)
Whether you want one handle, or separate handles
The number of holes in your sink
The distance between the two outer holes
Wall or Sink Mount faucet?
Wall mounted faucets are sometimes more difficult (and yes, more expensive) to install. But their longer spouts and attractive handles often look like works of art, and they can make a big difference in the appearance of a bathroom. Sink mounted faucets are more typical, and are generally less expensive to install and replace. If you are simply replacing a faucet and not the sink, your decision is already made. If you are remodeling, your decision depends on your personal style and preference.
One or two handles?
Even if you have two or three holes in your sink, you can probably install a single-handle faucet if that's what you prefer. This choice is largely a matter of individual taste and style. Neither choice is better, so let your sense of design guide you.
How many holes in your sink?
If you have an existing faucet that covers all the holes, you probably can't tell how many holes your sink has by just looking at it from above. Someone needs to look under the sink, count the holes, and measure the distance between the two outer holes.
How far apart are the (outer) holes?
Some bathroom sinks have only a single hole, which will limit your choice to a faucet designed for a single-hole sink. Most, however, have holes that are either 4" or 8" apart (but some sinks don't follow convention, which is why a look underneath is often necessary). For a 4" sink, you can use either a "centerset" or "mini-widespread" faucet. A centerset bathroom faucet is made so that the distance between the handles (the center of the outer holes) is 4". These faucets often combine the handles and spout together on a base unit. This configuration works well in small bathrooms with small sinks and limited space. A mini-widespread faucet gives you a bit more design flexibility because it has three separate pieces designed for a 4" hole configuration. For larger sinks, you might have holes 8" apart. In this case you must use a widespread faucet that generally has handles separate from the spout and that is designed for these larger configurations.
Other Things To Consider
There are a few other things to consider, but the choices here become more complex. Without getting into too much detail, these choices concern the type of valve your faucet uses to stop and regulate the flow of water. The important point to remember is that the kind of valve that's used plays a role in its reliability and the cost of the faucet.
· Compression valve faucets are the old "rubber washer" faucets. They can be repaired, but will generally wear faster than other types of faucets and are becoming less common.
· Ball valves have slots inside the faucet that control the mixture and amount of hot and cold water that's allowed through the spout. These valves don't use washers like compression valves but they have more moving parts, making them more complex.
· Cartridge valve faucets have two hollow sleeves inside the faucet that open or close holes to control the water flow. They have fewer moving parts than a ball valve but they do have seals that can wear out and require replacement. Replacement cartridges can normally be found, however, so this is a reasonable choice if the price fits your budget.
· Ceramic disc faucet valves make use of two hard, highly polished ceramic disks that slide against each other to control the water flow. These faucets are usually more expensive, but they are generally considered the most durable and longest-lasting type of faucet valve.
Compression Valve Faucet Ball Valve Faucet
Cartridge Faucet Ceramic Disc Faucet
Spout Length, Finish and Finish Warranty
We suggest you think about how the faucet looks and feels based on how you will use it, and about how well it matches other fixtures in your bathroom (polished brass vs. antique brass or chrome, for example). If you are remodeling your bathroom and replacing all the fixtures, remember that a shiny finish (polished brass or chrome) may need more frequent cleaning while a brushed finish may be more forgiving of fingerprints and spots. Also, consider whether a faucet is designed to "naturally age". This means that the faucet will not retain its original look but will instead develop a patina, or aged look, over time. These natural faucet finishes may be more easily damaged by harsh cleaners, so keep this in mind as you make your selection. And don't forget to think about how you will be using the sink. A very short faucet spout makes it hard to fill containers such as watering cans or humidifiers using that sink, and many people forget this as they select a faucet until it's too late.
Finally, find out if the warranty is the same for both the inner parts of the faucet and the finish. A warranty that covers the internal parts may be different than the warranty for the finish, so ask about this and read the packaging as you make your purchase.