Not all faucets are made the same, so it is important to consider what you want out of your new faucet before buying one. If you are doing a remodel or replacing an existing fixture, giving some thought to what kind of faucet best fits your needs can result in many years of use with few problems.
Faucets are sold for installation in either a sink or wall. If you are installing the faucet in an outside application, make sure to select one that is made for exterior use. Outdoor-rated fixtures come with extra protection against freezing temperatures and water damage from rain or melted snow. The same applies if you are installing it in a wet, such as a bathroom.
Type of fixture:
Another important factor you have to consider during faucet installation is the type of fixture. Faucets come in two types of fixtures: the deck-mounted faucet and wall-mounted. Deck-mounted faucets are fixed to the countertop with screws or bolting hardware and usually have supply lines below them leading to valves under the sink.
The wall-mounted faucet does not have supply lines under it but instead attaches to the water pipes above or below the sink. In either case, make sure your new faucet matches your sink and water pressure. For example, you cannot attach a wall-mounted faucet to a single handle valve.
Faucets are available in three common materials: solid brass, stainless steel, and nickel-plated brass. Solid brass faucets are by far the most durable of the three options, but they are also the most expensive. Brass fixtures will tarnish over time when exposed to water or air pollutants. To prevent tarnishing, clean, dry, and polish the fixtures several times a year.
Stainless steel faucets are rust-resistant, but they are also the most likely to corrode. However, because stainless steel is resistant to corrosion by water, some manufacturers have developed grades of stainless steel specifically for use in faucets that look like brass.
Nickel-plated brass has a gold or silver appearance that can mimic the look of chrome, but it is just polished brass. Although nickel plating increases durability, it does not prevent tarnishing as solid brass does.
The flow rate of a faucet is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). Higher GPM rates mean more water will pass through the fixture. If you have installed an aerator to restrict the flow, look for one with an even lower GPM than your previous faucet.
This is particularly true if you installed a two-handle faucet, which will require a higher flow rate to run the hot and cold water at the same time.
If you are doing a renovation, consider installing valves that let you turn off the hot and cold water independently while still allowing them to work simultaneously when needed. This can help conserve water and prevent unintended scalding.
You should also consider the style of valves you want: ball, rotary, or cartridge. Ball valves use a round handle that turns to control hot and cold-water flow. Rotary valves consist of two separate handles that turn in opposite directions to control hot and cold-water flow. Cartridge valves use a cartridge to control water flow and can be either single handle or two-handle faucets.
Standard faucets use a separate handle to control each valve. A single-handled faucet turns both valves with one handle, while two-handled fixtures have separate handles for hot and cold water. In either case, make sure the style of handle you want matches your wall spout or sink when deciding on the faucet.
It should also match your kitchen decor, so look for one in a style you like. For example, if you want an antique European-style kitchen, choose something that looks like it belongs in Europe.
If you are installing multiple finishes or valves in one project, be sure to include handles that coordinate with other features.
Faucets also come in a large range of styles to match your tastes and decor, such as traditional, contemporary, or modern. Traditional fixtures take the existing style into account with handles that resemble water taps or turn like knobs on antique faucets. Contemporary models use sleeker-looking metal finishes and either single- or two-handle faucets.
Modern fixtures are for contemporary style. They will feature simple, sleek lines and large spouts to fit in with the modern decor. Most fixtures come in different finishes to match the look of other kitchen appliances.
This is not true if you intend to change the other features on your sink or switch out the spout. In this case, you will need to replace the entire faucet assembly, including valves and handles.
Choosing a faucet is an important part of plumbing your kitchen sink. It affects the flow rate and the style, and it needs to coordinate with other features in the room. Do some research and look for one that matches your home decor, requirement, and budget.