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BATHROOM TAPS & MIXERS
How noticeable your bathroom taps are depends upon the décor of the bathroom. Patterned wall tiles or wallcoverings can detract the eye from the taps, so if you are splashing out on beautifully designed, costly ‘designer’ taps, keep the background surfaces fairly plain and simple to let the taps stand out . It’s best that all taps – i.e. basin, bidet, bath and shower controls are from the same collection, to ensure a cohesive look in the new bathroom.
Types of Bathroom Taps
Taps and basin need to be chosen together, although once you have decided upon the model, there is usually a range of options – pillar, monobloc, three-hole, etc. However, there are a few phrases which are worth getting used to!
Deck Mounted Taps
Deck Mounted taps sit on the edge of a bath or basin, fitting into holes which are already in the rim of the bath or basin. Deck Mounted taps can also be installed into holes drilled into a counter-top; choose from two, three or four-hole sets (a pair of taps, a pair of taps plus waste and perhaps plus a deck mounted hand-held shower head).
Wall Mounted Taps
Wall-mounted taps are often used with vessel bowls or basins, you’ll need to check with your plumber regarding feasibility as any new pipework will need to be chased into the wall.
Monobloc mixer taps are a one-piece tap with a single spout, used for basins. Matching bath mixer taps generally have a two-hole fitting for hot and cold feed. The tap is operated with levers or handwheels.
Bath Shower Mixers
Bath-shower mixer taps can be deck mounted or wall mounted, and have a diverter, which can be a lever or push/pull button, to switch the water flow from bath to hand-held shower. These designs are a good choice for family bathrooms, allowing parents to help toddlers have a shower, and also to rinse out the bath after and cleaning, using the hand-held shower head.
Styles of Bathroom Taps
Styles once again fall broadly into two categories – contemporary and traditional. The combination of traditional bathroom taps with a simply designed bathroom suite works well, giving a flavour of a ‘traditional’ look without necessarily including a claw-footed tub and high-level cistern! Contemporary taps can be beautiful examples of fine craftsmanship, and are in many cases the absolute finishing touches of a modern design scheme. Take the time to try out different styles of taps in the showroom, handwheels, levers, spouts and dials need to be comfortable and easy to use.
Finishes of Bathroom Taps
The type of finish you choose can have a huge impact on the overall colour scheme and look of the new bathroom. Silver finishes – i.e. chrome and steel, are hugely popular and look good with virtually any choice of colour scheme. Gold finishes have waned in popularity in recent years, but there has recently been a strong trend for red or rose gold finishes, as well as copper, which are a welcome alternative for anyone weary of ‘silver’ finishes. Other options include black and bronze metallics. Traditional taps often have the option of ceramic handles or details – the St James Collection is particularly appealing, with a choice of black or white ceramics. Chrome and gold are plated finishes onto the brassware (tap fittings are referred to as brassware because the base fitting was made of brass, now it may be an alloy). Steel taps, especially those with a brushed finish look very elegant.
Other Tap Considerations
Bathroom taps are rated according to the bar pressure needed for the tap to work and flow correctly. High pressure taps and showers function at 1.0 bar and above, low-pressure taps operate at 0.3 bar and below. Choose the tap according to your water system – which will either be a low-pressure gravity fed system or a high pressure system. Gravity fed systems require a low pressure tap; high pressure systems need a high pressure tap. Competent bathroom suppliers and installers will ask and check with you what type of domestic heating/hot water system you have so they can make sure you have chosen the right taps and shower systems. Taps that include ceramic discs are long lasting and unlikely to leak – the ceramic disc has replaced traditional rubber washers.