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Choosing and Fitting... Taps

Nowadays the choice of taps is absolutely mind boggling and the right choice can make even a basic bathroom suite look spectacular! Today almost every tap is in a hardwearing chrome finish, although you can still source gold or other finishes.

Tap styles available include, a pair of pillar taps, mixer versions in a monobloc design or with diverters where tap heads are separated from the spout, even a bath filler inbuilt into the waste, the list is almost endless. The valve inside can use tap washers or ceramic discs to cut off the water supply. All types of tap are reasonably efficient and I believe that it is the styling that matters to ensure that the taps match the look of the suite their fitted to.

For example cross head Victorian style, (possibly with a telephone style bath shower mixer), will suit a period design suite better than a modern monobloc mixer set.

The most important thing to bear in mind when choosing your brassware, (almost all taps use brass, or brass alloy in their construction), is the pressure of your water. The bar pressure can effect the tap to the extent of it not functioning properly or possibly at all!

Also look at the projection of the spout, particularly into the basin, as if not sufficient, water can splash over the edge.

Bath shower mixers, ideal to wash hair or even the bath when cleaning, require the correct bar pressure, but even with this you will not necessarily get a constant balanced flow. Some mixers are thermostatic and this is by far the best solution as they are safer because they ensure you don’t get a cold or scalding jump in the water temperature.

If someone in your house has arthritis or mobility difficulties look at the ease of operating the head of the tap, some form of lever action should make life much easier for them.

All taps should have isolating valves fitted at the point where they meet the household water supply so that should a leak or maintenance be required in the future it is an easy matter to attend to.

High quality chromed taps will last a lifetime when cleaned and fitted correctly, gold is a softer metal and although it will not last as long will give long service if looked after properly. Abrasive cleaning removes the surface of any tap and a damp cloth and followed with a dry duster will be almost all the surface requires to bring the shine to a showroom finish. Lime scale caused by hard water can be more of a problem, careful use of a proprietary lime scale cleaner should remove any clinging to the edge of a tap spout or other affected part.

Published on in Choosing and Fitting, Taps by Fran