With a catalogue of nearly endless choices, it can be a daunting task to choose plumbing fixtures, whether building, renovating or simply updating. One of the trickiest fixtures to decide on is the bathroom faucet. Many people overlook the lavatory faucet and need to choose something that fits their existing décor, but there are some questions that remain— what finish should I choose? What’s the best way to maintain my faucet? How do I narrow down the choices?
We asked two of our experts, Kyla Hazen and Ashley Kidd about the most common questions they get from customers about choosing and caring for bathroom faucets. Here’s what they had to say:
What are the most common questions people ask about bathroom faucets?
The number one question I’m asked is in regards to finishes: Which finish is easiest to clean?
There is a common misconception that brushed nickel is the easiest to clean because it doesn’t show water spots as quickly. While it’s true that you won’t notice the spots right away, those spots are still there — and once the spots are noticeable on brushed finishes, it’s much more difficult to get that finish looking clean.
It’s easier getting a polished finish looking clean, but if you regularly maintain a brushed finish, then it shouldn’t be an issue.
The next thing people ask about is how to clean their faucets
There are so many great cleaning products on the market but it’s important that folks are careful with what they use to clean their faucets with as to not damage the finish. If you damage a faucet finish with a cleaner, your warranty with the manufacturer is void. Typically, warm soapy water and a soft cloth is all you need. I always strongly recommend that you avoid using anything abrasive or with a high acidic content, and that they rinse the faucet off with water only. Dry with a soft cloth to ensure your finish is clean of any residue from the cleaner.
Then people want to know about parts availability/warranty/after service
The majority of our vendors at Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre offer a lifetime warranty on the finish and parts. Our customers can have peace of mind that we’ll be able to help them out if they ever have an issue with their faucet. We have access to local representatives for each of our product lines, and they are always very helpful with getting us what people need to make necessary repairs.
I find clients come from lots of different places when they start looking for faucets. Some are primarily concerned with design, and their “vision” for the space, while others have their budget in the forefront of their minds, but the three concepts that come up with almost every client at some point during our interactions are the following:
The functionality of their choices
Clients are concerned with the reach and height of their faucet for practical use, especially in bathrooms where they’ll be doing most of their personal grooming. We look at how they will be using this space, and what will be most convenient for them. For example, if going in a powder room, being able to get under it to wash their face would be less pressing than in a master bathroom. They also ask about the “splashiness” of a faucet’s water flow, and this leads to discussions of the sink they are choosing, as well as the use of aerators, and how far the water is falling, related again to the first issue of the height and reach of the faucet.
Second, clients are always concerned about the quality and durability of their product.
And especially lately, getting the best quality possible for their money. This leads to discussions of warranty, and the differences between product we carry and product found at big box stores. We only carry premium brands, which are much more durable and resilient than some of the items you find at the big box stores, and manufacturers are more willing to guarantee their product.
Lastly, clients will ask about design
Sometimes it is in conjunction with their budget, other times it is associated with concerns of durability and functionality. This question about design is answered in part when we talk about where the faucet will be used, and how. Sometimes, clients are completely satisfied paying for high design regardless of functionality, while other times design is the first thing clients compromise on in order to meet their budget. It all comes down to finding the place where personal taste meets budget.
How do you start choosing a lavatory faucet when there are hundreds of options?
When people come in looking for faucets they usually don’t know where to start, so I have some go-to questions for them to help determine what would be the best fit:
Is it going onto an existing sink?
This is important because if it is going onto an existing sink their selection will be limited to what will fit with the hole drilling(s) they currently have.
What is your favorite style?
Whether it be traditional, contemporary, or modern – this is helpful so that we can help further narrow down options to show them.
Do you have any other items in the bathroom already with a specific finish (hardware, lights, shower faucets, etc)?
This is helpful to know if they’re trying to coordinate it with something that’s already in the room. Nothing is worse than when a customer falls in love with a faucet, only to discover it’s not available in that polished brass finish that they’re trying to match to their existing fixtures from 1995.
Do you prefer one handle or two handles?
Single handle faucets are great for kids’ bathrooms, and often we can get escutcheons for the single lever faucets so that if they have a 3-hole (4-inch centre set) sink, the faucet will still work. Some people prefer the look or functionality of a dual handle faucet. If you have a bigger vanity, a 2-handle widespread faucet is going to fit the scale better. It also provides a more dramatic look. Faucets are the jewelry of the bathroom, after all!
I like to suggest that clients think about the design of their home, and how they want that reflected in their bathroom.
Are they looking for something modern? Traditional? Something in between?
Then there’s the overall shape to consider.
Do they like squares or rounder shapes?
Do they have a finish in mind?
This helps us narrow down where to start looking, as it helps me to know what product lines to avoid, or to steer them towards.
I find when clients come in and become overwhelmed by the selections, and don’t know where to start, reminding them of their general design plans helps to narrow their focus and calm those nerves.
What’s one of your favourite lavatory faucets and why?
At the moment, I’m very excited about the Brizo Litze. I saw sneak peaks of this faucet on their Instagram over KBIS 2016 – and I had the opportunity to see the full line when I was at Brizo headquarters in May, 2016.
I’ve been very eager for our display to arrive so that we can show it in its full glory. It’s my current favourite because every item available from the entire collection is so unique. It has a very industrial look to it and the details are out of this world. It’s definitely one of the most innovative lines I’ve seen in a while.
I’d have to say one of my favourite faucets is the Delta Vero. I like the lever on the side, and the shape of the handle; I find it adds an interesting contrast to the curve of the spout. The Vero is lovely in all the finishes, but Venetian Bronze is my top choice. It’s my favourite of all the versions of dark bronze finishes, because I love how heavily it is brushed and how much the coppery colour gleams through.
This post was written in collaboration with Kyla Hazen, one of our experts at our Winnipeg Robinson Bath Centre showroom. She’s especially gifted at taking people’s ideas and refining them into the perfect plumbing fixtures to fit their vision.
This post was also written in collaboration with Ashley Kidd, one of our experts from our Calgary branch. Ashley knows the catalogue inside and out, and knows how to narrow down the nearly endless options to something that fits your tastes and personality.
Visit your local Robinson Lighting & Bath Centre showroom for more one on one expert advice from a qualified plumbing or lighting professionals.