Walking into a hardware store to look at bathroom fixtures can leave the most selective person spoilt for choice, and somewhat confused. There are so many options, each with its own range of features and benefits, that it can be difficult to make a decision. When you are in this situation, it is important to remember that your bathroom fixtures are a long-term investment, as you can’t renovate the bathroom every time that a new trend in bathroom fixtures occurs. Therefore, the key is to choose carefully: Choose elegant fixtures that will remain stylish for a long time.
While your faucets and sinks are installed towards the end of the remodel, the rough plumbing is installed long before and placement matters. Therefore, you need to make your decision soon enough.
More importantly than style and fashion though, is the functionality and longevity of the fixtures. Here are some tips as they apply to each of the main bathroom fixtures.
Choosing Bathroom Fixtures: The Sink
Available in a variety of styles, you have to consider practicality when selecting your sink.
Drop-in sinks: These are the most economical, however it has the lip that meets your countertop, and this area can be challenging to clean.
Undermount sinks: Installed underneath the countertop, these are much easier to clean. They are also available at various price points.
Vessel sinks: These stand-alone bowls are generally more expensive, and chosen by designers for the flair they add to a bathroom.
Integral sinks: A convenient option, the integral sink forms part of the countertop.
Pedestal sinks: These freestanding units are ideal for smaller spaces and in some cases, combine the vanity with the sink.
Choosing Bathroom Fixtures: The Toilet
Who knew you had so much choice when it came to toilets?
Vitreous china: Most commonly used, vitreous china is most cost-effective and decoratively versatile. Additionally, the material is easy to maintain.
Metal: Contemporary designers often choose metal bowls, including copper and stainless steel. Metal toilets are a bit more costly, and require much more maintenance.
Glass: High-end establishments use glass toilets for a dramatic effect, however, glass can be fragile.
Cultured marble: Manufactured using a combination of polyester resin and marble, these toilets are a popular choice. Scratching is a risk with cultured marble toilets.
Choosing Bathroom Fixtures: The Faucets
Fancy faucets add drama to your bathroom, but unless you choose carefully, you can easily spend your entire budget on it. Since it is a focal point, many clients spend as much on their faucets as they do on their baths. Here are some common options:
Wide-spread faucet: Available in standard and mini, widespread faucets have separate handles for hot and cold water and the plumbing requires three holes.
Two-handle centerset: Both hot and cold handles are combined on a single base. This option requires two valves, each with a separate hole.
Single set: Similar to a centerset, the single set combines the single mixing handle and the spout in one. It requires one hole.
Wall-mounted: This option works well with freestanding and above-the-counter basins. It requires a wallmount drain and valve, and is easy to clean.
The style of bathroom will determine the type of finish used in your faucets. Oil-rubbed bronze is very popular, while both contemporary and traditional spaces can use polished nickel. Satin nickel is in the same price bracket as oil-rubbed bronze, while chrome is the least expensive.
Choosing the right bathroom fixtures will involve several visits to showrooms. Be sure to review warranties and speak to your plumber before you make final selections.