So, you’ve outfitted your bathroom with gorgeous tiles, your dream bathtub style, a statement vanity and sink combo and a great mirror. And now it’s time to add the finishing touch – tapware. The tapware in your bathroom will be one of the most commonly used elements in your home – both by you and by anyone visiting you. That being said, it’s important to take the time to choose the right tap design. You want something that will stand the test of time, both in terms of functionality and looks.
Replacing damaged or under-performing bathroom taps can come with additional costs as the plumbing may need to be modified and the tiles can get damaged. So, it’s wise to make sure you’ve made the right choice the first time around. But even though installing taps may seem like the simplest task when outfitting a new bathroom, once you delve into the sea of options, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Here’s everything you need to know about tapware to help you make the right choice.
A Word on Finishes
While there’s no rule that says everything in your bathroom should match, the space will look much better when the same type of finish is used on different faucets as well as other hardware such as showerheads, towel racks and toilet paper holders. When looking around a room, the eye tends to look for similarities to create an overall connection. And if things are too varied, it can create the feel of a cluttered space. That being said, opting for the same tapware finish can give the bathroom a more cohesive look.
And that brings us to an array of finish options. Chrome has been the most popular tapware finish for years now. It’s durable and has that shiny look associated with cleanliness. Brass or gold finishes are great for adding an old-world touch to traditional or vintage style bathrooms. Coated finishes such as brushed nickel, gunmetal and rose gold have rapidly gained popularity in contemporary bathrooms. And matte black finishes have a sleek, mysterious vibe that makes them perfect for Scandi-style or industrial style spaces.
However, it’s important to note that even faucets with the same finish often don’t look the same when they’re from a different manufacturer. So, if you’re new to selecting finishes, it often helps to purchase your taps from the same supplier and brand series.
Check the WELS Rating on Water-Efficiency
When you buy tapware from Australian bathroom supply stores, you’ll notice that most models come with a WELS star rating. WELS is short for Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards and it’s a rating that tells consumers how water-efficient a tap is. WELS ratings for bathroom taps can range from one for to six stars. The more stars, the more water-efficient the model and the more you can save on your water bills.
The most water-efficient 6-star models are actually low-flow water taps, or also called aerators. Low-flow tapware works by mixing air into the water flow. This gives you the feeling of full water-flow even though the volume of water is greatly reduced. A low-flow tap can reduce water use down to as little as 2L per minute. Compared to a standard tap that uses around 15-16L, the water savings are significant.
Don’t Forget Ease of Use
While you may get carried away by all the attractive tapware designs out there, don’t forget that bathroom taps should be utilitarian first and decorative second. Tapware is something you’ll handle for several times a day so it’s important that it’s easy to use. For instance, if you have a small basin and you need something that’s space-savvy and smart, consider a monobloc tap that features a single spout for delivering a mixture of hot and cold water. There are also faucets that can be mounted on the walls. In this case, the spout needs to be longer than standard faucets to be able to hit the sink.
Also, consider the age range of people using the tapware. For instance, a faucet with a small rounded bezel on top that needs to be turned might look on trend, but for an elderly person or someone struggling with arthritis, using it with be extremely difficult. Monobloc taps with a single leaver allow to turn the water on and off while applying only a small amount of force. This makes them a convenient choice for households with young children and elderly people.
If young children will be using the tapware, you may also want to choose a design that features softer, curved lines instead of sharp, angular edges in order to prevent injuries. This is especially important for bath tapware where children can bump their heads easily. A safer alternative can be a tap with a swivelling spout which can be moved out of the way when young bathers are using the tub.
Invest in Quality & Buy from Reputable Retailers
As I’ve mentioned, replacing tapware can be extra costly, so buy the best quality bathroom taps you can afford. This is especially important when choosing models with a brass finish. Quality brass finishes can offer tactile and visual pleasure for years to come. But poor-quality brass can quickly get discoloured and look dirty no matter how hard you try to clean it. So, imagine what kind of impression that can leave on people visiting you.
And since quality tapware can be expensive, make sure that you always buy from a reputable retailer who will be able to support you if any problems appear in the future. Make sure to check the warranty retailers offer on their tapware. It’s a good idea to buy from a retailer that offers both a replacement warranty and a warranty on any potential labour costs during the replacement. Some retailers offer replacement warranties for up to 15 years.