Choosing fixtures for your bathroom – Part 228 November 2017
Toilet, basin, shower and bath – the plumbing fixtures in your bathroom reno are where a lot of your budget will go. For those looking to keep the budget minimal there are plenty of value options available, products designed to look smart and do the job but nothing more. Or you can be inspired by 5-star spas and resorts and treat yourself to luxury products with features galore. Either way, let’s look at what’s available and what you need to consider when choosing these fixtures. This is part 2 where we’ll cover basins and faucets.
Basins/sinks can be made of the classic vitreous china, natural stone or solid surface, tempered glass, enamelled cast iron, wood or acrylic.
They come in all kinds of shapes (square, bowl, oval, round, rectangle) and depths. It’s easy to be swayed by the aesthetics of a basin but do put some thought into things like what you’ll be using it for, eg. shallow basins combined with strong water pressure will lead to water splashing everywhere. Also think about where the faucets go in relation to the basin; you’ve likely experienced it sometime in your life, trying to wash your hands but the taps are too close to the side to get good coverage.
Most commonly found basin styles:
- Pedestal style – these save on space as they are freestanding and not part of a vanity (although that does mean limited storage).
- Vessel sink – these are the kinds that sit like a bowl or dish on top of a bench. They are beautiful but their functionality is questionable as they are often quite shallow or quite deep requiring faucets tall enough to get over the lip.
- Undermounted – the classic basin built into the countertop/vanity. These can either be supported by clips or a rolled rim that it rests on. If included as part of a vanity you’ll have good storage.
- Console sink – a sink supported by legs leaving room underneath for storage. Offers a lovely semi-industrial look for the minimalist bathroom.
- Wall-hung – as the name implies they are mounted to the wall with nothing underneath leaving lots of space for storage.
- Integrated sink – has a wide, flat edge that fits flush for a seamless countertop surface. This option is probably for the bigger budget as it is typically found when made of stone or solid surface coutertops manufactured to order.
One thing to consider, other than the look and configuration of your faucets is where you want them mounted – to the sink, the countertop or the wall above? Mounting them to the wall is often used in conjunction with high-sided vessel sinks as they can protrude far enough over it.
Some faucets will come as one unit attached with a baseplate, others will be separate items that are attached directly to the counter/wall/basin rim. Your choice will come down to personal preference as neither is not more functional than the other.
And look out for options with greater water efficiency to help save on power when running the hot water.
The types of faucet configuration available are:
- Single-hole - combines the spout and mixing handle/lever which moves from side to side to adjust temperature. Simple and takes up less space than two taps.
- Center-set – this is the classic two tap/one spout configuration, ideal for most bathrooms.
- Two individual taps – old school look and doesn’t offer the convenience of having both hot and cold water running from one spout to create warm water.
- No taps – the age of automatic motion sensor taps has reached the residential market. Pricey though and really annoying if they don’t function properly as there’s no tap to turn on.
If you thought that was the only choice you had to make in faucets, think again. You also have a multitude of finishes available: polished chrome (the traditional finish), brushed chrome, stainless steel, polished nickel, brushed nickel, hammered nickel, coloured decorative ceramic, bronze, brushed bronze, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass…even gold!
Our advice is to pop into a bathroom showroom where they are displayed next to each other so you can compare. Whatever you choose be sure it doesn’t clash with other accessories such as the towel rails, lighting or door handles. And here’s another tip - polished finishes look elegant but need cleaning often to keep them nice and shiny. They show up any splashes or fingerprints easily; brushed finishes are better at hiding these.
If you’re keen to get started, so are we! Simply download our Bathroom Renovation Checklist and book in for a free consultation with one of our project managers. We can go through your ideas together and turn your bathroom dream into a reality.
Check out part 1 of this article that covers showers, baths and toilets.