Taps Buyers Guide
As a Managing Director for an online kitchen and bathroom website, I am often asked my advice about the different types of taps available for kitchens and bathrooms.
Clearly, kitchen taps and bathroom taps should match your overall design scheme, but taps also need to fulfil the function you require in the kitchen or bathroom. With so many design, styles and finishes to choose from, it's important to keep practical factors in mind and aim to strike the right balance between design, ease of use and durability. After all, a tap is something most of us use every day.
Also, if you're planning a complete bathroom or kitchen refurbishment, you should make your choice of taps at the planning stage, as it is far easier to make any adjustments necessary to pipe work before, rather than after, fitting sinks, basins, bidets or baths.
Pillar taps for the kitchen sink, basin or bath
Suitable for two-hole baths, bathroom basins and kitchen sinks, pillar taps are supplied in pairs, one tap for the hot water and one for the cold. They are inexpensive, simple to fit and are available with traditional cross head handles or lever handles.
Mono Bloc Mixer Taps for the kitchen sink, basin, bath or bidet
With a mono bloc mixer tap, a single lever controls the hot and cold water flow, so there is no need for separate hot and cold handles. Mono bloc mixer taps are very neat, offer ease of control and are ideally suited to today's minimalist bathroom designs. As with standard mixer taps, you need to check your water pressure before fitting, as mono bloc taps will only work if the pressure in hot and cold water supplies is more or less equal.
Bath Shower Mixer Taps
A bath shower mixer tap comes with a diverter mechanism to direct the water supply to a showerhead fitting. For a period look, the showerhead can be mounted over the mixer tap, telephone style, or it may fit into a bracket on the wall over the bathtub. A bath shower mixer is a very economical option for a bathroom shower, as no additional plumbing or shower pump is needed. An ideal choice for family homes, the shower mixer fitting is great for bathing children or washing hair. However, shower mixer taps require a higher pressure to work properly. If you're unsure of your hot water pressure, contact a plumber or your local water supplier for advice.
Pull-out Spray Mixer Taps
Similar to a shower mixer tap, but featuring an extendable hose, a pull-out spray mixer tap is ideally suited to the kitchen, as the pull-out dual spray head gives unbeatable control that is useful for removing food from dirty plates and rinsing. These taps are often used in professional kitchens.
Advice on fitting taps
There are two basic options for fitting taps. The most conventional is to mount taps on the sink, basin or bath. But, for a modern look, taps can be mounted on the wall above the fixture or on a mount behind the fixture. This has the advantage of giving a clean, uncluttered look to bath and basin surfaces. Generally, fitting taps is a job for an experienced plumber and only the most competent DIYer should attempt it.
Keeping taps clean
To make sure that your taps keep their shine, use only a soft cloth and warm soapy water to clean them. Rinse and wipe dry using a dry clean soft cloth. Do not use abrasive compounds, pads, cloths or creams, as these will damage the tap surface. From my experience I believe the best product to use to clean your taps is the 'e-cloth'. The e-cloth compromises of two cloth, one of which you use wet to clean the tap and the other dry which is used to dry and polish the tap.