Antiquelike sink faucet.
Photo: Philip Harvey

Sink faucets run the gamut from antiquelike to high-tech, from soft pewter-finish to jazzy epoxy, and from single-control to spread-fit.

The world of sink faucets is constantly changing, presenting new colors, shapes, styles, and accessories.

Popular finishes include polished chrome, brushed chrome, nickel, polished or antiqued brass, soft pewter, elegant gold plate, and jazzy enameled epoxy. For durability and low maintenance, polished chrome with a high nickel content is still the best bet. You can choose a showstopper in boldest modern or most quaintly antique styling, coordinate with tub fittings, or pick the same handles for all fixtures in the room.

You can buy faucets with digital temperature readouts, scaldproof models, and spouts that stop the flow when your hand is removed. How about a swiveling European faucet with an adjustable spray, a drinking spout, and a gum-massage attachment?

Sink faucets are available with single, center-set, or spread-fit controls. A single-control fitting has a combined faucet and lever or knob controlling water flow and temperature. A center-set control has separate hot and cold water controls and a faucet, all mounted on a base or escutcheon. A spread-fit control has separate hot and cold water controls and an independently mounted faucet. Pop-up or plug stoppers are sold separately or with the faucet and water controls.

When you're attracted to clever, streamlined designs, ask yourself two questions. How well could you work the controls with soaped-up hands and sleep-bleared eyes? And how easy would it be to clean or maintain the installation?

Whatever style you choose, most bathroom professionals agree that you get what you pay for. Solid-brass workings, though pricey, are considered most durable. Ceramic-disk and plastic-disk valve designs are generally easier to maintain than older washer schemes.

While most faucets are sink-mounted, other installations call for either deck-mounted or wall-mounted fittings. When you select your sink, be sure any holes in it will match the type of faucet you plan to buy, as well as any additional accessories.


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