What to Consider
Construction and Maintenance
A functional aspect of the kitchen, faucets supply water to the cleaning and cooking areas of the room. Once, a single unit would suffice; faucets now are added to a variety of spaces and are designed for specific purposes. Also, since the faucet is often one of the most visible pieces of hardware, they are available in a wide range of styles to coordinate with the architectural style of cabinets, and a variety of metals and colors.
Holes: The number of holes in the sink will determine the faucet configuration. Sinks will have between one and five holes drilled into them to accommodate the faucet, handles, spray, soap dispensers, etc. If a new faucet is installed in an existing sink, the number of holes and configuration has an impact upon the faucet. A deck plate can be purchased to cover the holes, if a single handle unit is desired. If the sink is installed with the faucet, the sink can be chosen to accept the faucet, or the countertop can be cut to fit.
Purpose: If cleaning or filling tall pots is a function, a tall faucet will be desired. If a prep sink needs a faucet, a pull-out or shorter faucet may accommodate.
Lifestyle: If cooking is a family activity and several generations of the family will be using the faucets and sink, consider the ages and height of the family members. Wall units are interesting, but may not be reached by the very young or the older generation. If the individuals using the faucets are older, install an ADA appropriate type of handle, such as a lever or touch-activated faucet.
Space: Counter space often is a premium. Several space saving options are available, such as wall-mounted faucets. Shelving or a cabinet over the sink may limit the height of the faucet to be used.
Architectural Style: Faucets are available in a variety of styles and designs, so purchase one that coordinates with the room style.
Pull-Out/Pull-Down Spray Kitchen Faucets are multi-functional and workhorses of the kitchen. The faucet head pulls out/down to reach the full sink, or fill pots next to the sink. The spray function can be changed from stream to light spray for filling pots or to clean vegetables or rinsing good crystal. One to two hole units are available and will depend on the handle design.
Single Handle Faucets work well on a sink fitted into a tight space. The handle is set on the spout and twists side to side from hot to cold. If the sink has more than one hole, but this type of faucet is desired, look for one with an optional deck plate to cover the other hole(s), or a spray can be inserted into one of the additional holes. Easy to use for older homeowners and children, the faucets are designed for modern and contemporary styles.
Two Handle Faucets are designed for using each handle to moderate the hot and cold water from the faucet. 8-Inch Widespread faucets are created for sinks with three predrilled holes 8-inches apart and are available with or without a deck plate. A coordinating spray can be added. Designed for traditional looking kitchens.
Wall-Mounted Faucets are installed on the wall above the sink, not through the counter or the sink. The pipes supplying the water must be run through the wall higher than the sink and not underneath the counter so best installed during new construction or renovation. When deciding on a spout, make sure it is long enough to reach over the sink for the water to run into the drain. Provides an antique look for that style kitchen.
Pot-Filler Faucets are installed next to or over the cooktop/range to provide cold water directly to pots, eliminating the need to carry heavy pots from the sink to the stove. Single handle on an articulating neck, which folds out of the way when not in use, these faucets are installed in professional-style kitchens of serious cooks. Available in a variety of styles, from industrial to antique.
Motion or Touch Activated faucets are available on a faucet sets and are pre-set for the water temperature. Activated by touching the spout or waving the hands underneath the spout, which provides a germ-free environment. An electrical hook-up is necessary to operate these.
Bar/Prep Sink Faucets are coordinated with the main faucet set and deliver water to a bar or prep sink, which often are smaller. One-hole to three-hole configurations, these may be single handle or two handle sets.
Water Filter faucets can coordinate with the main faucet and will deliver cold water from a water filtration system mounted under the sink or from a room below. Usually single handle.
Valves: The operational portion of the faucet, stopping water flow.
• Compression valves employ a rubber washer to control the water flow. These washers are easy to replace.
• Ball valves use a ball to control the water flow on single handle faucets. Be careful that the ball is metal, such as stainless steel, as plastic balls will require replacing. The stainless ball is guaranteed for life and, if that guarantee is included with the faucet, the manufacturer will replace the metal ball for free should a problem arise.
• Cartridge valves will last a long time, and the seals, which last from five to 10 years, are replaceable easily by a homeowner.
• Ceramic disk valves should last 20 years to 50 years — the disks rub against each other to control the water flow. Ceramic technology is such that these rarely malfunction.
Faucet Body: Brass is the traditional material for creating faucets and with its copper content, it is mold and mildew resistant. Other metals and plastic may be used, but these are rather inexpensive units and may not have the same life expectancy, requiring replacement.
Finishes: Kitchen faucets are available in a wide array of finishes from brass, bronze, chrome, nickel to even copper. These finishes may be polished to a high gloss or brushed to hide fingerprints and water spots, or even antiqued. Finishes are sprayed on and then baked at high temperatures to reduce flaking and scratches.
Type: Touch activated and motion sense faucets are more expensive and will require the expense of an electrical hook-up.
Construction: All brass bodies are more expensive than other metals and plastic.
Finishes: Depending upon the finish, a higher cost is demanded.
Brands: Various brands have earned reputations in the industry and their products are perceived as higher quality, thereby garnering a higher price.
Maintenance: Lowest cost products will be need replacing and maintenance more frequently than moderately priced products. If the budget only permits the lowest priced product, just note that maintenance will be an issue.
Installation: Some building codes will require a licensed plumber perform installations, depending upon the product and the complexity of the installation.