Sometimes, simply switching out the hardware or fixtures in a space can make all the difference. We did this ourselves recently; finding that we couldn’t quite afford a full bathroom renovation, we instead decided to switch out the vanity hardware, picked up a new bathroom faucet, and installed a new bathtub faucet. Instant refresh!! The fun part is in the dreaming and deciding – here’s a rundown of the different bathtub faucet types to help you choose that last piece.
Bathtub Faucet Types
Unlike in years gone by, when a bathtub faucet was just a bathtub faucet, and there wasn’t much choice in the matter; today there are a myriad of options to choose from. Once you learn a little bit about each type, and their pros and cons, it should be easy to narrow down the best bathtub faucet for your bathroom.
Mounting refers to how bathtub faucet types (and spouts) are attached to the bathtub. The type of bathtub in your bathroom will likely dictate this choice, but you may be able to change this if you find a style that you prefer.
This is the most traditional option and what you will find in most bathtub faucet setups today. Wall mounted bathroom faucets are exactly as described; both the spout and the faucet handle(s) are mounted on the wall next to the bathtub and all of the plumbing is hidden within the wall. Now, although this might be the most traditional setup, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be modern and sleek looking. There are plenty of options for wall mounted bathtub faucets that fit nicely into more modern, contemporary decors.
Affixing the faucet handles and the spout to the deck (or surround) of the bathtub is a more contemporary, modern option for bathtub faucets. This is usually used in larger bathrooms that have bathtubs with a deeper deck affording more room to mount the fixtures.
For dramatic flair, floor mounted bathtub faucet types are a winner. These can either be uber-traditional affairs often associated with claw-foot or vintage bathtubs; or can be sleek, modern additions to stand alone bathtubs. Either way, they are definitely attention grabbing fixtures that will add style instantly.
The number of holes that a bathtub faucet requires matters especially if you are replacing an existing feature and don’t plan on doing any renovation. You’ll want to find a fixture that will fit the set up that exists already. If you are renovating, or building new, then the sky’s the limit and you’ll just want to be aware of the different options.
Usually deck or wall mounted, single hole bathtub faucets contain a spout and faucet handle all in one unit that requires only one hole to be installed. Single hole faucet fixtures are not limited to any one style; they can be modern, contemporary, vintage, and traditional.
Three hole bathtub fixtures are very common. As described, these have a hole for the spout and then a hole for each faucet. These are often referred to as ‘center set’ fixtures and are often used to replace existing faucet setups.
A wide set faucet set is a more modern take on the three hole fixture. There is still a hole for the spout and one for each faucet handle, but they are generally set further apart for a more modern and sophisticated look.
And a five hole takes the whole modern approach to another level. Usually spread out along the deck of the bathtub, these have a hole for the spout, one for each faucet, and then often a shower attachment and a soap dispenser.
Style is one of those defining features of a design that really impacts how a space looks and feels. Finding a bathtub faucet type that fits with the style you’re trying to achieve is one of the most difficult parts of choosing; the style should fit in with the rest of the fixtures as well as will the design of the bathtub itself.
Traditional is such a broad description of styles. It could mean traditional ‘builders design’ that we see in every new home, or it could mean a more Old World look. It’s definitely a style that requires more description; don’t expect to use this term to find exactly what you’re looking for!
Waterfall bathtub faucets could also fall under the ‘modern’ grouping as they are definitely more popular now than they have been in the past. These faucet styles lend an elegant feeling to a bathtub and often transform a bathroom space into a spa oasis.
This is the style I usually associate with ‘traditional’ style – an Old World feeling with a modern finishing and design that transports it to a more modern setting but keeps the vintage style. Think claw-foot tubs, wooden floors, and plenty of light.
‘Modern’ is another term that is all-encompassing and can mean something different to anyone you ask. Usually, it is associated with clean, sleek lines and a minimalist approach to finishing and decorative elements. There is such a thing as too modern though; you definitely have to ensure that the style you choose will fit into the overall style of the bathroom and won’t stand out too much.
A traditional finish in every sense of the word. Chrome bathroom fixtures are the norm and show off all types of styles from vintage to modern. Chrome fixtures fit into any decor and can blend in easily making them the top choice for bathroom fixture finishes.
This finish is fast becoming a favorite. It’s a toned down version of chrome that doesn’t require much effort to maintain the finish and doesn’t show watermarks as easily as chrome does. It’s a modern finish that can easily upgrade the look of a bathroom without too much effort.
Usually found more in the ‘vintage’ style category, but lately brass has been making a comeback in the modern bathroom also. Not the highly polished brass that we saw in the eighties, but a more brushed, toned down version used sparingly can add an element of surprise without being overwhelming.
Black Powder Coated
Another modern finish, black powder coated fixtures are sophisticated and elegant. When used in more modern fixture designs they can make a bathroom feel spa-like and relaxing.
There are a few other things you should consider when looking at different bathtub faucet types. While these things may not contribute to the look or feel of the fixture in your bathroom, they definitely play a role in how the fixtures function (or don’t, as the case may be).
Spout Height. Often, in wall mounted situations there is no choice as to where the spout is mounted but, for deck mounted and floor mounted models, spout height is an important consideration. If the spout is mounted to high then the resulting ‘splash zone’ can become and exercise in water control rather than filling the bathtub. Usually the fixture specifications will indicate the optimum height to use.
Spout Reach. Reach is even more important than height. You want to be sure that the faucet spout will reach out over the rim of the tub adequately to allow the water to freely fall into the tub. Too short and the water will land on the rim or deck and will not fill the tub but will instead create one giant mess. Again, the fixture specifications should indicate the spout reach so that you can measure and be sure that it will work.
Ease of Use – Water Control. Sometimes, a bathtub faucet may look like the perfect addition to your new bathroom but, once you start using it, you may find that it is not that easy to use. Consider how you use the bathtub as you are choosing a bathtub faucet type. Would a single handle water control be better if you have a squirming baby to bathe and don’t have all your hands? Would two faucet handles give you more control over the water temperature for that soothing bath you like to have at the end of the day? Is that vintage faucet set up going to be easy to use and keep clean. Be realistic in your expectations and you’ll easily find a bathtub faucet that can work for your bathroom.