There are a number of ways to make your bathroom stand out, and one of them is with faucet finishes. But having a beautiful faucet finish is only half of the battle, the other half is maintaining it! So, which is the easiest faucet finish to maintain?
Brushed nickel is the easiest faucet finish to maintain. It can develop a white sheen due to humidity but doesn’t require frequent cleaning. Other finishes might be more durable, but brushed nickel does not show spots or fingerprints easily. It is affordable and does not corrode.
Faucets come in a number of finishes that offer a spectrum of color, quality, and shine. In this post, I discuss an array of faucet finishes and discuss their durability, maintenance issues, and general cost.
Faucet Finishes: Color, Cost, Durability, Maintenance
|Type of Finish||Color||Cost||Durability||Maintenance|
|Plastic||Varies||Low||Low||Frequent (depending on color)|
|Split Finish||Varies||Varies||Depends on Finishes||Depends on Finishes|
Types of Faucet Finishes
White Faucet Finishes
Homary 1-Handle Single Hole Lavatory Faucet in Glossy White. See it on Amazon.
Enamel can come in several colors, but it is commonly a white finish. Enamel is combined with the base material of the sink through a process called Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD). The merging between the enamel and the base material allows the enamel to resist general wear and tear or rust longer than if it were merely coating it. At the end of the day, enamel finishes aren’t as hardy as metal finishes, but their versatility in color, especially in white, is timeless and compliments any bathroom interior.
Plastic finishes are not the most durable of finishes but are affordable and can be versatile. If you go with the plastic faucet, you might save some dollars, but you might also end up at the hardware store looking for a replacement faucet pretty quickly! Cleaning may vary depending on color, but white finishes don’t show watermarks or fingerprints easily.
Powder coat finishes are great for attaining rich and versatile colors. It looks almost like matte finish, which is trendy and stylish. This finish is more durable than plastic finishes as the base material is metal and a clear powder coat is applied over it. This provides protection for the faucet and adds to the rich color. Watch out to use gentle cleaning products on a finish like this as the chemicals can erode the coated finish and potentially lead to discoloration.
Black Faucet Finishes
4-Inch, 2-Handle Matte Black Bathroom Faucet. See it on Amazon.
Matte black faucet finishes are chic and can easily complement any bathroom interior. Watermarks, fingerprints, and other blemishes do not show up easily, meaning you do not need to regularly clean a faucet with a matte finish to maintain its appearance. However, these faucets can be difficult to source and are usually priced at a higher cost than other chrome faucet finishes. But if that you’re going for a modern or chic aesthetic, then this might be the right choice for you.
Silver-Colored Faucet Finishes
Delta Bathroom Faucet with Chrome Finish. See it on Amazon.
Chrome is an increasingly popular faucet finish. It’s durable, offers a brilliant silver shine, and is the most cost-effective choice. Chrome is usually resistant to corrosion. The only downside is that it shows watermarks and fingerprints quickly. Calcium and other minerals in water tend to leave a little ring on chrome faucets and other surfaces once they’ve dried up. A faucet with a chrome finish can easily be cleaned, but you might have to clean more regularly. Chrome finishes last a long time, so you might only have to replace the faucet once or twice in your bathroom’s lifetime, if at all!
While stainless steel is also silver-colored, and therefore similar to chrome, it offers a deeper color profile as it tends to have a shiny blue tint. It is more expensive than chrome but cheaper than most other faucet finishes and is incredibly durable. Similar to chrome, stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, but it shows smudges and dried watermarks easily, so you will also need to clean it regularly but make sure to do so with a smooth cloth as stainless steel can scratch easily.
Brushed or satin nickel has a textured, matte finish that is achieved by processing the faucet with a wire brush. The warm glow of the nickel and its unrivaled durability makes it a popular choice! The best part about brushed nickel is that it looks like a deluxe feature, but it is one of the most affordable finishes, and it doesn’t show water marks, smudges, or fingerprints! Make sure not to clean using harsh chemicals as this can wear down the finish, but nickel won’t suffer from corrosion. Due to the humidity of one’s bathroom, however, brushed nickel might develop a white sheen, which you can avoid by cleaning your faucet with a soft cloth every once in a while.
Polished nickel has the same benefits as its brushed counterpart minus the texture. Its shiny warm glow also offers that deluxe appearance and is equally durable and affordable. Nickel does have a warmer, fuller color than stainless steel and chrome. In some light, it may verge on a golden or platinum-like appearance. Avoid using harsh chemicals to clean this finish but note that you won’t have to clean it often as nickel barely shows marks and isn’t susceptible to corrosion.
Bronze Faucet Finishes
Oil Rubbed Bronze Waterfall Bathroom Faucet. See it on Amazon.
This finish is especially beautiful and offers a unique aesthetic that will elevate any bathroom interior. The best part about this finish is that it doesn’t show any watermarks or fingerprints, so you won’t have to have clean it too often. Bronze is incredibly durable, but the shade of these oil-rubbed finishes might vary between wholesalers, so if you take pleasure in the details, then it might be worth your while to source all of your faucet finishes and other bathroom accessories from the same brand.
This finish actually has a warm golden glow, so it might give you the gold finish you are looking for, while being made of bronze. The bronze base is incredibly durable and doesn’t show marks easily, so you won’t have to clean it too often, but make sure to use a soft cloth and gentle cleaning products when you do. Satin/brushed bronze is more rare than other faucet finishes and comes at a higher cost, but it is worth it if you are looking for those special accent pieces. Bronze, like brass, as we will soon find out, can potentially discolor due to consistent exposure to water and its minerals. This can be prevented by adding an additional protective coat on the faucet if you prefer to preserve its original shade. Note that some people welcome the progression of color!
Copper Faucet Finish
Copper is an incredibly durable faucet finish and provides a gorgeous, eye-catching color. However, the color may also discolor (leading to patina) throughout consistent use, but this can also be the desired effect. Copper finishes are on the more expensive side of the spectrum as they have extra features such as being antibacterial and resistant to oxidation.
Brass Faucet Finishes
Kingston Brass Widespread Brass Faucet with Brass Finish. See it on Amazon.
Solid brass finishes are the most expensive but are considered to be the best faucet finishes. They are extremely durable, and they barely corrode, like other metals do. Despite the higher cost, most homeowners break even within a few years, as these faucet finishes will last a lifetime. Cleaning brass can be a tricky process and require some creative cleaning solutions, so while some might rate this the best faucet finish, it might not actually be the easiest to maintain!
You may also opt for a split finish and combine two or more materials. Each of these materials will be subject to the same advantages and disadvantages as discussed above.
The Winner: Brushed/Satin Nickel
Metal finishes are more durable than plastic or enamel alternatives, but brushed nickel seems to require the least cleaning. It is also incredibly durable meaning you won’t need to worry about replacing it. Other easy-to-maintain finishes include solid brass, oil-rubbed bronze and other bronze finishes. Chrome and stainless steel are popular and very affordable choices, although they might require more cleaning.
Additionally, if your faucet has seen better days and the finish is looking a little jaded, then consider calling your contractor or manufacturer. You might have a forgiving warranty policy that you don’t know about, and this can save you some extra costs in installing a new faucet finish altogether. It never hurts to ask!
See this post for a truly in-depth guide for how to pick the best bathroom faucet material and faucet finish.