In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through all the considerations you should keep in mind when choosing your bathtub faucets.
Tub faucets come in different shapes, sizes, colors, materials and finishes. Your bathtub will dictate the faucet you choose, as you need to select the correct mounting and style to complement your tub. The design of your bathroom should also guide your decision, along with your budget.
Not all faucets are made the same and selecting the best choice for your household has as much to do with outer appearance as with what is inside. In this post, I’ll walk you through the information you need to determine what tub faucet is right for you.
How to Choose a Tub Faucet
Picking the best tub faucet means evaluating the following:
- What mount are you using – wall, deck or floor?
- Where are you positioning the faucet on your tub?
- What is the size of your tub?
- Is your tub alcove or freestanding?
- Are there already existing holes and if not how many holes are you willing to make in either your tub, wall or floor?
Bathtub faucets come in standard sizes, but there are also many unique and specialized faucet sizes. When selecting the right faucet size for your bathtub, there are a few questions you should ask.
To further understand how each of these aspects impacts your faucet selection, we’ll lay out the different types of mounts and how these affect the positioning of your taps, as well as explain what faucets require more or fewer holes.
You can also read more about all the different bathtub faucet types in this post.
Your Tub Will Determine the Faucet
Take a good look at the style, shape, design and positioning of your tub. This will have the biggest impact on your choice of faucet. Your bathtub will dictate what faucet will work best both in terms of function and visual appeal.
For example, if you have a freestanding tub centered in your bathroom, then a wall-mounted faucet won’t work. Likewise, a Victorian design ball and claw bathtub would be at odds with a sleek, angular modern tap style.
When searching for your new faucet, you should also consider your tub’s existing plumbing, holes, and spacing and work within these parameters. Allow your tub to be a guiding force in your journey to finding your faucets. Check out this post if you want to learn more about various tub types.
And if you’re not just buying a new tub faucet, but also a new bathtub, be sure to read How to Choose a Bathtub in 8 Easy Steps. (This post really breaks down what can easily become an overwhelming process.)
Different Types of Tub Faucet Mounts
There are three different faucet mounts for bathtubs, each with pros and cons. Certain mounts will be more applicable to specific tubs and bathroom layouts than others.
When to Choose a Wall Mount Bathtub Faucet
Wall mount faucets are, as in the description, a faucet that is mounted to the wall. Generally, these are the most common faucet mounts as they are versatile and can be used with various tubs.
The biggest draw of a wall-mounted faucet is that you can use it with any bathtub, and it’s a great choice if you want to save some space.
Vertical space in a bathroom tends to be far more available than horizontal space, and you can use the vertical space instead of precious floor space if you go with a wall-mounted faucet. In fact, with this bathtub faucet option, you can have a larger bath as you won’t lose any area to the faucet.
The only con to consider with a wall-mounted faucet is that you may find it harder to both install and fix since the pipes are hidden behind the wall.
To measure bathtub faucet size for a 3-hole wall-mount faucet, you’d remove the hardware and measure the distance between the holes. Typically, this will measure 3 and 3/8 inches but it can vary, especially with older tubs.
Install a wall mount faucet 4 to 6 inches above the rim of the tub.
If you still want even more in-depth information about the wall-mounted faucet, you can read all about the pros and cons in this post.
Top Pick: Kingston Brass Wall Mount Roman Tub Faucet
The sleek black design would make any bathroom look modern and elevated, but the full brass body and corrosion resistance finish make this Roman Tub Filler from Kingston Brass both practical and durable.
When to Choose a Deck Mount Tub Faucet
A deck-mounted faucet is built onto a small porcelain or wood deck that is then fastened to the rim of your tub. The advantage of this style is that you won’t need to dig up your wall or floor to fix it if it springs a leak.
Unfortunately, because this style is susceptible to pooling water, it’s more likely to need to be fixed and replaced regularly. If you are precious about your bathroom tiles, then this faucet mount is a suitable choice.
With a deck-mounted faucet, you need to consider the space surrounding your tub to build the deck system. If you are very short on space, then this tap could steal valuable real estate. You wouldn’t want to land up with your tub kissing your loo because the wall required to house the deck has expanded the girth of your tub space.
Top Pick: Wowkk Waterfall Deck Mount Faucet
This Wowkk Waterfall Deck Mount Faucet is truly stunning! The canal-like design of the tap is so unique and soothing. The bonus is that the manufacturer offers this model in an array of finishes to suit a multitude of tastes. The hand shower is also a great addition.
When to Choose a Floor Mount Bathtub Faucet
A floor mount faucet, otherwise called a freestanding faucet, is only applicable if you have a freestanding bathtub. Floor-mount faucets don’t work well with alcove tubs; you’ll find yourself constantly in a battle with them for accessibility. But, in the right space, these units are bold and breath-taking.
If you don’t love the idea of exposed pipes, this faucet mount is not the right choice for you, but if you have a flair for the dramatic, then look no further.
With the floor-mounted faucet, you need to be aware that some floor types are not suitable, and if there is a leak, it will be an expensive project to fix and a messy one with a floor dig.
Top Pick: Artiqua Floor Mount Tub Faucet
Artiqua’s floor mount faucet has angles and curves in all the right places, creating a modern but timeless design. You can purchase this faucet in a few different finishes to suit your bathroom style. Being made from brass, it’s sturdy and robust.
Bathtub vs Sink Faucet Flow
Bathtub and sink faucets are not the same, so be sure you don’t try and install a sink faucet for your bath, no matter how pretty it might look.
While a sink faucet works with a 3/8 inch pipe, a bathtub connects to a ½ inch one allowing for optimum flow.
There are no restrictors on a bathtub faucet as they are designed to fill the tub quickly at anything from 1 -20 gallons per minute.
If you prefer not to wait around for your bath to fill, look for a faucet that offers a higher flow rate.
Handles and Holes
Another aspect of choosing your faucet is how many handles you want and subsequently how many holes you are willing to put in your wall, floor or tub.
Typically there are two options, either a one-hole one-handle faucet or a three-hole two-handle faucet. While the one-hole option results in fewer holes in your surroundings, it also means only one handle, which gives you less control over the water temperature. The two handles offer you the Goldilocks effect of getting the water temp just right.
When it comes to three-hole faucets, these come with further options of how spread out you would like your hardware.
A center-set spread has the fixtures closer together, appearing as one unit. However, a wide-set spread has spaces of around 12 inches between pieces, usually resulting in a modern aesthetic.
What Are The Different Faucet Materials?
There are four main materials used for forging faucets.
Brass Tub Faucets
Tub faucets made of brass come with a high price tag than other faucets. Brass faucets are the most durable of all the materials used, not only in terms of mechanism strength but also because brass is resistant to corrosion. Brass also has anti-bacterial properties.
If you have the budget, then brass is the answer. It will outlast most other materials meaning it’s a big investment upfront but pays off in the long run when you don’t need to replace your hardware continually.
If you don’t plan to stay in your current home for long or if you’re likely to change and update your bathroom regularly, it makes sense to consider a less durable and expensive faucet material.
If you want the durability of brass but don’t have the budget, you might be tempted to look at second-hand options. But you’ll need to be very cautious when thrifting for brass faucets, as they were historically manufactured with toxic lead levels before the harmful effects of lead use was discovered.
Steel Bathtub Faucets
As with brass, stainless steel also offers corrosion-resistant properties and is made from a metal alloy of iron, carbon, chromium and nickel. This alloy allows stainless steel to be a hardy and long-lasting metal, although it’s not quite in the same league as brass.
In terms of cost, it’s not all that much cheaper than brass either, so you won’t choose stainless steel if you are trying to save on costs.
Stainless steel, especially the high polished version, tends to scratch easily and also shows watermarks. Do scratches really bother you? Then maybe stainless steel is not the best choice.
However, if you want to look for a second-hand faucet, stainless steel is the way to go with its long-lasting attributes but lack of lead. Before purchasing, ensure you see the faucet in person to make sure it’s not scratched.
Zinc Bathtub Faucets
Zinc is the most common material for bathroom faucets. Plus it’s quite affordable. Although it is also a metal alloy, it has none of the corrosion resistance of stainless steel or brass and over time, it will wear away and need to be replaced.
Zinc needs to be plated with another metal which is both a pro and a con of this material. Zinc cannot be used unplated; it must have another metal added as a finish. On the pro side, this means you can select from many finishes when choosing a zinc faucet.
If you are looking for something stylish and inexpensive, then a zinc faucet is a great choice, but don’t select zinc if you want longevity.
Plastic Tub Faucets
Honestly, it would be best never to choose a plastic faucet unless it is the only option you can afford. Plastic faucets are cheap and the lowest quality faucets on the market.
Plastic faucets are coated in metal for added strength, but the internal parts wear away quickly. With this option, you’ll find yourself regularly needing to replace your faucets, ultimately costing you more than if you invested in a better quality faucet upfront.
What Are The Different Faucet Finishes?
There are many options of finish for faucets and ultimately, your choice comes down to what you find visually appealing and what look suits your bathroom aesthetic.
You might prefer the shiny polished metal look. Polished metal has a classic appearance but easily shows watermarks and smudges. If you don’t want to polish daily, you might find the constant watermarks frustrating.
Brushed metal, on the other hand, results in a matt complexion, which hides regular usage. The brushed look brings a more updated, modern feeling to a space.
Oil-rubbed metal is another finish used for faucets. By rubbing oil into the metal, it’s stained a darker color. The effect is an authentically rustic look.
The only problem with the oil-rubbed process is it is more of an art than a science. As a result, the look from one manufacturer to the next tends to be vastly different. For that reason, it’s best to get all your bathroom faucets and fittings at the same time from the same range and manufacturer to avoid all these elements being mismatched.
To discover more about which finish best suits your bathroom style, read my post all about faucet finishes.
How to Choose the Right Faucet For Your Tub
Before purchasing new faucets, browse a couple of bathroom stores and look at the different offerings on display. Decide what colors and finishes appeal to you and what style you like.
Consider all the practical aspects as well, such as the positioning of your tub, the longevity you require from your faucets, the already existing framework and the perfect flow rate.
With a checklist in hand of what’s important for you in a faucet, you are sure to find your way to your perfect match.