Tub & Shower Faucets Buying Guide
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Manufacturers are providing more options than ever for every part of your home, and tub and shower faucets are no exception. We compiled this Tub & Shower Faucet Buying Guide for your convenience and hope you will find it useful as you look over the many options available with tub and shower faucets. When searching for a faucet, look for features that will keep you and your family safe by preventing scalding. We encourage our customers to review the following guide in detail and to call us with any questions.
- Look over our Tub & Shower Faucets Overview.
- Learn about the different kinds of Custom Shower Systems that are available including easy to install self-contained units.
- View the different Types of Tub & Shower Faucets and Accessories.
Tub & Shower Faucet Overview
When picking a faucet style you should take into a ccount two factors - your current faucet configuration (if you're replacing an old one) and your personal style and taste. You'll want to make sure the faucet complements your sink faucet and other bathroom fixtures to create a stylish appearance. Take the overall style and design of your home into account as well. Once you've settled on a style, look into the many anti-scald valves and devices available.
Tub faucets may be mounted on the wall or directly to the tub itself. There are also freestanding models available for certain applications. There are many handle options available with styles ranging from modern single-handle faucets to sophisticated two-handle Roman faucets. Tub faucets are also known as "tub fillers" because of the volume of water they can produce to fill a tub quickly. Wall-and deck-mounted faucets are generally concealed, meaning only the handles and spout are exposed. Freestanding faucets are usually used on Clawfoot Tubs. The pipes come straight out of the ground, and brackets are used to secure the faucet to either the tub or wall for support. For added convenience, many tub faucets come with handshowers.
Shower faucets are available in one-handle or two-handle designs. One handle (single lever models) are the most popular and common. With a one handle design a user can quickly adjust the volume and termperature of the shower to their desired level. The two-handle style tends to be used for a more classic look.
Valves play a key role in determining how long a faucet will last and how well it will function. Standard compression valves feature rubber washers that can wear out over time, causing leaks. For greater longevity, look for faucets with ball, cartridge or ceramic-disc valves.
- Ball valves are only available for use on single-handle faucets
- Cartridge valves last longer and are easier to repair
- Ceramic-disc valves are more expensive but are extremely durable and easy to repair
Valves are critical for safety to protect yourself from a blast of sudden, scalding-hot or freezing-cold water. Installing an anti-scald valve maintains water temperature even when someone flushes the toilet or starts up the dishwasher. Pressure-balancing valves are required by most municipalities. They automatically adjust for changes in the hot and cold water pressure. This prevents you from getting burned from scalding water. They are also known as anti-scald valves.
Thermostatic valves measure and regulate water temperature, adjusting the flow of hot and cold water to maintain a preset temperature. Once a user has set these valves they will maintain an the same temperature. These valves have two controls; one for temperature and a separate control for volume. Some modern thermostatic valves feature digital displays.
Shower valves are usually sold in two ways:
- Complete trim and valve (handles sometimes need to be purchased separately).
- In two component pieces: the trim (which is the finished portion that you see while bathing) and then the valve (the part not visible because it is behind the wall).
The valve portion of the faucet connects to the pipes in the wall (called the water supply lines) in one of three ways:
- CxC or sweat connections - most common
- IPS or iron pipe thread standard - do not require a torch
- With 1/4 turn stops - usually used on commercial fixtures
A licensed contractor can install any of these variations.
In tub and shower combos, diverters avert the flow of water from the tub faucet to the showerhead. The diverter is commonly located on the spout and can often be pulled upward when water is flowing to activate the showerhead. Many faucets contain a third handle that functions as the diverter, providing a differing style option. Diverters can also come in the form of a button.
Universal Valve Assembly
A universal valve assembly makes installing a new faucet simple and easy by eliminating the possibility of installing the wrong valve. Universal valves accomodate for a wide variety of faucet fixtures, eliminating the need to make adjustments and alterations to concealed plumbing to save time and money.
In addition to pressure-balancing and thermostatic valves, some units feature anti-scald protection built directly into the faucet for added convenience and safety.
If you or any members of your family have special needs, look for faucets that are approved by the Americans with Disabilities Act. These units are generally single-handled and turn on and off easily, designed for ease of use for a variety of needs.