Your guide to buying a bathroom sink
Which type of basin best suits my style and needs?
Ceramic sinks have been around for a long time and are still extremely popular, and for a number of good reasons too. Surprisingly robust, a ceramic sink can take everyday use without suffering a scratch. Ceramic is easily cleaned and very hygienic.
No other sink comes in the wide variety of colours, or the amazing array of shapes and styles. Which means there's a ceramic sink out there that's just perfect for your bathroom.
What should I bear in mind when choosing a tap?
With so many beautiful taps to choose from, it's tempting to simply opt for whatever first catches your eye. However, there's a practical consideration you need to address; the water pressure in your home.
Thankfully, the vast majority of taps work perfectly well with standard water pressure. However, some (such as mixer taps) require a higher water pressure. If you're not sure what level of water pressure your home has, call your local water company or ask a plumber for advice.
For this reason, too, you shouldn't regard taps as ornamental fittings to choose late in the planning of a new bathroom, they should be amongst the very first things you're choosing. It's much easier to adjust plumbing before rather than after everything's been fitted.
One other consideration you might like to make is the size. Smaller taps work best with small basins, and larger taps are more suited to bigger fixtures.
Other than that, your choice comes down to individual taste. There are many styles and finishes, so you're sure to find a tap that perfectly complements your bathroom. There are even taps that serve up deliciously filtered water, bringing the nearest thing to a sparkling spring into your home.
What are the different types of taps?
The taps you choose to go with your sink are an important part of the style; will it be a homely brass, or contemporary chrome? Ornate Victorian or modern simplicity? You'll be surprised at the wide range of styles and finishes you can choose from.
Transforming even a plain sink into something special, brass taps are warm and inviting, conjuring up a sense of the country style.
With their gleaming, mirror finish, shiny chrome taps enliven any room. They'll need effort to keep them pristine, so they may not be right for you if your bathroom is used more by children than adults.
Brushed, Matt and Satin
Bringing a fresh, sleek look to modern rooms, these are easier to clean than shiny chrome.
Pillar Basin/Pillar Bath
Cheap and simple to fit, these come in pairs: one for hot water and one for cold. As well as traditional cross head or lever handles, you also have a choice of shrouded heads with plastic coverings, making them ideal for elderly users.
Making it easy to regulate temperature and prevent burns, hot and cold water is mixed in the single spout and controlled by two taps either side. These need relatively high water pressure to work well.
So you'd like a mixer tap but your home suffers unequal hot and cold water pressure? The dual flow provides a single stream of water, while keeping the hot and cold water flows separate within the body of the tap.
For the minimalist in you, the monobloc is a pared-down yet extremely effective design, with a single lever controlling the hot and cold flow through one tap. Elegantly neat and offering ease of control, the monobloc only works if your hot and cold water pressure is almost equal.
Water Filter Taps
Who wouldn't like deliciously clear water with reduced chlorine, lead and sediment? Filter taps give you just that, yet come in a surprisingly wide range of styles and finishes.
Giving you all the convenience and exhilaration of a shower, without the extra expense of extra plumbing or a shower pump, the simple pull of a knob diverts water from the taps into a flexible hose and shower head. You can hang the shower head over the bath from a wall bracket or hold it in your hand and use it for bathing children or washing hair. When not in use, the shower head can be stored in a cradle above the taps for an elegant, period look.
An extra piece of advice on fitting taps
Most people are so used to seeing taps directly mounted onto a sink or bath that they forget to consider an option that creates an enviably modern feel: fixing the taps behind the fixtures. This gives you an amazingly clean, uncluttered look. But remember that fitting taps is a job for an experienced plumber.
Keeping taps clean
To make your taps sparkle, clean them using a soft cloth and warm soapy water, then give them a rinse before wiping them dry with a clean cloth. You shouldn't use abrasive compounds, pads, cloths or creams, as they can damage the tap's surfaces.
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