FAUCETS & CONTROLS, KITCHEN & BATH - CONTENTS: Best Practices Guide to choosing & installing plumbing fixtures, sinks, tubs, & faucets for kitchens & bathrooms. Finish Choices for Faucets. A Guide to Kitchen & Bath Faucet Styles. Guide to Bathroom or Kitchen Faucet Materials. Valve Types Used in Bathroom or Kitchen Faucets, pros/cons/properties of faucets using compression valves, ball valves, sleeve cartridges, ceramic disc cartridges
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Sink or tub faucet selection advice:
This article discusses kitchen or bathroom faucet types, finishes, features, and valve controls, including the advantages or properties of faucet valve types: faucets using compression valves, ball valves, sleeve cartridges, ceramic disc cartridges.
We include advice on choosing and installing kitchen countertops, cabinets, and kitchen or bathroom flooring, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures and fixture controls such as faucets. A list of kitchen and bath product manufactures and sources is included.
Design Guide to Choosing Kitchen & Bathroom Faucets
The faucet shown in our photo (left) is installed in a hotel in Molde, Norway and includes built-in anti-scald control. For added safety against getting burned by hot water in kitchens and baths, see Scald Protection for Bathrooms, Tubs, Showers.
Manufacturers offer a vast array of faucet styles and finishes.
Most homeowners choose single-level models for
the convenience of one-handed control, and chrome remains
the most popular finish because of its durability and
New finishing technologies permit nearly
any color or metallic finish with similar durability.
faucets also have improved valve systems that make leaky
faucets a thing of the past.
[Click to enlarge any image]
Finish Choices for Faucets
Most faucet finishes are guaranteed for life.
Chrome, the most popular choice, is easy to clean and very
resistant to scratching. For a colored finish, the best choice
is an epoxy coating.
These come in a wide range of colors
and are also very durable and easy to maintain, but they
can be scratched with an abrasive scouring pad. Also
solvents, such as nail polish remover (acetone), can soften
the epoxy coating.
Many higher-end faucets now use a new high-tech
plating technology called physical-vapor deposition or
PVD, which can imitate almost any metallic finish from
brass to pewter to gold. PVD finishes are as hard as
chrome and easy to maintain, although they can be stained
by drain cleansers containing lye.
Also, abrasive pads,
such as steel wool or ScotchBrite®, can scratch these or
any finish with enough effort. Where scratching is a concern,
a brushed or satin finish is preferable, since it will
help conceal scratches.
Solid brass faucets usually come with a lacquer or
similar coating to protect against tarnishing. The metal will
tarnish, however, when the coating eventually wears off or
where it gets scratched. As an alternative, many manufacturers
now offer “tarnish-free brass” finishes using PVD
technology. Marketed under a variety of names, these finishes
are actually applied over a chrome-plated faucet and
have the durability of chrome.
A Guide to Kitchen & Bath Faucet Styles
Most homeowners find single-handle faucets
more convenient, and experts consider them safer for kids
than separate hot and cold levers, which are more likely to
cause a scalding injury.
The copper sink and faucet shown at left is installed outdoors at El Charco del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
While the sink is attractive and easily accessed, the practice of extending an outdoor hose bib horizontally some distance out from the wall to provide a faucet over the sink is asking for leaks in the copper piping. To operate this faucet without bending the copper pipe requires some delicacy.
Faucet handle tip:
Whatever kitchen or bath faucet5 style is chosen, keep in mind that for faucet handles, levers
are easier to manipulate than knobs, particularly for anyone
with restricted mobility.
Lavatory (sink) faucet height tip:
Lavatory faucets should be low
enough that they do not hit people in the head if they lean
down to wash their face. An offset faucet or one that swings
out of the way can provide greater useful space.
The faucet spout in a kitchen should be high enough to
accommodate large pots and long enough to reach all the
basins in a multi basin model.
One that swings out of the way
can increase the useful space. High-arch or gooseneck designs
are often a good solution (see Figure 6-48).
Underneath the finish, the base
material for most faucet bodies is brass, zinc, steel, or
cheap alloys called “pot metal.” Some economy models
The highest-quality faucets use solid forged or
machined brass, which will last the longest and require the
least care, particularly in areas with hard water.
is also used, but it is not quite as durable. Midrange faucets
use brass or chrome plating on zinc alloys, which provides
good durability, but must be replaced when the plating
wears through. Plastic, steel, and pot-metal bodies are usually
the least durable.
Valve Types Used in Bathroom or Kitchen Faucets
The faucet valve is the mechanism that
regulates the flow of water when you turn the lever or
knob. There are four basic types, each with pros and cons.
Compression valves are the old standby used in traditional
two-handle faucets. These have a rubber washer
on the bottom of a threaded stem, which opens and
closes as the knob is twisted.
The washers wear out
over time, more quickly with hard water or over tightening.
New washers cost less than a dollar and are
generally easy to replace. The metal valve seats also
get worn over time and need to be ground with fine
sandpaper to prevent leaks.
Sleeve-cartridges have a hollow stem that rotates
inside a metal or plastic sleeve to control the water
flow in both one- and two-handle faucets. Usually
the whole cartridge is replaced when it leaks, although
replacing the O-ring at the top or bottom of the cartridge
Most cartridges are easy to replace,
but some faucets require a special tool to pry out the
cartridge. Choose brass cartridges, rather than plastic,
if available. Replacements cost $15 to $20.
Ball valves. Developed originally by Delta, these are
still widely used in single-lever faucets. They use a
hollow brass or plastic ball with spring-loaded seals to
control water flow. Ball valves last a long time, and
replacement parts are inexpensive (under $10), but the
small parts can be tricky to assemble. Brass replacement
parts will outlast plastic.
Ceramic-disk cartridges. Considered the most reliable
approach, this new type of valve uses hard ceramic
disks that rotate in a cartridge until the holes line up
to release water. The polished disks are nearly indestructible,
but eventually the grease between the disks
washes out or the washers or O-rings wear out. Typically,
the whole cartridge is replaced. This is a simple
operation, which costs about $10 to $20 for parts.
Watch out: while most faucet manufacturers do a great job of stocking replacement and repair parts for faucets, once the faucet is installed, the cost of repair parts may approach the cost of installing an entirely new faucet assembly. We found that some brands (including Kohler™) can list stunning prices for small replacement parts for faucets, cartridges, and handles - DF.
Kitchen & Bath Industry Associations
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers(AHAM)
National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)
Ceramic Tile Institute of America
Home Ventilation Institute (HVI)
Marble Institute of America
Porcelain Enamel Institute (PEI)
This article series discusses current best design practices for kitchens and bathrooms, including layout, clearances, work space, and accessible kitchen and bathroom layout, clearances, turning space, grab bars, controls, etc.
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(June 26, 2015) Kathy said:
We are looking for a new kitchen faucet. All the ones I like have 1.5 gpm, maybe 1.8 gpm. We are used to very high water flow/pressure throughout the house. I can't stand a faucet with low pressure. Looking at Moen Camerist, Braemore or Wetherly in a darker bronze color. They all have a long enough spout reach and good height, but not too tall. I cannot tell how much plastic in each one, whether it is high quality and will last and if there is a way to increase the water flow/pressure in any of them? Can the cartridge be changed? Aerator? Something else to take out?
Also, If I got one with a side spray, would the spray be soft and not very strong? Also want good warranty, customer service and easy to get parts should anything happen. Any advice on any of these faucets or any others I should be looking at? Thanks!
Whew. A thorough product review of dozens of choices is in order. Take a look at the specifications on the box or the spec sheets at the faucet manufacturer's website; you'll see the parts explosion, cartridge replacement parts, and also the rated flow in gpm. While I cannot recommend removing it, some kitchen faucets restrict flow by a removable disk found at the base of the faucet spout. If that disk is removed the flow rate will increase as will the flow rate (for the same supply pressure) if you simplify the aerator at the faucet spout tip.
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"The Elimination of Unsafe Guardrails, a Progress Report," Elliott O. Stephenson, Building Standards, March-April 1993
"Are Functional Handrails Within Our Grasp" Jake Pauls, Building Standards, January-February 1991
Access Ramp building codes:
Access Ramp Standards:
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), Public Law 101-336. 7/26/90 is very often cited by other sources for good design of stairs and ramps etc. even where disabled individuals are not the design target.
ANSI A117.4 Accessible and Usable buildings and Facilities (earlier version was incorporated into the ADA)
ASTM F 1637, Standard Practice for Safe Walking Surfaces, (Similar to the above standards)
American Plywood Association, APA, "Portland Manufacturing Company, No. 1, a series of monographs on the history of plywood manufacturing",Plywood Pioneers Association, 31 March, 1967, www.apawood.org
ASHRAE resource on dew point and wall condensation - see the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook, available in many libraries. The following three ASHRAE Handbooks are also available at the InspectAPedia bookstore in the third page of our Insulate-Ventilate section:
2005 ASHRAE Handbook : Fundamentals: Inch-Pound Edition (2005 ASHRAE HANDBOOK : Fundamentals : I-P Edition) (Hardcover), Thomas H. Kuehn (Contributor), R. J. Couvillion (Contributor), John W. Coleman (Contributor), Narasipur Suryanarayana (Contributor), Zahid Ayub (Contributor), Robert Parsons (Author), ISBN-10: 1931862702 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862707
2004 ASHRAE Handbook : Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning: Systems and Equipment : Inch-Pound Edition (2004 ASHRAE Handbook : HVAC Systems and Equipment : I-P Edition) (Hardcover)
by American Society of Heating, ISBN-10: 1931862478 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862479
"2004 ASHRAE Handbook - HVAC Systems and Equipment The 2004 ASHRAE HandbookHVAC Systems and Equipment discusses various common systems and the equipment (components or assemblies) that comprise them, and describes features and differences. This information helps system designers and operators in selecting and using equipment. Major sections include Air-Conditioning and Heating Systems (chapters on system analysis and selection, air distribution, in-room terminal systems, centralized and decentralized systems, heat pumps, panel heating and cooling, cogeneration and engine-driven systems, heat recovery, steam and hydronic systems, district systems, small forced-air systems, infrared radiant heating, and water heating); Air-Handling Equipment (chapters on duct construction, air distribution, fans, coils, evaporative air-coolers, humidifiers, mechanical and desiccant dehumidification, air cleaners, industrial gas cleaning and air pollution control); Heating Equipment (chapters on automatic fuel-burning equipment, boilers, furnaces, in-space heaters, chimneys and flue vent systems, unit heaters, makeup air units, radiators, and solar equipment); General Components (chapters on compressors, condensers, cooling towers, liquid coolers, liquid-chilling systems, centrifugal pumps, motors and drives, pipes and fittings, valves, heat exchangers, and energy recovery equipment); and Unitary Equipment (chapters on air conditioners and heat pumps, room air conditioners and packaged terminal equipment, and a new chapter on mechanical dehumidifiers and heat pipes)."
1996 Ashrae Handbook Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Systems and Equipment: Inch-Pound Edition (Hardcover), ISBN-10: 1883413346 or ISBN-13: 978-1883413347 ,
"The 1996 HVAC Systems and Equipment Handbook is the result of ASHRAE's continuing effort to update, expand and reorganize the Handbook Series. Over a third of the book has been revised and augmented with new chapters on hydronic heating and cooling systems design; fans; unit ventilator; unit heaters; and makeup air units. Extensive changes have been added to chapters on panel heating and cooling; cogeneration systems and engine and turbine drives; applied heat pump and heat recovery systems; humidifiers; desiccant dehumidification and pressure drying equipment, air-heating coils; chimney, gas vent, fireplace systems; cooling towers; centrifugal pumps; and air-to-air energy recovery. Separate I-P and SI editions."
Building Research Council, BRC, nee Small Homes Council, SHC, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, brc.arch.uiuc.edu. "The Small Homes Council (our original name) was organized in 1944 during the war at the request of the President of the University of Illinois to consider the role of the university in meeting the demand for housing in the United States. Soldiers would be coming home after the war and would be needing good low-cost housing. ... In 1993, the Council became part of the School of Architecture, and since then has been known as the School of Architecture-Building Research Council. ... The Council's researchers answered many critical questions that would affect the quality of the nation's housing stock.
How could homes be designed and built more efficiently?
What kinds of construction and production techniques worked well and which did not?
How did people use different kinds of spaces in their homes?
What roles did community planning, zoning, and interior design play in how neighborhoods worked
Energy Savers: Whole House Systems Approach to Energy Efficient Home Design [copy on file as /interiors/Whole_House_Energy_Efficiency_DOE.pdf ] - U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Supply Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Supply_Vent.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11880?print
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Exhaust Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Exhaust.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11870
"Energy Savers: Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Natural Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Natural_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Energy_Recovery_Venting.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11900
"Energy Savers: Detecting Air Leaks [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Detect_Air_Leaks.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Air Sealing [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Air_Sealing_1.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
Gypsum Construction Guide, National Gypsum Corporation
Construction Handbook [purchase at Amazon.com] H17, Technical
Folder SA920 and PM2, PM3 and PM4, United States Gypsum Company, 125 South Franklin ST., PO Box 806278, Chicago, IL 60680-4124,
Humidity: What indoor humidity should we maintain in order to avoid a mold problem?
Ice Dam Leaks in building attics and roof cavities, how to inspect for evidence of leaks, identify causes, and
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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