Plumbing Faucets and Faucet Handles

Plumbing is the system of pipes and fixtures that delivers potable water, removes wastewater, and vents rainwater. Plumbers use many tools to repair or install plumbing in homes, businesses, and public buildings.


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It may not seem that the material your faucet is made from or the color of the finish matters, but it does. The reason is that the method used to finish a faucet affects its durability and longevity. The most common methods are powder coating, electroplating, and physical vapor deposition (PVD).

A good quality faucet should be able to resist corrosion from both hot and cold water as well as household cleaners. It should also be able to stand up to repeated use without scratching or denting.

The most durable faucets are made from solid stainless steel. This popular BathSelect material is extremely rugged and has a sleek, modern look. A stainless steel faucet is easy to clean and blends with almost any decor. Unlike brass, stainless steel won’t tarnish or corrode and is completely lead free.

Other metals such as copper and zinc can be used to make faucets but are more likely to rust. Solid copper faucets can look plainly pragmatic or crisply contemporary but require regular polishing to avoid tarnish. Zinc faucets are inexpensive but won’t last as long as a quality brass model.

Chrome is the most common finish but abrasion and scratch-resistance tests show that it wears quickly. Brushed nickel and bronze are alternatives that offer a richer color and better durability than traditional polished chrome. Bronze finishes are generally created using PVD and are available in a wide range of styles from brushed to oil-rubbed to antique.

Stainless steel is another alternative to chrome, and is also very scratch-resistant. It is a tough material that can look classic or contemporary and is 100% recyclable. Stainless steel is one of the most environmentally responsible materials and also the longest-lasting.

There are a number of nonmetallic finishes to choose from including white, black, and biscuit (a creamy white). These colors can complement any style but tend to be less durable than metallic faucets. A powder coating uses electricity to bind plastic powder to a faucet which makes it more resistant to scratching and fading than paint but still won’t hold up to rough scrubbing or high temperatures.

Faucet Body

The body of a faucet is the metal structure that controls the water flow and temperature. Brass is the most common material for the body, but manufacturers also use stainless steel and plastic. Some faucets have a separate spout and body, while others have a single piece that contains the control functions.

Whether your faucet is a two handle or a single handle, the body has to do a lot of work to keep your water flowing smoothly at the right temperature. It’s also responsible for the overall look of your sink, so you want it to look good.

For most modern faucets, the body is made by hot forging. Heated metal is forced into a die that’s nearly the same shape as the faucet body, and the pressure is slowly increased over several seconds to make sure the metal fills the die completely. This produces a very precise shape, and only minor machining is required to finish it off.

Then, the faucet is polished to make it smooth and shiny. It’s also coated with a clear polymer to improve durability. For colored finishes, a similar polymer or epoxy paint with color added is sprayed on the faucet and heat cured.

When the manufacturing process is complete, your new faucet is sent for final assembly. This usually takes place on rotary assembly machines that are precisely controlled or by robots. The spout or sprout (if it’s separate) is put in first, followed by the cartridge and finally the handle.

A ceramic disc valve is the most technologically advanced type of faucet valve, but these are usually more expensive than other types of faucets. The premium price is worth it for many homeowners, especially since they have long life spans and are relatively leak-proof.

Older homes might have compression faucet valves, which are cheap and easy to install, but they can corrode over time and develop leaks. These valves have a screw stem that rises and lowers when the handle is turned. As the stem is raised, a rubber washer seals a concave water inlet to permit water to flow through the faucet. As the stem is lowered, a compression washer compresses against the inlet to block the flow of water.

Faucet Handle

The handle is the part of the faucet that turns it on and off, controls the temperature, and allows you to adjust the water flow. Faucet handles come in many different styles and materials, from sleek and minimalist to ornate and decorative. The type of handle you choose depends on the overall style of your space and your personal preferences. If you have a contemporary kitchen, for example, you might prefer a stainless steel handle that matches the rest of your appliances. If your space has a more traditional design, you may want a brass or other warm-toned handle. Other factors to consider include the size of the handle and whether you want a single lever that controls both temperature and water pressure or separate knobs for each.

The material of a faucet handle is important because it impacts both the durability and the style of the handle. A handle made of stainless steel, for instance, is durable and will resist rust and corrosion. It also offers a modern or industrial look that can complement any style of kitchen or bathroom. In contrast, a brass or other warm-toned faucet handle has a classic and elegant appearance that can complement any style of room.

In addition to the material of the handle, you should also consider its finish. A faucet with a durable finish will resist chips and scratches, and it will be easy to clean. If you’re worried about stains or discoloration, consider choosing a color-resistant finish, such as a porcelain or ceramic coating.

Lastly, the handle should be comfortable to use, even with wet or soapy hands. A handle that is too small or too large can cause discomfort and reduce the amount of force you can apply when turning it. A handle that is easy to grip and turn will help you control the water temperature and flow while keeping your hands safe.

Replacing a faucet handle is an easy DIY project that can improve the look of your kitchen or bathroom. However, if you’re not comfortable with plumbing tasks or would like the peace of mind that comes with a warranty, then it may be best to hire a professional plumber.

Faucet Sprayer

A faucet sprayer adds flexibility to a sink by extending the reach of the nozzle and providing a stream or spray option. These are found on a variety of kitchen faucets and are available in many finishes to complement your design style. Some kitchen faucets feature integrated spray heads, while others have separate hoses that can be maneuvered to the desired position within your sink.

Faucet sprayers are also found on pre-rinse faucets commonly used in commercial kitchens to produce a high-powered spray for clearing stuck-on food from dishes. A sprayer adds versatility to your kitchen and is an excellent upgrade to a basic faucet in a new home or restaurant renovation.

To replace an existing sink faucet sprayer, first shut off the water supply. Open the faucet handles and remove any decorative escutcheon that covers the faucet valve body to expose the diverter cartridge and the nipple fitting for attaching the hose. Remove the cartridge and, if necessary, unscrew the decorative cap covering the screw holding it in place with a wrench. Once the nipple valve is exposed, a standard spray head can be replaced with a durable replacement model that offers a choice of stream or spray options.

The nipple connection on the faucet body has a threaded fitting for connecting a hose. You will need to replace this with a new hose when the old one wears out or is damaged. A replacement hose is inexpensive and easy to install. Before removing the old hose, grip the brass connection between the nipple and the hose connector nut with one pair of pliers and then unscrew the nut from the nipple with the other pair of pliers. If you don’t hold the brass connection firmly, you may twist the copper tubing leading down to the faucet body and break it.

Shut off the water supply to your sink again and remove the handle(s). Use an Allen wrench or screwdriver to remove any set screws holding the handles in place. Once the handles are removed, you will be able to see the sprayer hose and attach it to the nipple on the faucet body. Use the other pair of pliers to tighten the hose mounting nut to secure the hose in place.