Thursday, 6 November 2008 | Tags: , , , , ,

Whether renovating or updating, there's a lot to choose from when replacing that old drippy faucet. Here are some tips for choosing the right type and style.

The Basics

Three Basic Set-Ups

  • Two-handle, centre-set style has the spout and both valves combined on a single base unit.

  • Single-handle, centre-set style has the hot and cold controlled by a lever or knob that’s part of the spout.

  • A widespread faucet has the hot valve, cold valve and spout all mounted separately. Sinks must have three pre-cut holes to accommodate this type.


Four Inner Mechanism Types

  • Compression valves use regular washers that will eventually leak as they begin to wear.

  • Cartridge valves use O-rings to prevent leaks and are easy to replace, as are the cartridges.

  • The ball faucet has a single lever that operates a rotating slotted metal ball that controls flow and temperature.

  • A ceramic disc faucet has two fire-hardened ceramic discs that move against each other in a shearing action, blocking water or allowing it to pass through. Virtually maintenance-free, many manufacturers guarantee against wear.

Style & Finish Considerations

  • Choose a finish that matches your appliances or other hardware.

  • Chrome is the most economical choice; stainless steel and nickel can end up costing you double.

  • Find a balance between style and function. Often the highly-styled faucet won’t be the most functional.

  • For a house full of kids, function may be your first priority. Choose an easy-to-use, one-handle faucet.

  • Plastic is affordable but may not last as long.

  • For a double sink, make sure the spout reaches the middle of each.

  • A faucet with a tall curved neck or goose-neck gives you lots of clearance for washing and filling bigger pots.

  • For popular pull-out spray faucets, make sure the hose is made of chrome (not plastic) and is 20–24 inches long.

  • For a streamlined, modern look, consider a wall-mounted faucet, often used with above-counter vanity bowls.


Replacing a faucet isn’t brain surgery but it does require some know-how. If you have patience and are mechanically inclined then go for it! For those of you who are not, our advice: hire a plumber. 


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