How to choose the perfect taps for your bathroom

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PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

Bath and basin taps are essential to any bathroom, but their beauty doesn’t stop at function; they can also be a design statement in their own right. Because there are lots of things to consider when buying bathroom taps, but the style is paramount.

The different elements of your bathroom should go together, so if you have a period-style room, you need classic taps to suit that period, and if you’ve gone down the contemporary route, you need sleek, modern taps.

Try the taps with the bathroom suite to check they’re the right style and size - it’s especially important that the basin tap is in proportion to the basin. Most bathroom taps are chrome these days, but other finishes are available.

That said, it’s not all about looks, and you’ll obviously need to consider ease of use when buying your taps too, especially for the youngest and oldest members of the family, who may have difficulty operating some designs.

“You’ll use these taps every day, so think about how you’ll interact with them,” says Simon Browning, industrial design director at Mira Showers. “Make sure the control feels precise and the taps are easy to use.”

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You don’t need to spend a fortune to get good taps, but it can be a false economy to buy really cheap ones because a tap has working parts and those parts can fail if they’re poor quality. If you soon end up having to get the taps repaired or replaced, you’ll wish you’d spent more on a product designed to last.

“The quality of the materials and finishing of a tap is very important when it comes to good water flow, ease of cleaning and maintenance, and long-term value,” says Browning. “You can judge the quality of a tap by the warranty that comes with it, as well as aesthetic values: look for perfect symmetry and flat lines on the edges of the tap.”

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Mixer taps, which only have one spout, are a popular choice and mix hot and cold water in different ways (ask a plumber if in doubt about which sort you need), but some people prefer separate hot and cold taps (often called pillar taps). If your bath has two tap holes, you’re not confined to having separate taps - many bath mixers are designed for two holes. However, not all baths come pre-drilled with tap holes - to avoid drilling them, use wall-mounted taps or floor-standing taps (popular for freestanding baths).

There’s nothing worse than a tap that’s more a dribble than a deluge, so do consider your home’s water system before you buy.

“This tends to be more important if you have a low-pressure water system - if the tap isn’t suitable and the water flow is poor, it will take a long time to fill a bath,” says Browning.

He continues: “Improvements in technology can not only make taps work better, but also improve their longevity and ease of cleaning. Taps from Mira’s Aspects range, for example, perform well even on low-pressure systems, and have integrated flow straighteners, which make them easier to clean as they allow for straight lines and avoid dirt traps that are difficult to clean.”

Good water pressure is especially important for bath-shower mixer taps.

These taps are a cost-effective way to have an over-bath shower because you need bath taps anyway, so why not pay a bit more for taps that connect to a shower head and hose?

Bath-shower mixers are useful for washing your hair, the dog and the bath itself, but good water pressure is needed for a good showering experience, so they can’t always be used instead of a separate shower.

If there’s limited space between the tap and the wall behind it, go for lever taps. The levers don’t turn through 360 degrees, as conventional tap heads do, so they require less room to operate.

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