Go with the flow when fitting stylish new taps; Looking to update your bathroom? Julia Gray shares her tap tips.
Byline: Julia Gray
BUYING bath and basin taps isn't necessarily as straightforward as you might think - it's easy to make the wrong choice, but how do you make the right one? There are lots of things to consider when buying bathroom taps, not least the style.
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's in proportion to the basin.
Most bathroom taps are chrome these days, but other finishes are available.
Don't forget ease of use, 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 from Mira Showers. "Make sure the control feels precise and the taps are easy to use."
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.
"You can judge the quality of a tap by the warranty that comes with it, as well as aesthetics: look for perfect symmetry and flat lines on the edges of the tap," says Simon.
Mixer taps, which only have one spout, are a popular choice and mix hot and cold water inside the tap, 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 - most bath mixers are designed for two holes. However, not all baths come pre-drilled with tap holes - to avoid drilling them, or if the bath isn't designed to have tap holes, use wall-mounted or floor-standing taps.
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 lowpressure 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 Simon.
"Improvements in technology can not only make taps work better, but also improve their longevity and ease of cleaning."
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.
Mixer taps are a popular choice