The right taps can be the perfect finishing touch for your bathroom. Whether you’re fitting a new suite, shower room or cloakroom, or simply updating an existing bath or basin, your choice of taps can set the tone.
Features that make your taps easier to use, help to keep your basin clean or those which help to extend the life of your tap are a bonus for busy bathrooms. And through innovative designs with sleek profiles, lighting and water-saving features, this small change offers big results.
With a wide range of styles and finishes to choose from, it’s easy to find something that can complement other elements in your bathroom, from towel rails and hooks to shelf brackets and other accessories. And we’ll also guide you through any tricky choices, such as finding taps which work best with the water pressure in your home.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started on that bathroom update.
The performance of your taps can depend on the water pressure system in your home – and whether your taps are compatible. If you have a high pressure water system, you’ll be able to choose from most bath and basin taps, but if you have a lower pressure system it's worthwhile identifying your exact water pressure to find taps that will ensure a strong flow of both warm and cold water.
Our guide to understanding your water pressure system will talk you through how to work out the water pressure in your home, and explain what to look for when choosing taps.
You’ll also want to think about your basin waste – also known as your plug hole. Bathrooms with a traditional or period look suit a plug and chain waste. While if you're looking for a more contemporary edge, there are a number of options including clicker, pop-up and flip-top wastes.
A clicker waste simply presses in or out, like a button. A pop-up features a small lever that raises and lowers the stopper to allow the water to flow out. And a flip-top uses a disc that can be rotated to contain or release the water.
If you’re fitting a new basin, or replacing the taps on a one-tap holed basin, you’ll be able to opt for these types of waste.
Its important to take note of how many tap holes you have as this can determine what taps you can use with your basin.
A single tap hole offers the choice between monobloc and single--lever taps. As the name suggests, single-lever taps use a lever to control the flow of both hot and cold water from a single spout. Monobloc taps also have just one spout, but with two handles to independently control the balance of hot and cold water. With monobloc taps, you’ll have the choice of different handle styles as well as different finishes.
With two tap holes you’ll need to opt for pillar taps. Available in a wide variety of styles with both knob, lever and cross-shaped handles, pillar taps independently control the flow of hot and cold water.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a sink where you can’t quite squeeze your hands under the running water. Choosing taps with the right size of spout for your basin is a crucial element in ensuring your basin makes life as easy as possible.
Think about the depth of the basin. How far away from the edge of the basin are the tap holes? How big is the basin itself? Are there cabinets or shelves above the basin that might make it difficult to lean over?
You’ll also want to consider what you’re using the room for – just for hand washing, a space for kids to wash and brush up or somewhere to shave?
If you have a compact basin, consider a shorter spout – look for one which extends as far as the plug hole but no further. A lower spout will work well in a cloakroom where space is tight, or opt for a higher spout if you’d like to be able to wash and shave comfortably.
For larger bathrooms and basins, a longer spout might be more suitable, so you’re not struggling to get your hands under the tap. Again, a higher spout will work well in a busy room where the basin is used for many tasks. A spout that swivels may also come in handy.
Lastly, if you’re looking to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom, check out our waterfall taps. When the tap is turned on, the water flows along a rivulet and waterfalls into the basin. They’re a great way to make a statement in your bathroom, and matching bath taps are available too.
Whether you’re updating an existing bath, or adding a new one to your home, you may find that it has between one and four tap holes. You’ll need to find taps that work with the number of taps holes you have, so this is worth bearing in mind if you are choosing a new bath.
Contemporary baths often have one tap hole, designed for a monobloc or single-lever tap. The flow of water will be controlled by one or two handles, and the bath will be filled from a single spout. These are a great choice for sleek, modern bathrooms and both monobloc and single-lever taps bring the benefits of easy operation.
You’ll be able to choose between pillar and mixer taps. Pillar taps allow you to independently control the flow of hot and cold water using two separate taps with separate spouts. A great budget choice, they’re available in a range of styles to suit modern bathrooms as well as period properties.
Mixer taps offer great flexibility, with a wide variety of styles and finishes available, both with and without a shower head attachment. Hot and cold water is controlled separately but mixed together and supplied to the bath via a single spout. It’s common to have a diverter which allows you to send the flow of water through an attached shower hose, offering you more flexibility for bathing and cleaning. For bathrooms with a separate shower, choose a discrete mixer tap without a shower hose.
Stylish mixer taps and shower heads are available for baths with three or four tap holes. With this set up, the hot water tap, cold water tap and spout are attached separately to the bath, giving a discrete, low profile. If a shower hose is used with this set up, this uses a fourth hole.
Handles make a big difference to how a tap looks, as well as how simple they are to use.
Lever handles look great in contemporary settings, and are easy to operate. Single lever taps can be a great choice in busy homes – the lever is child-friendly and easy to handle if you have reduced mobility in your hands. Lever handles are also a good idea if you’re concerned about hygiene, as they can easily be turned on or off using an elbow or the back of a hand, helping to keep them clean.
Knobs are a more traditional option, and control the flow of water with a twisting mechanism. Cross-head taps are popular when trying to preserve, or add, period charm in your bathroom. They’re sleeker than knob handles, but use the same easy-to-operate twisting mechanism.
Chrome-effect finishes are most popular for basin taps. They work well with a wide range of basins and bathroom styles, from the more traditional to super-sleek contemporary styles. It’s also easy to find a basin waste that matches for a joined-up look in your bathroom.
If you’re looking to complement a period style in your home, why not try a gold-effect finish? Designed to recreate the look of traditional brass fittings but with a high-gloss finish, these look stunning when paired with the Serina basins from Cooke & Lewis.
If the durability of your taps is important, consider the type of valves it contains. Valves control the flow of water from the tap, and are usually constructed from brass or ceramic.
Brass compression valves are made from solid brass, and feature a watertight seal to help prevent drips. They’re commonly found in pillar and monobloc taps, which use a rising spindle or non-rising spindle mechanism to control the flow of water. The rubber seals on brass compression valves can wear over time, leading to a dripping tap, but can easily be replaced in a matter of minutes.
Ceramic disc valves are a more durable choice as the ceramic element should last the lifetime of the tap. One-quarter turn and one-half turn brass valves with a ceramic disc are common in monobloc taps where the flow of water is controlled by a quarter or half turn of a lever. Ceramic disc cartridges are used in single-lever taps, where the flow and temperature of the water are controlled by moving the lever to the left or right (temperature) and up and down (speed of flow).