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Home > Projects & DIY Toolkit > Buying Guides > Choosing a Lavatory Faucet

Choosing a Lavatory Faucet

When replacing your faucet, find out what type you currently have installed. Faucets are available in a wide range of prices and styles. They range from very inexpensive, mostly plastic models, to high quality brass units. Lowe's is happy to provide this information as a service to you.

Faucet Type

Not all faucet types work with every sink basin. Standard faucet drillings are widespread, centre set or single hole:

  •   • Widespread faucet sets have a spout with separate hot and cold water handles. All pieces appear to be separate. Widespread faucets are available from 6" to 16" drillings for three-hole pre-drilled installation basins.
  •   • Centre set faucets (mini-widespread) are made for 4" pre-drilled with three-hole installation basins. They combine a spout and valves on a single base unit. A centre set faucet set may have a single handle mixing lever or two handles mounted onto a 6" plate.
  •   • Single hole faucets have a spout and a single mixing handle all in one for single-handed control. Single lever faucets require one-hole drill installation basins. Some brands of single lever faucets have an optional 6" cover plate for pre-drilled 4" drill installations.
  •   • Wall-mounted faucets are available for above-the-counter and freestanding basins that require a long spout for extended reach. Wall-mount faucets require a separate wall-mount valve and drain for installation. Make sure the spout is long enough for adequate basin clearance.

Widespread faucet

Centre set faucet

Single lever faucet

Single lever faucet w/ cover plate

Wall-mounted faucet


The colour/finish should coordinate with the rest of the fixtures and accessories in your bathroom. The following is a list of available colours/finishes:

Bronze finish

Brushed Brass finish

Nickel finish

Chrome faucet with brass accents

  •   • Chrome (matte, brushed or polished)
  •   • Brass (brushed or polished)
  •   • Enamel-coated colours
  •   • Ceramic
  •   • Antique
  •   • Pewter
  •   • Nickel (brushed and pearl)
  •   • Gold
  •   • Platinum
  •   • Bronze

Some faucet sets come with a combination of finishes to draw more attention to their distinct styling. For example, a faucet with a brass and chrome combination finish creates a fresh but sophisticated look in any bathroom.

Handle Styles

Handle styles are available in various finishes to complement your sink and faucet. Before choosing a handle style, think about who will be using your bathroom. Choose from:

  •   • Lever handles-the best universal design for children and older adults to grip and turn. Lever handles are available in many decorative styles.
  •   • Cross handles-available in different finishes to coordinate with the room's decor.
  •   • Motion activated-some brands have interchangeable colored temperature control handles. These faucets are easy to use - adjust the temperature and place your hands under the spout to activate the water flow.

Lever handles

Cross handles

Faucet Construction

Every type of faucet has an inner valve that controls the flow of water through the spout. The valve quality, with or without a washer, determines the reliability and durability of the faucet. The best choices are faucets with solid brass, brass-based metal or corrosion-resistant workings.

  •   • Faucets with a Washer - Compression-valve faucets are the most common types of faucets on the market. The faucet works by a stem that rises and falls to open and close the water's passageway.
  •   • Washerless Faucets
    •       • Cartridge faucets use rubber O-rings inside a cylindrical cartridge to control the flow of water. These faucets are very reliable, especially if equipped with a brass cartridge.
    •       • Ball faucets have a rotating metal/plastic ball that regulates the amount of incoming water. With only one moving part, the likelihood of a malfunction is greatly reduced. A plastic ball will eventually wear out, but a metal ball is designed to last a lifetime.
    •       • Ceramic-disc faucets, are nearly maintenance-free. A ceramic-disc faucet has two ceramic discs that move against each other in a shearing action, blocking water or allowing it to pass through. The seal is watertight because the discs are nearly flat.

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please visit our terms of use.

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