Bathroom fittings: for washbasin, shower and bathtub
Bathroom fittings not only include the water tap – they also include thermostats, gate valves, valves and non-return valves. In addition to their function as water dispensers, owners can also give their bathroom a special touch in terms of design with bathroom fittings. There are almost endless possibilities.
Faucets, valves and the like are indispensable in a bathroom. However, there are differences that everyone should be aware of – whether they are looking for design elements for their new bathroom or want to replace existing fittings. Bathroom fittings are not only different in appearance, but also in water consumption and function.
Types of bathroom fittings
If you want to make your bathroom more economical, more modern or simply more beautiful with new bathroom fittings, you should first look at the hot water connections. Depending on the type of supply, either high or low pressure fittings are required.
High-pressure fittings are the general standard and are used when the water is supplied by a central hot water supply or by a flow heater. The owner, on the other hand, needs a low-pressure fitting if the fitting is operated via a hot water tank or a boiler. In contrast to the high-pressure fitting, it has not only two pipe connections for hot and cold water, but a third connection from which a small part of the pressure is transferred to the hot water device.
Basically, there are three types of bathroom fittings which differ in the way they work.
- With the help of a mixer tap, the user can control the water flow with two regulators. So there is a separate handle for hot and cold water.
- With single-lever mixers, the user can set the water temperature and water flow with just one lever.
- A thermostatic mixer has two control elements that regulate the temperature and water inlet independently of each other. They are particularly suitable for bath tubs and showers.
Although a mixer tap is easy to operate, it consumes a lot of water. The correct temperature must be set again and again. A single-lever mixer is more water-saving because it can be adjusted faster than the mixer tap. However, the most efficient way of consuming energy and water is the thermostatic mixer tap. This is now also available as an electronically controlled model in which the individual desired temperature can be entered and called up at the touch of a button.
Installation of bathroom fittings: surface-mounted vs. flush-mounted
Mixer taps, single-lever mixers and fittings with thermostat are available in surface-mounted and flush-mounted versions.
A surface-mounted fitting is mounted on the washbasin or directly on the wall, at the connections provided for this purpose. The complete mixer technology is located in the body of the fitting. As a rule, a surface-mounted fitting can be easily replaced because the distance between the installation points is standardised.
In the case of a flush-mounted fitting, the mixer tap is hidden directly in the wall or in a pre-wall installation. Only the control elements and the water outlet are visible in front of the wall. This means that anyone considering buying new flush-mounted fittings must ensure that they match wall outlets and flush-mounted bodies.
A special shape is the floor standing fitting. This is often used for free-standing bathtubs when there is no wall nearby for installation. The water connection for these fittings comes from the floor.
Depending on the type of installation, fittings often also require a different number of holes in the wall. A distinction is made here between single-hole and four-hole fittings.
- Single-hole fittings usually include single-lever mixers and mixer taps that only require one hole for installation.
- Two-hole taps, for example, require two holes in the wall for the water outlet and the control element.
- An example of a three-hole fitting is the basin fitting with a rotary knob for hot water, one for cold water and the water outlet.
- In contrast to the three-hole faucet, four-hole faucets are still equipped with a hand shower for which the fourth hole is required.
- If you want to replace existing fittings, you must therefore pay attention to how many pipe connections your old bathroom fittings had.
Material of surface
The surface material of the fittings is usually chrome or stainless steel. In order to bring more colour into play, there are coating options that not only make the bathroom fittings catch the eye – they can also increase their resistance.
The PVD process (“Physical Vapor Deposition”) is often used for coloured coatings. This method is environmentally friendly, and the surfaces treated with it are generally considered to be much more scratch-resistant and corrosion-resistant. Ordinary single-lever mixers with a PVD surface are available from a high double-digit amount, for the more unusual and the larger, at least a three-digit sum must be invested.
But it is not only the colour of the fittings that can vary, different materials can also be combined. For example, chrome can be mixed with glass or porcelain – making the bathroom fitting an eye-catcher. Depending on the size of the bathroom fitting, a mixture of chrome and glass for a simple faucet only costs between 30 and 50 euros – the more complex the design, the more it costs.
Special shapes and installation options
Whether futuristic faucet or illuminated waterfall: There is also a lot possible with the shape. Freestanding fittings are a special feature. These can be found for several hundred euros, depending on the connection, the system used and the manufacturer.
Who is not dependent on already existing pipes and holes, has besides the agony of the choice, where he wants to attach the armatures. Also here there are many models with many possibilities: Should it be a classic washbasin faucet at the washbasin – or perhaps a model with a high base, which is mounted next to or behind the washbasin? Similar to a shower, fittings that are directly in the wall above the washbasin would also be possible in combination with a flush-mounted system.
The surface can be individually designed through colour and materials. However, labelling or engraving is also possible. Rotary knobs for hot and cold water can, for example, be provided with certain symbols. Users can also have their initials or logos engraved on the fittings. The costs vary greatly depending on the size and complexity of the engraving.
Regulate water consumption – with modern systems
In addition to consuming as little energy as possible through additional electrics, water consumption is the first priority for all bathroom fittings – this should be as low as possible.
Technologies such as sensor technology ensure that water only flows when it is really needed. In addition, new fittings limit the flow of water and keep the desired temperature constant – saving both water and energy when washing hands, showering and bathing. Special surfaces of bathroom fittings are particularly easy to clean. This reduces water consumption during cleaning.
Some fittings in the higher price segment are particularly economical with so-called Ecosmart technology and consume more than half as much water as ordinary products. By adding air, for example, a full water jet is still ensured. Other systems protect against unnecessary consumption of hot water or limit the amount of water and heating water. Expensive fittings with LED controls often allow temperature and water quantity to be determined.
Bathroom fittings not only have an important function in the practical sense of the word, but also set important accents in interior design. This is why everyone who wants to buy bathroom fittings should consider the possible structural requirements, design and operating elements as well as price, energy and water efficiency. Because the decision has long-term consequences: Bathroom fittings can withstand a lot and only need to be replaced after many years.