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While some faucets are purely practical, most kitchen and bath faucets are ornamental and designed to match other fixtures (such as towel holders and hooks). Most have either a chrome, brass, nickel, or gold finish and some incorporate ceramic. The gold finish is usually thought to be more elegant and the ceramic suggests a vintage style. When shopping, consider these variations:

  • finish
  • number and spacing (4" or 8") of handles
  • height
  • valve mechanism
  • matching or incorporated extras such as filter, soap dispenser and spray

Valve Mechanism

Perhaps the least noticeable but most important characteristic is how the faucet controls the flow of water. The most common types of valves are compression, cartridge, and ceramic disk. As the name suggests, compression valves work by squeezing off the flow of water; while the most common,

they are also the most prone to wear and leaks. The cartridge style valve is found on single handle faucets (which for most purposes are the easiest to use). The ceramic disc valves provide easy, long wearing, drip-free performance and are usually only found at the upper end of a manufacturer's line.

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