You give it a turn and water comes out, but have you ever wondered how your bathroom tap works? We reveal the inner mechanisms and show you how.
If you’ve ever wondered how a tap works—or more specifically, a bathroom tap—this is the ultimate guide for you. Whilst bathroom taps come in many different shapes, sizes, styles and colours, they all pretty much work in exactly the same way. Keep reading to find out more.
Taps are an integral part of a stylish and functional bathroom
What is a bathroom tap?
A bathroom tap (or “faucet” as it is known in the US) is a device that controls the flow of water from a water supply to a sink, basin or bath. It is typically made up of 2 main parts: the handle and the valve. The handle is used to turn the valve on and off, and the valve controls the flow of water.
Now, this is where things get a little more complicated. Whether we’re talking about basin taps or bath taps, there are 2 main types:
1. Mixer taps
A mixer is a single bathroom tap that combines both hot and cold flows. Mixer taps can also be split into 2 different types:
a. Single handle mixer taps have a single handle that controls the mix of both hot and cold water.
The single handle on the Wye waterfall basin mixer tap is used to control the water temperature and flow
b. Double handle mixer taps have 2 handles, one which controls the flow of hot water and one which controls the flow of cold water.
With the Wye round bath mixer tap, turn the handles to stop and start the hot and cold flows
2. Pillar taps
These are 2 separate bathroom taps: One for hot water and one for cold water.
A more traditional and uniquely British design, the Dulwich basin pillar taps are suitable for use with basins that have 2 tap holes
To take things a little further, bath mixer taps can sometimes come with a shower attachment, making them a bath shower mixer. A diverter, usually in the form of a push button device or handle, diverts the flow to either the taps or shower.
The Dulwich bath shower mixer tap pairs nicely with traditional roll top bathtubs
How does a bathroom tap work?
The valve in a bathroom tap typically contains a ceramic disc. The ceramic disc valve has two ceramic discs that are held apart by a spring. When the handle is turned, the discs move closer together, allowing water to flow through the valve.
When the handle is turned, it moves the valve, which allows water to flow from the water supply to the sink. The amount of water that flows is controlled by the position of the valve. When the valve is fully open, the maximum amount of water will flow. When the valve is fully closed, no water will flow.
Simply lift the handle of Eden cloakroom basin mixer tap to start the flow and turn to control water temperature. Push the handle back down to stop the flow
Why are ceramic disc taps better than older style compression taps?
Older bathroom taps, which were known as compression taps, used to use rubber washer. This was quite inefficient, as the tap would begin to leak and drip as the rubber washer became worn. Ceramic discs are much more hardwearing, reducing the risk of drips or leaks, offering a more precise seal than rubber washers.
You can find out how a tap is manufactured in our behind-the-scenes blog post.
What kind of bathroom taps can I buy?
Bathroom taps can be made from a variety of materials, however most are made primarily from brass, as this is a long-lasting and durable material. The most common coating for brass taps is chrome, although, these days, you’ll find a greater range of finishes, including black, brushed brass, gold, nickel, rose gold and more.
Bathroom taps also come in a variety of styles, falling into 2 broad categories:
- Contemporary bathroom taps are sleek and simple, free from unfussy ornamentation, following current trends.
The Dixon basin mixer tap comes in on-trend black with a sleek, streamlined contemporary design
- Traditional bathroom taps are more elaborate, based on timeless designs that never go out of fashion.
With classic cross head handles, the Dulwich basin mixer tap is a great example of timeless, traditional design
If you’re buying for both your basin and bath, you’ll often find bathroom tap sets which allow you to maintain a coordinated look throughout your bathroom and often help you save money.
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. In public toilets or changing rooms, for example, you may find sensor-operated bathroom taps or other types of commercial taps.
How to maintain bathroom taps
When treated with a little care, your bathroom taps should last you a long time to come. Regular cleaning with warm soapy water or white vinegar will help maintain the finish, keeping limescale or corrosion at bay.
From time to time, especially in hard water areas, you may want to clean the tap cartridge itself. You’ll find instructions on how to do this in the video below.
If your bathroom tap does start to drip or, at worst, leak, it may signal that the time has come to change. Check out our article on common tap problems and solutions for further advice.
Shop bathroom taps
Bathroom taps are an important part of any bathroom. They provide a way to control the flow of water, which is essential for washing hands, brushing teeth and bathing. When choosing a bathroom tap, it is important to consider the style, material and features that are important to you.
At Victoria Plum, we ensure all our bathroom taps are of the highest quality, made from hardwearing brass, complete with hardwearing ceramic disc technology. In fact, we’re so confident in the quality and workmanship of our taps, we’re happy to offer extended guarantees of up to 5 years, free of charge.
Whatever type of bathroom tap you have in mind, you’re bound to find the perfect choice at Victoria Plum. Simply click below to begin browsing.