Looking for some indoor projects that you can complete during cold winter weekends? Look no further than your bath, powder or laundry room. It’s time to replace outdated faucets and fixtures.
We use our faucets, towel racks and even toilet paper holders every day. And sometimes, usually when preparing for guests, we bemoan old fixtures or corroded faucets. Spend some time on winter weekends updating the look and efficiency of your faucets and fixtures.
Start with the finish
The finish of your fixtures can set the tone for your bathroom’s look and feel. Polished brass looks great on a clawfoot tub and is coming back in style. But that polished brass faucet original to your 1990’s home that has lost its “polish” just makes your semi-modern bathroom look out of date. Update either the finish or design to match your style today. Possibilities? Satin brass, which has a more matte finish, or brushed nickel, one of the more durable choices.
Of course, if you only have the time and funds to replace the faucet and not light fixtures, towel racks and cabinet hardware, you might be have a quandary. Designer opinions differ on whether you need to match all metals. And really, it’s a personal choice. Let’s say your bathroom already has – or you’re aiming for—a formal look. A formal room probably should have a cohesive look in metal fixtures. And naturally, if you have matching sinks, you should outfit them with matching faucets. You can mix the metals a bit with furniture and some accessories, but you probably should keep a clean line across installed racks and faucets.
If you have a looser, more eclectic feel to the room, why not mix the metal finishes? Oil-rubbed finishes can make your small powder feel more like a Mediterranean retreat. And if you can’t really decide, but just want a cleaner, more modern look without spending a lot of money, go with classic chrome, which works with almost any style.
Make it efficient
Much like appliances, some faucets and accessories are labeled by the EPA as more efficient than others. When a faucet has a WaterSense label, it uses no more than 1.5 gallons of water per minute, which can reduce water use by at least 30 percent. A new aerator inside a sink or shower faucet also can reduce the flow if you would rather consume less water but aren’t ready to replace the faucet.
And don’t worry that choosing WaterSense products will limit your finish or design choices. The EPA maintains a list of more than 8,500 bathroom sink faucets and accessories alone! Finally, be sure to match the faucet type to your current sink. Most bathroom sinks have just three holes – one for the center spout, and one for the hot and cold supply lines and controls. But the distance between the holes can vary. If you’re working in a laundry room or kitchen, you might have (or want) a spray nozzle.
DIY or get some help
With the right tools, you can replace a bathroom faucet in a few hours or less. Plenty of online tutorials list the tools you’ll need, usually an adjustable wrench and some thread table, along with silicone caulk for sealing. Most faucets come with everything needed for connections except hot and cold supply lines, but you can use the ones you have if they fit and are in good condition.
Replacing towel racks and other fixtures is pretty simple, especially if you go with the same size. You might meet trouble if you have an inset soap dish or toilet paper bar or if you have to set a towel bar into existing tile. If you see grout around the edges of the fixture, it is likely an inset type. Once you begin with plumbing in particular, if it seems too daunting, call in a local plumber or handyman.