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Bathroom taps 101

Last Updated Apr 12, 2017 · Written by

Bathroom Taps

If you've decided to renovate your bathroom or give it a facelift, think about your tapware at the same time you choose your vanity basin or bathtub. Why? You want to be sure the tapware you choose is appropriate for you basin or bathtub. Your plumber can install your tapware, but if you've chosen the wrong basin or tub, your choices of tapware will be more limited. Luckily there is a wide range of taps to choose from to suit any taste or bathroom.

  1. Types of Tapware 

  2. Vanity Tapware

  3. Bathtub Tapware

  4. Shower Tapware

  5. How Much Does Tapware Cost?

Types of Tapware

We have a much larger variety of bathroom tapware today than in the past. The basic types include:

  • Mixer taps have just one handle and mix hot and cold water together. They often have a lever, but can also have a handle.

  • Traditional taps have a hot and cold handle. You adjust the temperature by mixing hot and cold water.

  • Some tapware is designed to be installed in the wall.

  • Pillars were an old ways of installing taps and they are making a comeback. A pillar is a column that rises out of the floor. Pillars are sometimes called freestanding taps.

Types of bathroom taps

These are your basic choices, but today we have even more choices. Do you want water saving tapware? Today's water saving shower heads and other tapware are not like old-fashioned water saving taps that simply slowed down the flow of water. You can have a luxurious shower and save water at the same time.

Some tapware also produces a waterfall effect. You can choose this type of tap for your bathtub, vanity or both. It can be a stylish option in a modern bathroom.

bathroom tapware 101

Most tapware is chrome plated, but chrome isn't your only choice. Your tapware can be coloured or brass or copper plated. Brass or copper are good choices for bathrooms that harken back to an earlier era, but modern brass and copper taps are available, too.

brass tapware

Vanity Tapware

Your vanity can be a utilitarian space or it can be the centrepiece of your bathroom. It can also be both utilitarian and stylish. Your basin and tapware will make the difference. "Vessel" style basins are popular. When combined with the right tap, a vessel style basin can make your vanity the centrepiece of your bathroom without sacrificing the necessary utility of the basin and tap.

Vanity tapware

Of course, you don't need to choose a vessel basin to have a stylish bathroom. A sunken or partially sunken basin can be just as stylish. It will be more stylish if you choose tapware that matches the theme of your bathroom.

vanity taps

As mentioned above, look at tapware before you choose your basin. The combination of tapware, your basin and your bathroom vanity will make the difference between a great vanity and an ordinary vanity. Even if your bathroom is small, your vanity can be an outstanding feature of the bathroom.

Bathtub Tapware

If you're doing a full bathroom renovation, your bathtub is going to make a big difference to your bathroom design. Bathtubs are noticeable in any bathroom simply because of their size. You will want to coordinate your tub with your tapware to make your bathtub a feature of your bathroom.

Bathtub tapware

If space is at a premium, wall-mounted tapware can save space and be stylish, too. If you have more space, consider combing pillar (or freestanding) style tapware with a freestanding bathtub.

wall mounted tapware

Baths may be the exception to the rule of using taps with a high WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) rating. The WELS rating is a measurement of a tap's water efficiency. The higher the rating, the more water is saved. Why are bathtubs the exception? You want to fill the bath as quickly as possible to avoid heat loss and so you can enjoy your bath sooner. You will be filling the tub to a comfortable level anyway, so why not fill it as quickly as possible?

Of course, you want your tapware to match the style of your bathroom. Everything from Victorian era tapware to modern minimalist designs are available. If you have a more traditional style bathroom, you don't need to go without modern conveniences. You can choose tapware that has everything you need, but matches the style of your bathroom.

bath taps

Shower Tapware

You have a dizzying array of shower tapware to choose from. If you're doing a full bathroom renovation, choose your shower tapware early. Your plumber may need to rough in the plumbing before your walls are tiled. For example, you may want your showerhead to be mounted in the ceiling. Your plumber can only install the necessary plumbing before your walls are tiled and your ceiling painted.

Shower tapware

If you are giving your bathroom a makeover, you still have many options. You may decide you want a showerhead and a removable wand. Many of these can be installed in the wall because both the showerhead and wand work from the same water source. You can also choose a wand that is mounted and doubles as a traditional showerhead.

shower heads

It's a good idea to choose shower heads that have a high WELS rating. You don't need to deprive yourself of a refreshing shower. Many showerheads with high WELS ratings are designed to save water, but not feel like water is trickling out of the showerhead. You can choose showerheads that feel like rainwater falling on your body or showerheads that give a stronger flow.

And you're not limited to chrome plated shower heads. If you prefer brass or copper, those are available, too.

How Much Does Tapware Cost?

Tapware can be inexpensive or relatively expensive. If you're looking for vanity tapware, it might start at around $60. More stylish tapware will cost more:

  • A mixer tap might cost around $100

  • A more stylish mixer tap can cost around $225

  • An expensive mixer tap might cost over $700

There is a big difference between $100 and $700, but the good news is that you can find stylish vanity tapware for much less than $700.

tapware cost

Tapware for your bathtub will depend on the style and type of taps you need:

  • Wall mounted taps start at around $120 and go up to $1000 or more

  • Traditional bathtub mounted taps start at under $100 and go up to $1000 for more intricate designs. You can buy a Victorian style brass tapset for around $700.

  • A pillar (or freestanding) tap will start at around $475 and can cost much more.

Showerheads can be very inexpensive or very expensive. A basic shower head with a 3 Star WELS rating might cost under $20. If you need a shower head and handles, prices start at around $150, though less expensive sets are available. A more stylish shower head and taps might cost $500 or more.

tapware cost

You will probably have to hire a plumber to install your tapware. Visit licensedtrades.com.au to find out about licensing requirements in your state.  For more information about plumbing fees, read How Much Does it Cost to Move Plumbing Fixtures?

You might also like: All About Shower Mixer Taps

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