Recently helping a customer with the selection of a bathroom sink faucet brought back memories of my trip to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show that took place several months ago. One of the most remarkable aspects of this year’s show was the amazing variety of kitchen and bathroom sinks on display. After spending an hour walking through a small section of the hundred’s of vendor exhibits, it dawned on me how far the kitchen sink had evolved from utilitarian fixture that I grew up with. Not to be out done, the lavatory sink is now often a centerpiece of bathroom design. Unfortunately, selecting an appropriate faucet has become more than a matter of selecting the right look. The faucet must accommodate the sink’s design and construction.
The number of faucet holes found in the sink should be your first consideration. Modern sinks commonly have three faucet holes, two for the handles and one for the center spout. However, early sinks only had two faucet holes. Bridge faucets or separate hot and cold basin taps with no mixing valve or center spout are used with these sinks. Single post basin faucets are typically paired with today’s popular vessel sinks.
Distance between the sink’s faucet holes must also be determined. The distance between the center of the outside left and right faucet holes is commonly referred to as the "centers" or "spread". The most common faucet options for sinks with 4" centers are centerset and mini-spread faucets. Generally, sinks with greater than 4" centers require widespread faucets. Widespread faucets typically are adjustable to fit varying centers, however, it is highly recommended to review a faucet's features to confirm that it will fit your sink's configuration before placing your order.
Finally, the sink’s thickness and required spout length needs to be considered. In addition to the number and spacing of faucet holes, the thickness of the sink or counter and the required length of the spout must be considered. Thick sink counter tops may result in troublesome faucet installation. Also, check to ensure that the faucet's spout reaches the sink's bowl.
For more information about selecting a bathroom or kitchen faucet, please see Faucet Tips.