A great kitchen faucet is like jewelry for your sink; the right one can transform utilitarian space and add pizzazz that pleases the eye. A wide range of styles, functions and finishes is available making it tricky to get it right. But when you do, it can enhance a kitchen and make standing at the sink a much better experience.
To begin, let’s talk about a few of the basic choices in designer kitchen faucets.
The Pullout. The spray is part of the main faucet and the hose retracts into the body. It is a single-hole application and mounts well on most sinks. It’s handy, simple in design and available in all price ranges.
The Widespread. Three holes 8 in. on center and is frequently available with a side spray that requires a fourth hole.
The Bridge. This faucet style has two holes on 8-in. centers and is piped together externally. It features high design in looks and can run the gamut from Old World to high contemporary.
The Gooseneck. The high-arch spout makes a statement and those big pots are easier to fill up with this one.
The Wall Mount. This mounting style keeps the deck of a sink area clutter-free and can be dramatic; however one must be willing to sacrifice a side spray to further enhance the sink.
Pure Water, Instant Hot Water, Liquid Soap Dispenser. These convenience-based products have become extremely popular because they are now available in coordinating designs and finishes with most faucets.
Putting the pieces together
Choosing a sink is step one of putting together a kitchen work area. This will provide the guidelines needed to make the right faucet choice. Is it a drop-in or under-mount sink? Drop-in sinks have a rim and predrilled hole configurations that will determine where the faucet must be positioned. Sometimes the option exists of one, three or four holes, so make your faucet selection before you commit to how many holes you need. This way you can avoid having to use hole covers.
An under-mount sink provides flexibility of hole positioning, but each hole adds a little cost because it must be drilled out by the countertop installer. Next comes the configuration of the sink; one, two or three bowls plays a large part in your choice. If the bowls are equal size or offset, this will make a huge difference in what works best. If using a wall-mount faucet, it is important that spacing between the back of the sink and the wall on which the faucet is mounted is not too far for the spout to reach the bowl.
Here are a few easy guidelines to remember when selecting and installing a kitchen faucet. The spout should be mounted as close to the centerline of the sink as possible, and if it is an offset sink it should be mounted on the divider between the bowls. The spout should be long enough to project one-third to one-half into each bowl. Any side spray should be mounted to the far side of the sink. If it’s known whether the sink is being used by a right- or left-hander (and you have the option,) it is a special treat to have the sprayer mounted especially for the user.
Regarding faucet finishes, many are available. The most popular finishes include the following:
Chrome. A highly polished silvery color that is extremely durable, very easy to match across all manufacturers and usually the most reasonably priced finish.
Satin (or brushed) Nickel. Popular because it has a soft, warm finish that coordinates well with stainless steel. This is also a durable finish and like chrome it usually is backed with a great warranty.
Polished Nickel. It has the warmth of satin nickel yet the shiny silver of chrome. Not all faucets are available in this finish but it is lovely and is increasing in popularity.
Oil-rubbed Bronze. This finish has many names, is in the dark bronze family and has an Old World flavor. It is more difficult to match between the different faucet and accessory manufacturers. Also, these finishes can be coated for a lifetime warranty or they can be a “living” finish which means it will change with time, water and application of chemicals.