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 are available making it tricky to get it right. 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.
The Widespread. Three holes 8-in. on center and is frequently available with a side spray that requires a fourth hole.
The Bridge. 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 faucet.
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.
Pure Water, Instant Hot Water, Liquid Soap Dispenser. These convenience-based products have become popular because they are available in coordinating designs and finishes.
A kitchen sink area gets plenty of use and although aesthetics are an important part of the final equation, function reigns supreme. If the sink spout is too short to reach both sinks, if the sprayer is on the wrong side, if the soap dispenser is too short to reach a sink and drips soap on the counter, if a cover plate must be used to hide unnecessary holes, or if symmetry is off or finishes don’t match, it will detract from the beauty and functionality of your client’s investment.
Putting the pieces together
Choosing a sink is step one of putting together a kitchen work area. Is it a drop-in or under-mount sink? Drop-in sinks have a rim and pre-drilled hole configuration that will determine where the faucet must be positioned. Sometimes the option exists of 1, 3 or 4 holes, so make your faucet selection before you commit to how many holes you need.
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.
If the bowls are equal size or offset, this will make a huge difference. 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. The soap dispenser should be mounted on the side that will be filled up to wash dishes and have a spout that reaches into the sink.
Regarding faucet finishes, many are available. The most popular finishes are:
Chrome. A highly polished silver color that is extremely durable, easy to match 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.
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 manufacturers.
There are many wonderful kitchen faucet choices featuring designs and finishes in all price ranges. Make sure your choices line up properly with your client’s needs so the faucet is as functional as it is beautiful