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Faucet Failure – What you Need to Know

Faucet Failure – What you Need to Know
February 27, 2012 SNH Editorial Team

Vessel sinks have invigorated bath sink and faucet product lines.  Finally, there is something other than the same old under-mount sinks and the same old faucets.  Great but know what you get into ahead of time.

Vessel faucets come as two types: wall-mounted and countertop-mounted fixtures. Most plumbers resist new products but there is some truth to their reluctance in this case.  Both types of fixtures can be tricky in their installations AND, in my opinion there are some design flaws even among high-end manufacturers.

Countertop mounted fixtures: Since the lever/levers in countertop mounted fixture can be obstructed by the sink when not enough distance is provided it is important to carefully calculate distances and follow installation specifications.  The photo shows a marble vessel sink with a Dornbracht fixture, which was installed as tight as possible to the vessel.  Dornbracht is considered a high-end /premium brand.  The finish is beautiful; love the sleek look of the faucet.  What’s wrong with this picture? There is a beautiful, large basin yet water is only available tight to one edge and usually splashes all over.  Men especially find the room simply too tight.  I gauge if my husband has been in the bath by the amount of water all over the counter every morning. Therefore, sadly I love the look but not the hand-washing experience.

Finally, one more comment.  The showroom recommended the installation of a manually operated pushdown drain due to the distance between the faucet and the vessel drain.  Yet per the showroom the Dornbracht fixture could only be purchased with a lever to operate a drain.  This lever in back of the fixture is useless and sits there loosely in the fixture – not a high-end feel nor look.  Over time one learns to look past it.  But I am disappointed that a high-end faucet manufacturer does not consider form and function in such a streamlined, sleek design.

Wall-mounted fixtures: The height of wall-mounted fixtures to the vessel surface is critical to avoid splashing while providing sufficient hand washing space.  Be sure to have at least 4-5” of space above the handles so that the handles can be operated comfortably.  This also means that mirrors will be high and work best as mirrors only.  Avoid deep mirror frames.  When a mirror is backed by a medicine cabinet interior shelves tend to be high and difficult to reach for the average person.

Changing from a countertop fixture to a wall-mounted faucet obviously means plumbing must be brought into the wall.  The wall must be opened to properly roughed with cold and hot water supplies adding to the cost of installation.

Here is one wall-mounted fixture that works beautifully.  The water sprays comfortably to the middle of the vessel and the fixture provides a perfect amount of water.

Send us your experiences with both of these vessel faucets.