How to Choose a Tub Faucet

You’ve finally found the perfect tub! (Or that hideous old tub faucet has finally “accidentally” broken! Oops. Time for an awesome replacement!) Tub hunting can be difficult with the huge range of choices, and once you’ve found the one you love, you may think the hard part’s over. Well, most of the hard part is over… now it’s time to complete that tub with the right tub faucet.

Like all faucets – all fixtures, really – choosing a tub faucet can be confusing and complicated. Before you start panicking over the endless choices, check out this guide; we’re here to help you simplify finding the faucet of your dreams (even if you didn’t know you had a dream faucet!).

First things first…

This may seem obvious, but don’t choose a faucet until you have a tub. Duh, right? Not for everyone – if you’ve found a tub faucet that is just so dramatic and gorgeous that you want to decorate your entire bathroom around it, you may be tempted to buy it. Don’t! Always choose a tub first – choose it with that particular faucet in mind if you must, but don’t buy a faucet until your tub is firmly decided upon.

MTI Traditional-Style Floor-Mount Tub Filler

The basics

Now that you have your tub picked out (or already in your house), you can make that first decision without even having to think about it:

Mount

Your tub faucet mount depends on – ta-da! – none other than the tub itself. There are three types of tub faucet mounts:

  • Deck mount. These faucets are mounted on the rim (also known as the deck) of the tub or on the tiled surround of a drop-in tub. Tubs that are configured for a deck mount will have pre-drilled holes to accommodate it.
    Dornbracht Supernova Deck-mounted Tub Mixer with Hand Shower Set
    Dornbracht Supernova Deck-mounted Tub Mixer with Hand Shower Set
  • Wall mount/tub mount. A tub without faucet holes will require a wall-mount faucet over the tub; some tubs have holes in the tub wall for a tub mount.
Blu Bathworks Electronica In-Wall Thermostatic Tub Filler with Handshower & Electronic Control
  • Floor mount/freestanding. If you have a freestanding bathtub without holes, you will need a freestanding (floor-mounted) faucet. Be sure that your plumbing can accommodate a freestanding faucet or your tub will need to be closer to the wall with a far-reaching wall-mounted spout.
Aquabrass Martini Floor-Mount Tub Filler with Handshower
Aquabrass Martini Floor-Mount Tub Filler with Handshower

 

Configuration

Depending on your bathroom layout and patterns of usage, you’ll need to consider some additional factors when it comes to faucet configurations:

Hansgrohe Croma Showerpipe with Handshower
  • Handshower attachment to make it easier to wash yourself off in the tub
Dornbracht Meta.02 Wall-Mounted Tub Faucet with Handshower
  • The number of handles often depends on the mount and number of existing pre-drilled holes, when applicable, or current holes in the wall; generally this number will be one, two, or three (possibly four with a handshower)
    • If the spout does not have a diverter for the shower (that little button that you push or pull to turn on the shower rather than the tub filler), you will need to accommodate a separate diverter handle
Grohe Eurostyle Tub Spout with Diverter
  • Water flow pattern; some tub faucets provide a soothing waterfall stream rather than a standard stream
Artos Quarto 4-Hole Deck Mount Tub Filler

Spout projection

This one’s important. The spout projection refers to how far the spout reaches (in simpler terms, the length of the spout). Due to differences in tub rim widths and distance from the wall to the tub, you must measure the spout projection to ensure that the faucet will reach over the tub without interfering with the rim (or, conversely, to check that the faucet doesn’t stick out too far, which can look awkward and take up bathing space).

Graff Luna
Graff Luna Wall-Mounted Tub Filler with Handles and Handshower

Height is also an important consideration when choosing a freestanding faucet; if it’s too tall, you’ll have very wet floors every time you use it.

Style and finish

This is the fun part! Tub faucets are available in thousands of styles and finishes of spouts and handles; choose one that complements the rest of the bathroom. It doesn’t have to match sink faucets or shower trim exactly, but should coordinate.

Grohe Essence Floorstanding Tub Filler

Some popular handle shapes include cross, joystick, knob, lever, and loop; they may be made of the same material as the spout or accented with crystal or porcelain. Spouts may be straight or arched to varying degrees.

Herbeau Pompadour Deck-Mounted Tub Filler with Handshower

Finishes include matte and polished metals in all shades – brass, bronze, chrome, and nickel are particularly popular – and often include colors to match virtually every color scheme.

Vola One-Handle Mixer with Handspray

A trendy option today, especially in (but not limited to) vintage and industrial bathrooms, is the exposed faucet, where the pipes are visible on the outside of the wall. Exposed faucets are a stylish way to add flair to a bathroom.

Barber Wilsons Floor-Mounted Tub Set with Risers

Budget

…and this is the not-so-fun part. Before you fall in love with a faucet, be realistic about what you can afford. Tub faucets can cost anywhere from under $20 to over $8,000 (not kidding!). Take a good look at your costs and your overall budget before shopping for a faucet.

The good news is, with so many faucets available, you’re sure to find something you love (or at least like a lot) within your ideal price range.

KWC Ono Bathtub Spout
KWC Ono Bathtub Spout

And that’s it! Not so scary now, is it? Get out there and find your perfect piece; chances are, you’ll find it at Quality Bath.

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