The Material with The Longest Faucet Life
The most common finishes for faucets are metals, such as brass, copper, stainless steel, zinc and bronze alloys. Plastic may also be used.
Flaking or tarnishing is unlikely with modern coatings. Modern coating and plating technologies for faucets, like electron beam physical vapor deposition, which sounds like something out of science fiction, can make any material look like silver, brass, pewter, nickel, or gold. With the right maintenance, epoxy coatings can maintain that fresh surface for a very long time.
Read this post if you have plans to change your old bathroom fixtures and cannot decide which is the best faucet finish.
We have included information about each material and how they differ. Pros and cons are also provided so you will have a better view of what works well for your bathroom sink.
What Materials are Available for Faucets
Of all the faucet materials available for making faucets and other bathroom accessories, brass has long been the popular choice. But it also depends on your bathroom styles and shower faucet. It is highly valued because of the following reasons:
It is resistant to corrosion. It won’t rust through like steel or iron would.
It is simple to cast since it has a low melting point.
Brass is resilient enough to withstand the rigors of life as a faucet while still being soft enough to machine wash with little effort.
It is easily recyclable and takes finishes like polished chrome plating quite well.
About 80% of the brass that goes into making new faucets was used for something else before.
The standard yellow or “alpha” brass has tiny proportions of other metals to give it particular qualities, with about 60% copper and 30% zinc.
To stop dezincification, a type of corrosion that weakens the polished brass over time, you can add a little antimony or tin. Iron or manganese can be added to brass to make it stronger and more durable. Nickel can be added to refine the grain structure and make it also durable.
Characteristics of Brass Faucets
Brass can be strengthened and made more resistant to corrosion by adding aluminum. Admiralty and naval brasses, which are used on salty seas, have a lot of aluminum in them.
Since the time of the Pharaohs, people have known that the copper in brass has anti-microbial properties and can kill germs. However, the exact mechanism of this has only recently come to light. Copper prevents most bacteria and fungi (including mold and mildew) from surviving. 99.9% of the E. coli colony died after two hours of exposure to brass in tests on colonies of the bacteria done by the EPA.
Typically, H59 with 59% brass or H62 copper with 62% copper is used to cast brass faucets. A combination of brass and copper is a suitable material choice since it won’t corrode or calcify over time when exposed to either hard or mild water. In addition, if left unplated, it is durable and slightly microbial (from the copper).
Types of Brass Faucets Finish
There are two types of brass faucet finishes used for bathroom faucets:
Polished Brass Finish
This traditional bathroom faucet finish is mostly made by polishing solid brass and coating it with lacquer to keep it from tarnishing. This makes a solid brass faucet tarnish-free.
Instead of utilizing brass, some manufacturers also create “polished brass finish faucets” using metal alloys. Before adding lacquer, these alloys are electroplated.
Both methods result in a brilliant, highly reflective finish that is dazzling. They come in a variety of lovely golden-brown hues.
Polished brass finishes are coveted for their longevity and non-tarnishability. They complement a variety of designs, from conventional to vintage, and have a slick, polished appearance.
Polished faucet finish combines well with minimalist design themes and accents.
Polished brass has the drawback of being a little more expensive than the other bathroom finishes we cover in this piece. Although a polished brass finished faucet’s gleaming surface is appealing, it is also likely to contain water stains and fingerprints. Over time, the lacquer layer will likewise get dull.
In contrast to polished brass, satin brass has a textured finish, giving satin brass finished faucets a smooth matte appearance.
Satin-brass faucet finish is easier to clean than polished brass because the matte finish hides fingerprints and water marks. Finding decorations and other fixtures that match the appearance of satin brass is a little more challenging, though.
Satin brass polished faucets should match your bathroom’s design aesthetic, whether it’s traditional, modern, or contemporary. Although they have a clean, uncomplicated appearance, the polished gold-brown color gives them a posh, luxurious feel.
Stainless Steel Faucets
Stainless steel is another popular metal used for faucet construction.
Steel is more challenging to cast and process than brass because it is tougher and has a higher melting temperature. But it doesn’t contain any lead, which is a significant benefit in today’s regulatory climate. Also, castings may be made thinner and utilize less material because they are stronger.
Characteristics of Stainless Steel Faucets
This alloy with an iron base can resist corrosion and rust. Even though stainless steel treatments are more durable and less expensive than silver, the surface is very shiny.
Simply wipe down stainless steel finishes with soap and water to clean them. They are also resistant to scratches. But they are a little pricey.
These are wonderful faucet types to consider if you’re constructing a bathroom in a modern, industrial, or contemporary style. These faucet finishes will work well with marble or wood countertops if you are considering using such materials for your countertops.
Also, stainless steel bathroom faucet finishes are stronger than brass faucets, which is great for long-term use but makes them more expensive and harder to make.
Because of this, faucets with stainless steel coatings are much more common than real stainless steel faucets.
Types of Stainless Steel Finish Faucets
These stainless steel faucets are corrosion resistant and highly durable since they are often built from 304 or 316 stainless steel.
18/8 and 18/10 are the two popular grades of 304 stainless steel used to produce faucets. These figures represent the steel’s chromium and nickel content. If you’re concerned about durability, 18/10 steel (typical for silverware) is a bit harder and takes a little better polish. Even though 316 stainless steel is less common, it may be a good choice if you care a lot about durability or live near the ocean because it has more molybdenum, which makes it more resistant to acids and salts.
Zinc and Zinc Alloys
Sometimes a zinc alloy is used to create less expensive bathroom accessories like faucets. The most well-known is an alloy made by the New Jersey Zinc Company in 1929 and known as ZAMAC (for the metals it contains: zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper). This “pot metal” was first used to replace more expensive solid brass in places where resistant to corrosion was more important than strength.
Die-casting is a common way to make things like faucets, locks, cabinet handles and knobs, zippers, model trains, and toys for kids.
Although it is a distinctive metal that is dull and gray, it can be finished with chrome or another metal to blend in with a brass faucet.
The majority of zinc-made faucets will have some indication of this, sometimes subtly, on the box.
Characteristics of Zinc Faucet
The word “all-metal” on the box indicates that some of the faucet’s components are zinc. If it’s all brass, “All brass” will be written on the box. However, some businesses are deceptive, such as when they say, “all brass body and spout,” which implies that the handles are likely zinc. As opposed to “all brass construction,” “brass construction” nearly always refers to some of the parts being zinc.
The weight is another clue. All-brass or all-stainless faucets are much heavier than zinc faucets.
The story is frequently revealed by taking off the handle and taking a short look inside the casting where it joins the stem. Otherwise, it is “coppery,” meaning the casting is brass if it is gray metal. The composition of the faucet can also be seen by looking up the spout. This requires no disassembly. Here, a pen light comes in quite handy. Zinc has a drab gray spout. It is brass if it is brown, green, or “brassy.”
Not all alloys made of zinc are bad. The quality of a faucet can be maintained while using zinc alloy for ancillary components like handles and base plates. The strength of brass is not necessary for certain pieces, and zinc can be utilized to save costs by replacing the more expensive brass.
But zinc and zinc alloys should not be used in the body of a faucet, its spout, or any part that will be under water pressure for a long time.
Plastic, which is often used in faucets that are the least expensive, can be a problem. Even though the majority of polymers used in faucets are resistant to corrosion and generally robust, they still won’t last as long as stainless steel, zinc alloy, or brass. But one advantage of plastics is that they are completely lead-free. Of course, there are drawbacks to using plastics and the chemicals required to make them.
Cross-linked polyethylene, also known as PEX, is a type of plastic that isn’t too fragile and is now used in homes to replace PVC pipes. To prevent any chance of lead exposure, several metal faucets ranging in price from moderate to high end contain a thin PEX inner coating. The majority of specialists, however, prefer only partially-bodied plastic faucets.
What Type of Faucets Last the Longest?
With today’s technology, we can make fixtures that have almost any look, function, or other quality you’re looking for. Thanks to the wide variety of available faucet types. Even though it may seem like there are a lot of different kinds of faucets, you can include most of them in one of four main categories.
The ball faucet, the original type of washerless faucet, is most frequently found in older homes. Ball faucets have a single handle operated by a metal ball with slots within. To regulate the flow and temperature of the water leaving the faucet, the slots in the ball line up with the cold and hot water inlets. The ball manages the water flow as you adjust the handle. Ball faucets are more likely to leak than disc or cartridge faucets because they have more intricate parts working together.
Disc faucets, a more contemporary style of faucet, have a single lever with a large cylindrical body. This faucet has two ceramic discs at the bottom for operation and a pressure-balancing cartridge that combines hot and cold water. It’s easy to use: move the handle up and down to control the water flow, and move it left and right to control the temperature. Disc faucets are well-regarded for being high-quality and incredibly reliable. They also require less maintenance.
The first demand for indoor plumbing led to the development of compression faucets. They are usually noticeable in older homes. But recently, vintage faucets have become very popular in newer homes that have been made to look more rustic and modern.
Compression faucets contain separate hot and cold water handles, like cartridge faucets. The compression faucets are powered by the compression stem, a long screw with a washer at the end that presses on the valve seat.
A rubber seal pulls up against a valve seat to stop the water flow as the compression is tightened. In other words, to stop the flow of water from a compression faucet, you must totally tighten the handle. Compression faucets are generally less expensive than other faucets. However, they will need frequent maintenance and are more likely to leak.
Double- Handle Cartridge Faucet
Compression faucets and double-handle cartridge faucets both function in the same way. Each has a handle for hot and cold water separately. However, cartridge faucets are much more dependable and smooth. To switch the water on and off, turn the faucets halfway.
A plastic cartridge inside a valve with a handle is used to turn this type of faucet on and off. Turning a faucet handle causes the valve’s cartridge to move, which controls how much water flows out of the faucet. Cartridge faucets have excellent performance and are also reasonably priced. Since they only need a few parts, replacing this faucet is also extremely straightforward.
Among the four types mentioned, the disc faucet is considered by many as the best type of faucet that will last longer. However, it all depends on how you use and maintain it.
What is the Best Material for a Faucet?
The most common non-corrosive materials used to make faucets are stainless steel and brass. Less expensive models are often made of plastic or zinc alloys, which tend to wear out faster. But plastic and composite materials can be helpful when used on the outside of bath and shower faucets. For example, they can keep the faucet’s surface from getting too hot. This increases safety. Additionally, chrome-plated composite components have a surface that is just as durable as chrome-plated brass and zinc parts.
When special dezincification-resistant (DZR) brass is used, all-brass bodies are known to be the most durable and unlikely to leak or corrode. The acidity of tap water or other chemicals has no effect on this unique type of brass. The material typically costs more, but it provides durability.
Therefore, choose brass if you want durable faucets that won’t leak and are simple to maintain.
What Faucet is Guaranteed for Life?
Kohler faucets are guaranteed for life as long as the original owner of the home still lives there. In the event that the faucet drips or leaks while in this configuration, Kohler will send the client a brand-new faucet cartridge free of charge. Leaks are frequently the result of the cartridge.
What Faucets do Plumbers Recommend?
Plumbers consider Kohler, Moen, and Faucetu the three best brands. Due to these brands’ high standards, dependability, and accessibility, plumbers favor them.
Is Zinc or Brass Better for Faucets?
But compared to brass, zinc and zinc alloys are far less resilient. Zinc-bodied faucets are unlikely to last as long as brass ones, but they are fine in handles and other areas where water pressure is not applied. If longevity is your primary concern, avoid this material.
On the other hand, brass is the best material and is known to be the most durable and less likely to corrode or leak.
Ceramics, wood, and glass have all been used to make faucets. Modern coating technologies can make any material look like silver, brass, pewter, nickel, or gold. Brass can be strengthened and made more resistant to corrosion by adding aluminum. Copper prevents most bacteria and fungi (including mold and mildew) from surviving.
Polished brass finishes are chosen for their longevity and non-tarnishability. Some manufacturers also create “polished brass finish faucets” using metal alloys. Satin-brass-polished faucets should match the style of your bathroom, whether it’s traditional, modern, or contemporary. Stainless steel treatments are more durable and less expensive than silver, but the surface is very shiny. Even though 316 stainless steel is less common, it may be a good choice.
Zinc is a distinctive metal that is dull and gray. It can be finished with chrome or another metal to blend in with a brass faucet. Faucet finishes are what give your kitchen or bathroom the appearance you want. Polished nickel finishes can be found in various colors and textures.
Among the different finishes, we listed here, oil-rubbed bronze, satin brass, and brushed nickel are the best options. If you want to know more about what material for faucets will last longer, you can visit faucetu.com. You will find various types and finishes of faucets to choose from. Feel free also to ask questions by commenting below.