An Introduction to Brass Bathroom Faucets
Brass has been a popular metal of choice for bathroom faucets for over a century, and for good reason. Durable, easy to maintain, and classically stylish, brass bathroom faucets offer homeowners an elegant fixture option that can stand the test of time.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about Brass Bathroom Faucets, from the pros and cons of brass construction to the different styles and finishes available. You’ll learn how to choose the right brass faucet for your bathroom, get tips on installation and care, and discover why brass remains one of the best materials for bath fixtures. Whether you’re renovating your bathroom or just looking to upgrade, read on to become a brass faucet expert!
Benefits of Choosing Brass Bathroom Faucets
So what makes Brass Bathroom Faucets such a great choice for the bath? Here are some of the top benefits that brass provides:
Brass is an extremely durable metal alloy of copper and zinc that can withstand everyday wear and tear. The material is resistant to corrosion and mineral buildup from water. Brass fixtures like faucets are designed to last for decades with proper care and maintenance.
Brass faucets are relatively easy to clean – a simple wipe down with a soft cloth and warm water is usually all that’s needed to keep your brass fixtures looking shiny and new. The smooth surface doesn’t readily show water spots or calcium deposits.
Classic, Timeless Appearance
Polished brass has a rich, warm golden tone that works with almost any style of bathroom decor. Brass fixtures have an elegant, timeless look and feel that can be dressed up or down with the right accessories and finishes. The classic style suits traditional and modern bathrooms alike.
Versatile Finish Options
While a shiny polished brass finish is most common, you can also find brass bathroom faucets in satin, antique and oil-rubbed bronze finishes. This allows you to match the faucets to other fixtures and hardware in the bathroom for a cohesive look.
Brass strikes an ideal balance between affordability and quality. Brass faucets are generally less expensive than other high-end metal options like nickel or chrome yet still offer superior performance and style that lasts.
Environmentally Friendly Material
Brass is highly recyclable and contains minimal lead due to current regulations. Choosing brass faucets is an eco-friendly choice. Vintage brass fixtures can also often be salvaged and repurposed instead of discarded.
The Drawbacks of Brass Faucets
Brass bathroom faucets have a great deal to offer, but there are a couple of potential downsides to consider as well:
- Doesn’t Resist Stains and Tarnish – Unlike stainless steel or chrome, unlacquered brass can gradually tarnish and stain over time, losing its shine. Frequent polishing is needed to maintain the original bright finish.
- Susceptible to Damage – Although durable, untreated brass is relatively soft and prone to dents, scratches and mineral etching from acidic cleaners. A clear lacquer finish can help protect against damage.
- Noisy – Brass-on-brass faucet mechanisms can sometimes amplify water flow noise if not properly insulated. Newer faucet designs prevent this issue.
- Higher Maintenance – While brass is fairly easy to care for, it does require more regular cleaning than other metallics to keep looking pristine and prevent tarnish buildup.
Types of Brass Bathroom Faucet Finishes
One of the great things about brass is that it offers a variety of finish options to suit any design aesthetic:
This is the classic, shiny golden brass finish that most people associate with high-quality brass fixtures. When regularly polished, the unlacquered surface retains its bright, light-reflecting shine.
A soft glow brass finish with a delicate sheen. Satin brass has a muted appearance compared to polished brass, making it suitable for both traditional and modern bathrooms. The brushed satin texture nicely disguises water spots and fingerprints.
This dark, smoky bronze finish is created when raw brass is treated to an oxidation process then coated with oil. The deep, burnt umber tone has an antique aged look. Oil-rubbed bronze offers a unique rustic or industrial vibe.
Simulating a vintage, well-worn brass patina, antique brass faucets have an old-world charm. Green and brown oxidization is intentionally left behind for a timeworn look. The mottled dark finish works well in traditional bathrooms.
For contemporary bathrooms, matte black is a bold, modern faucet finish option. Brass fixtures undergo a black oxide or powder coating treatment to produce the ultra-dark finish. The muted matte texture nicely disguises hard water spots.
While not pure brass, brushed nickel offers a versatile silver-tone finish. The soft brushed texture, created by mechanically rubbing the nickel finish, nicely hides fingerprints and watermarks for low maintenance. Brushed nickel works with both warm and cool color schemes.
No matter your design style, there’s a brass bathroom faucet finish that will look fabulous. Many faucets are also available in multiple finishes, allowing you to choose what works best for your bathroom’s overall look and feel.
Choosing the Right Brass Bathroom Faucet
When selecting a brass bathroom faucet, here are the key factors to consider:
Measure to see whether your existing sink or vanity is drilled to accommodate a widespread 3-hole faucet, single-hole faucet, or wall-mounted faucet. This will determine the basic faucet and handle style. Many brass faucets come in single- and widespread 3-hole configurations.
Brass bathroom faucets are available with different handle styles, like cross handles, lever handles, and simple round handles. The handle design you choose is mostly an aesthetic preference, though lever handles tend to be the most user-friendly option.
Waterflow and Pressure
Check that the faucet model you choose is rated for your home’s water pressure and flows at least 1.5 gallons per minute. Higher flow rates allow you to fill baths and sinks faster while still meeting water efficiency standards.
Spout heights typically range from 4 to 8 inches. Make sure you choose a faucet high enough to clear the backsplash or vanity height while still providing enough clearance in the sink basin below.
Brass faucet bodies may have a solid brass construction or cheaper hollow/plastic internal parts covered in a brass shell. Solid brass is more durable, while composite brass resists condensation problems.
Many manufacturers now use durable ceramic disc valves rather than old-style compression valves or less reliable ball valves. Ceramic valves provide optimal longevity and drip-free performance.
ADA Compliant Design
For accessible bathrooms, look for ADA compliant faucets with single lever handles and lower handle clearances. These designs make faucet operation easier for those with limited dexterity or mobility.
Stick with faucet brands that have a proven reputation for quality manufacturing and durability, like Moen, Delta, Kohler, Price Pfister, and American Standard. Read reviews to confirm reliability.
Look for at least a limited lifetime warranty that covers the faucet’s finish and mechanics. Better warranties provide added peace of mind that your faucet purchase is a sound investment.
Brass bathroom faucets range from about $100 up to $600+ for designer brands. Set a budget to narrow down your options. Remember higher priced faucets often equate to better materials and craftsmanship.
By keeping these key considerations in mind while browsing different styles, you’ll be able to confidently select the ideal brass bathroom faucet to install in your home.
Top Styles of Brass Bathroom Faucets
Brass bathroom faucets encompass a wide array of styles – from the classical to the ultra contemporary. Here are some of the most popular design styles to consider:
Widespread 3-Hole Faucets
The most traditional brass faucet style has three separate components – two handles and a spout. The widespread faucet has a timeless vintage design that pairs beautifully with vessel sinks or furniture vanities.
Centerset 2-Handle Faucets
With a compact bridge that connects the handles and spout, centerset faucets have a streamlined profile that’s easier to install. The two handles allow for precise hot and cold water control.
A single brass lever handle controls both water flow rate and temperature in these convenient faucets. They offer a sleek, minimalist look and are easier to operate than two-handle models.
Wall-mounted brass faucets attach directly to the wall rather than the sink or countertop. The elongated spouts facilitate filling vessels sinks while the minimalist form provides a clean, modern aesthetic.
These dramatic brass statement faucets have the spout and lever handle attached to a decorative arch or bar that bridges over the sink basin. Luxurious bridge faucets lend a high-end touch.
Mimicking the curvature of a goose’s neck, these elegantly arched faucets have vintage industrial appeal. The lofty swan-like spouts make it easy to fill vases or wash your hair in vessel sinks.
Compact brass bar faucets with a high-arching swivel spout are perfect for bathroom wet bars and prep sinks. The modest size allows them to fit neatly into tight spaces.
Whether your bathroom decor calls for traditional vintage flair or modern minimalism, you’re sure to find a beautiful brass faucet style that’s just right for creating your dream bathroom.
How to Install Brass Bathroom Faucets
Installing a new brass bathroom faucet upgrades the look of your bathroom while also being a relatively easy DIY project. Here are the basic steps involved:
Step 1: Turn Off Water Supply Lines
Start by shutting off the hot and cold water supply valves under the sink. Open the faucet handles to release pressure and ensure water is completely turned off.
Step 2: Remove Existing Faucet
Take off the handle(s), dome cap, and unscrew the retaining nut holding the old faucet in place. Lift off the faucet spout and handles. Clean away any plumber’s putty or calcium deposits with a putty knife.
Step 3: Prepare Mounting Holes
If needed, drill 1-3 holes in the countertop or sink to align with the faucet components using a hole saw drill bit. The holes should be 1-1.4 inches in diameter. Cover each hole with plumber’s putty to create a watertight seal.
Step 4: Insert Faucet & Connect Water Lines
Place the faucet spout and handles through the holes. From below, hand tighten the mounting nuts over rubber gaskets to secure the new faucet in position. Connect the hot and cold flexible supply lines to the faucet tailpieces and supply valves.
Step 5: Make Final Water Connections
Connect the drain pop-up assembly and p-trap under the sink basin. Turn the hot and cold water back on slowly. Check for leaks at connections. Fully open faucet handles to flush debris and test operation.
With the right tools and preparation, installing a new brass bathroom faucet can easily be a quick 1-2 hour DIY project. Just take precautions not to damage the sink surface or scratch the faucet finish.
Caring for Your Brass Bathroom Faucets
To keep your brass bathroom fixtures looking as good as new, be sure to clean and polish them regularly:
- Wipe faucets down after each use with a soft cotton cloth to prevent mineral buildup and water spots.
- For routine cleaning, use mild soap and water. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads that can scratch brass.
- Polish unlacquered brass monthly using brass polish paste and a soft cloth. This removes tarnish and maintains the shiny surface.
- Occasionally clean with a de-liming solution such as white vinegar to remove stubborn mineral deposits and restore shine.
- Apply a thin coat of lemon oil or mineral oil to lubricate valves and prevent tarnishing. Rub off any excess.
- Avoid letting water stand on brass surfaces for extended time periods to prevent oxidation.
- Use a toothbrush dipped in vinegar to gently clean hard-to-reach areas if needed. Rinse thoroughly.
With regular gentle cleaning and polishing, your quality brass bathroom fixtures should retain their original brilliance and eye-catching shine for many years before needing re-plating or refinishing.
Frequently Asked Questions About Brass Bathroom Faucets
Q: Is brass better than chrome for bathroom faucets?
Both offer pros and cons. Brass provides a warmer, more traditional look but requires more maintenance. Chrome has a cooler modern appeal, is stain-resistant, but may show more water spots. Ultimately personal style preference should guide your choice between these quality metal options.
Q: Should I avoid brass faucets due to lead content?
Modern brass faucets contain very minimal lead and are safe when used as intended. Current regulations restrict lead to under 0.25% for any plumbing components. Newer brass alloys utilize safer alternative metals like tin instead of lead.
Q: Why choose brass over bronze faucets?
Brass and bronze offer similar benefits, but brass tends to be more affordable and scratch/corrosion resistant while maintaining a brighter shine over time. Oil-rubbed bronze also has a distinctly darker, more rustic appearance than polished brass.
Q: Are brass faucets hard to keep clean?
Brass does require more regular cleaning than other metals to maintain its luster and prevent tarnish buildup. But with the help of products like brass polish paste, de-liming vinegar, and lemon oil, caring for brass fixtures is straightforward.
Q: Do I need to hire a plumber to install a new brass faucet?
Installing a new 3-hole or single-hole faucet is generally a job a handy homeowner can tackle in an hour or less. The basic skills needed are shutting off water lines, making connections, and drilling mounting holes if necessary. Watch tutorial videos to see the process.
When shopping for new bathroom fixtures, it’s easy to see why discerning homeowners so often choose stately and sophisticated brass bathroom faucets. Brass faucets add a note of luxury, stand the test of time with proper care, and bring a dose of antique charm to bathrooms both rustic and refined.
With information on the pros and cons, styles, finishes, selection criteria, installation and maintenance of brass faucets, you now have all the know-how to choose and care for the perfect brass fixtures to enhance your home’s decor for decades to come. So go ahead – add that elegant touch of brass to your bath! Just be prepared for lots of compliments from guests.