Several types of tub faucets are available today for the homeowner. The faucets all do the same thing--dispense hot and cold water--but the various features and designs make different types ideal for one type of home or another. In general, you can choose from dual-handled faucets and single-handled faucets but there are several other types of which you might not have heard, including Roman faucets and free-standing faucets. Each one has a different style and slightly different use.
Single-Handled Tub Faucets
Single-handled tub faucets have one handle that controls the flow of the water and the water temperature. It connects to the hot and cold water pipes. As you move the single handle, valves inside the faucet control how much water from each pipe flows into the tub.
A dual-handled tub faucet has two handles. One is for hot water, while the other is for cold and you control the water flow by how much you turn each handle. This is the most basic type of tub faucet, as well as the oldest. Dual-handled faucets come in many handle styles and finishes, including chrome, glass and metal.
A Roman faucet is a type of tub faucet that can be confused with a wall-mount faucet. You can tell a Roman faucet because it is installed on the side of the tub rails, or the "deck." This type of faucet is only installed on top of the walls of the tub and never in the vertical shower wall. The faucet is designed with a spout that arcs up and comes down in an arch, so it has to be installed this way. Usually, it has a dual-handle design, with hot and cold water handles on either side.
Compression and Washerless Faucets
Compression and washerless faucets are two general categories of tub faucets and comprise nearly all of the tub faucets on the market today. They are distinguished by how the inner parts are assembled. Compression faucets are assembled with a cap, valve and washer. When you turn the handle one way, the valve begins to open and water starts to flow through. This is the most basic group of tub faucet on the market today and includes several wall-mount and Roman style faucets. Washerless faucets work in a similar manner but they are a little more modern. These faucets use a diverting valve and cartridge to control the flow. They do not use any washers in their design.
The freestanding faucet is the opposite of the wall-mount faucet. It connects directly to a water pipe extension that raises out of the floor. These faucets are used in homes that do not already have traditional shower pipes installed inside the walls surrounding a tub. These faucets are often used on antique tubs and freestanding wash basins. The faucets can be installed almost anywhere in a room, as long as water pipes are routed along the floor in close proximity.
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