11 March 2021

Ask the Expert

Choosing the right bath mixer taps for your bathroom

The days of adjusting separate hot and cold water taps to fill the bath are over; bath mixer taps have transformed the bathing experience, for the better. Here below we consider all you need to know about choosing bath mixer taps: the different types and what the best options are for different style baths.

Running a bath at the end of a stressful day is one of life’s simpler pleasures. Relax into a warm bath and bodily aches and pains seem to soak away. Bath mixer taps are what allow the magic to happen. And like the wash hand basin taps, contemporary bath mixer taps can be an attractive addition to the décor of bathrooms.

Nowadays there are a large number of styles to choose from; sleek modern, Victorian, rustic, sculptural avant-garde. Whatever the look there is a lot of sophisticated engineering and functional workings hidden behind these bathroom fittings. The right choice can improve the bathing experience as well as making cleaning easier.

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How does the bath mixer tap work?

Just like the wash hand basin, the bath mixer taps combine hot and cold running water within the body of the tap. It must therefore be connected to the water mains and the hot water plumbing in the bathroom.

The mixture of hot and cold water is controlled by two separate controls or levers (hot and cold) or a single one that can move from left to right (hot to cold) to achieve the desired temperature. The water exits through the spout, the part that protrudes from the fitting over the bath. The mixer tap mechanism is based on a series of valves that are opened and closed using friction.

Among the differentiating features of the bath mixer tap is its capacity to handle greater water flow. Specifically for the bath and shower mixer, a pressure balancing or thermostatic feature means that temperature extremes are avoided so that scalding hot or uncomfortable extremes are prevented if other taps are opened simultaneously.

 


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The different choices for bath mixer taps

The choice of bath mixer taps will depend on the type of bath you have, whether it’s freestanding or built-in. As well as personal preferences regarding materials, finish and design, bath mixer taps are either paired (hot and cold controls joined within a single artefact) or mono (single lever control).

The most appropriate bath mixer taps for the freestanding bath are either wall-mounted or floor-mounted free-standing taps. For the built-in bath, the appropriate choices include the deck-mounted bath taps, bath shower mixer taps or wall-mounted bath taps.

bath-mixer-taps

#1 Bath mixer taps

A built-in bath will normally have provision for monobloc or paired pillar taps with a mixer for hot and cold connections. A predrilled hole or two depending on the model is provided at the end or sometimes the middle of the bathtub.

The deck taps are a good option for young families who use the bath frequently as they allow for greater temperature control and are more straightforward to plumb.

bath-mixer-tap-with-shower-head

#2 Bath mixer tap with shower head

Another variation on the bath mixer tap is to fit a shower head with a handheld hose that can be controlled manually and typically has a bracket (on the wall or integrated within the taps fitting) to support the hose when not in use.

The main advantage of this arrangement is that it provides greater freedom to wash hair, pets and anything else that needs bathing separately. And cleaning the bath itself is also greatly facilitated.

bath-mixer-taps-retractable-shower-head

#3 Bath mixer taps with retractable shower head

Modern variations on this design feature a retractable shower hose which is housed neatly within the body of the bath. Compact and easy to handle the retractable hose is practical and looks great too. The retractable hose can be combined with separate hot and cold controls for a designer statement that can be positioned on a shelf adjacent to the bath.

wall-mounted-bath-mixer-tap

#4 Wall-mounted bath mixer taps

The wall-mounted bath mixer taps have the plumbing hidden within the walls while the spout is positioned directly over the bath. They look stylish and are more visible within the bathroom décor so should be considered more as a feature. Installation is more cumbersome and if they need to be repaired access is more difficult. But they do look great.

free-standing-bath-and-shower-mixer-tap

#5 Freestanding bath and shower mixer tap

With the increasing popularity of the freestanding bathtub, it’s more common to find freestanding bath mixer taps in the bathroom. This type of bath doesn’t typically have holes for pillar or deck mounted mixer taps so either a wall-mounted or freestanding mixer is required.

The freestanding bath mixer taps are supported on a column that houses the plumbing within and is positioned slightly above the bathtub. The column can be located anywhere (as long as its spout directs water flow over the bath) and can incorporate a hose shower fitting. Underfloor plumbing is required and represents an additional cost but visually the freestanding bath mixer is very impacting.

FAQs

The tap mechanism works on the principle of friction, ceramic disks slide against spring controlled ceramic or plastic washers. Two ceramic surfaces in contact with one another provide an excellent seal and the water acts as lubricant to avoid wear and tear. If maintenance is required the internal workings or cartridge is simply replaced.

Generally the thread width is between 28mm and 35mm in diameter, this allows for the bath mixer connection without risking the tap falling through the holes.

Not only are they more efficient at filling the bath and controlling the temperature the shower hose can help with keeping the bath clean as well.

Generally bath mixer taps are made from cast brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, which is then finished or plated. The most popular finish for bath mixer taps is chrome, followed by nickel or brushed steel.

  • Hold the tap vertically and fix a washer to the underside.
  • Then screw the flexi tap tails (that will connect to hot and cold feeds) into the body of the tap and tighten by hand.
  • Screw fixing studs into the bottom of the taps then position the tap over the predrilled hole in the bath deck. Making sure to keep the tap upright lower the tails and fixing studs through the opening.
  • From below the bath attach a washer and retaining plate onto the fixing studs, to keep feeds in a fixed position.
  • Screw nuts onto fixing studs by hand till the tap is positioned correctly and then tighten using a spanner. Make sure to keep hot on the left and cold on the right.
  • Tools required: spanner

Follow the steps above and once the tap is fitted add the hose with proprietary washers.

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