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When you are looking to replace your kitchen faucet, there are a few things that you need to take into consideration.
One of the most important factors is the type of material that the faucet is made from. There are a few different materials that are popular choices for kitchen faucets, so deciding which one is right for you can be tricky.
In this blog post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each material so that you can make an informed decision when shopping for a new kitchen faucet.
The different types of materials kitchen faucets are made from
Kitchen faucets come in various materials, finishes, and styles. Finishes include chrome, brushed nickel, stainless steel, oil-rubbed bronze, polished brass, pewter or black.
Styles include traditional single handle one faucet with a separate spout for sprayer attachment and pull-down sprayer; high arc two handle three function, one spout/sprayer; transitional two handle single faucet with sprayer attachment.
There are many different types of kitchen faucets available on the market today that are made from different materials including: solid brass, stainless steel, ceramic disc cartridges and plastic bodies.
- Solid Brass: Solid brass is a strong, durable metal that can be highly polished to create a bright finish or left in its natural golden color. Solid brass is an ideal material for kitchen faucets because it does not scratch easily and resists corrosion.
- Stainless Steel: A relatively economical alternative to solid brass, stainless steel is also a strong, durable metal that stands up well to wear and tear. However, stainless steel may lose its shine over time.
- Ceramic Disc Cartridges: Made from a dense, nonporous material that resists dirt and stains, ceramic discs are strong and long-lasting. They work with one moving part to create a nearly maintenance-free faucet not affected by hard water and temperature changes.
- Plastic: Made from a strong, durable resin material, plastic is a low-maintenance faucet that resists corrosion and scratching while standing up to temperature fluctuations well. However, avoid using harsh chemicals with the faucet because they may cause it to corrode or etch.
- Copper: Copper looks nice, but the price can be high. If cared for properly, copper can last a lifetime.
- Bronze: Bronze is expensive and heavy, but it’s unique because it never wears out or needs to be polished.
How to choose the best material for your needs
Kitchen faucets are a necessary component of your kitchen. They allow you to wash your dishes, without having to rely on a sink full of water. In addition, the faucet provides more than just that function – it can also spout out some hot water for tea or coffee making purposes.
When shopping around for kitchen faucets, you need to decide on what material is best for your needs. This will help save you time and money, as all types of kitchen faucets are not created equally. Let’s look at the various materials used for kitchen faucets and see which one might be best for your situation:
Stainless steel: In most business establishments, stainless steel is the most popular choice. Stainless steel faucets are sturdy and strong enough to withstand normal use of a busy kitchen. And because stainless steel does not corrode, rust or stain easily during its lifetime, stainless steel faucets also require little maintenance.
However, certain types of food preparation may lead to the development of “water spots” on stainless steel faucets. Water spots are caused by mineral deposits (and other salts) that cling stubbornly to the surface of stainless-steel products.
Chrome plated brass: Chrome plated brass is another popular choice for kitchen faucets. As opposed to regular chrome, the plating on chrome plated brass is much thicker and will not wear off or chip during normal use.
Although it is also generally resistant to corroding, rusting, and staining, the surface of a chrome-plated faucet may become marred by certain types of food preparation. Also, durable stainless-steel faucets are more economical than chrome plated brass faucets.
Stainless steel with copper accents: Another material option is stainless steel with copper accents. Again, because of the metal composition used in this type of faucet, it will not corrode, rust or stain easily. However, this type of faucet can be quite expensive.
Brass: Brass is the least durable material choice for kitchen faucets, but it can still stand up to normal use in a busy kitchen. The metal tends to tarnish and corrode, which can cause discoloration of your dishes. However, when properly maintained, brass faucet should last quite a long time.
So, before you choose the material for your kitchen faucet, think about how frequently you clean it and whether you will get water spots on certain types of food preparation.
Water spots are less likely to occur with stainless steel faucets (especially if they are de-scaled regularly). However, if chrome plated brass faucets (or stainless steel with copper accents) have no stains and/or corrosion, they will last much longer than regular chrome.
Which material is the most durable for faucets?
By far, the best material to invest in is brass. Ideally, both the faucet’s body and controls should be brass.
Brushed nickel is a highly durable finish. Scratches and tarnishing are prevented by an additional material coating such as titanium. Chrome is the least durable material, but it is also the least expensive.
Which faucet finish is the easiest to keep clean?
It is somewhat ironic that the easiest faucet to keep clean would-be stainless steel. Stainless steel does not have an easy finish to clean, but it has virtually no nooks and crannies that soap scum can build up in, so it stays looking nice for a longer time than other finishes.
However, if your faucet is stainless steel, you will have to clean it regularly or else the gunk will build up.
Brass finishes are easier to keep clean than stainless steel because soap scum builds up in all nooks and crannies. However, the finish itself prevents water spots from building up as easily as on other metals because of its protective film.
Chrome finishes are easily cleaned with regular soap and water, but it is more susceptible to water spots than brass. Chrome also has the advantage of being less expensive than other finishes.
Polished nickel is slightly easier to clean than chrome because soap scum accumulates in fewer nooks and crannies, but it will show water spots more easily.
Oil-rubbed bronze is a harder finish to keep clean than others because it has a protective coating that holds onto soap scum and hard water stains more tenaciously.
The worst faucet finishes from the perspective of keeping them looking nice for as long as possible are those with matte or painted finishes. These finishes are frequently used on old faucets to cover up problems with the metal underneath.
For instance, brass or copper faucets may have a matte finish painted onto them to hide corrosive spots. Unfortunately for the consumer, when it comes time to replace these faucets, they will likely look worse than uncoated brass faucets.
Satin nickel is like oil-rubbed bronze in that it holds onto soap scum and hard water spots, making it hard to keep clean. However, because it does not have a protective coating like oil-rubbed bronze, it will show water spots much more easily.
To sum up, brass, nickel, and pewter are the most effective at concealing fingerprints and smudges. Chrome is the most challenging material to keep visibly clean.
How to care for your kitchen faucet
Let’s talk about kitchen faucet care. The great thing about owning a faucet, besides the touch-free water control, is that they are fairly low maintenance.
You might not think so because it depends on the quality of your faucet, but to make sure you get the most out of your faucet, following a few simple guidelines will ensure that it lasts and is easy to clean.
- One thing we don’t suggest – there’s usually no need to use any type of harsh cleaner on your faucet (like oven cleaner). Over time this will wear off the finish and alter the color.
- If you have any hard water stains around your faucet, take a used lemon rind and rub it in the spot. If there’s still some residue left behind after, try using a microfiber cloth or sponge to dust it away. To get rid of mineral deposits on the spout, use vinegar and an old toothbrush to get in there and scrub away.
- Kitchen faucets are some of the easiest to clean up because they’re so accessible. You can even get under most models to wipe out any buildup too, which is something you should always do when cleaning your sink deck
- Don’t let food and grease gunk up your sprayer. Some sprays come with little scrubber pads to use, but if not, try holding the nozzle under the hot running water to flush out any buildup inside. If you can’t pull it off your sink deck because of its design, then just take a wet cloth and wipe down the outside and that should do the trick.
- You don’t have to use any special cleaners on your faucet either – you can clean it up with an all-purpose cleaner or use a weak solution of vinegar and water to wipe it down. Just avoid using soaps because they’ll leave behind residue that could get in your food when cooking or change the taste of your drinking water.
- If you do notice any scratches on the surface, give it a good rub with some mineral oil (be sure to wipe off any excess). This will help protect against residue buildup and make it easier for food to slide right off. Mineral oil is a great alternative to use if you don’t have any of our Rubbed Bronze Cleaner on hand.
- If you want to keep it looking shiny and new, after washing try buffing your faucet off with a soft cloth to bring back the shine. Just remember not to use anything too abrasive – especially if you have a chrome finish!
So now that you’re an expert at kitchen faucet care, it’s time to go forth and enjoy your touch-free faucet.
FAQs about kitchen faucets
Kitchen faucet finishes can vary depending on factors such as style and brand, but they can be found in a variety of colors and patterns. Brushed nickel and chrome finishes are very popular because they provide durability and visual interest. Other kitchen faucet finishes include polished chrome, stainless steel, oil rubbed bronze and brass.
Kitchen faucets are designed with different finishes for both aesthetic purposes as well as corrosion prevention. Some finishes resist water spots better than others. However, many manufacturers offer warranties that protect against corrosion.
Cleaning a kitchen faucet is not difficult and can be done easily with the most common household cleaners such as Windex, Formula 409 or Bar Keepers Friend, among others. All that’s required is a soft cloth and the product of your choice. It might also help to remove the faucet handles for better access.
If your kitchen faucet starts to drip, it is an indication that something might be wrong with either the washer or packing nut. The problem can be resolved without calling in a professional plumber by replacing these parts.
If your kitchen faucet handle is wobbly or loose, it can be tightened with a simple trip to the hardware store. First, shut off the water to avoid getting wet while you do any repairs. Then, cover any exposed surfaces like the countertop with a towel to avoid scratching them. Most faucet handles are held onto the valve stem by two screws, which can be removed and replaced.
A kitchen sink sprayer is mounted to your faucet and provides an adjustable water output for cleaning purposes. If it starts leaking, don’t despair; it can usually be fixed with a quick trip to the hardware store. If it breaks off entirely, you will need to replace it after removing the old one. Replacement is as simple as screwing in a new sprayer and reattaching it to the faucet.
An aerator is a detachable feature that can be unscrewed from the tip of your kitchen faucet. It screens out debris and other materials that might end up in your water supply. If an aerator begins to leak, it can be replaced with a basic trip to the hardware store.
The material of your kitchen faucet is an often-overlooked detail that can have huge implications on the look, feel, and functionality of your sink.
If you are in the market for a new one or want to replace yours with something more stylish or eco-friendly, take time to consider what might be best for you before making a purchase.
For instance, do you need something durable? Are style points important? Is it worth spending more money upfront if it lasts longer?
These are all factors to keep in mind when choosing which type of material would work best for your needs. We hope this article has helped narrow down some options so that you can find just what is right for your kitchen!
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