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The Plumber: The basics of bathroom faucets

Ed Del Grande
Tribune News Service

Dear Ed: I want a new bathroom faucet and before I go to my local home center I would like a little direction. I plan on keeping my existing bathroom sink and I understand that all bathroom faucets are not the same. So, I need a little help to determine what style faucet I should choose. Could you please give me one of your famous plumbing pep talks on the basics of bathroom faucets?

Todd, California

Dear Todd: You already have the first bit of information, bathroom faucets are not the same! Today there are many types and styles of bathroom faucets available and it can be a little confusing to choose a faucet to fit your existing sink. Consult your plumber to ensure your exact replacement type or if you have a wall-mounted faucet.

Here are some bathroom faucets basics:

The two most popular categories for three-hole bathroom sinks are widespread and centerset faucets. Widespread bathroom faucets usually feature separate components with hot and cold handles that measure between 8 to 16 inches apart. Centerset faucets are usually compact single unit deck-mounted types with hot and cold handles about 4 inches apart.

For single-hole bathroom sinks, a single-hole, single-handle faucet usually does the trick.

Final tip: Bring a photo of your existing faucet to the home center so the salesperson can get a better handle on choosing your best replacement.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write Always consult local contractors and codes.