TOILETS

Q: What is the difference between a one-piece and two piece toilet?

AA two-piece toilet consists of the tank and bowl; whereas a one-piece is molded together and is considered a low profile unit. Both one- and two-piece toilets come in either elongated or round front.

Q:What is the difference between a round front and elongated toilet?

AElongated and round refer to the front part of the toilet. The elongated is approximately 2 inches longer than the round front. Round toilets are the standard. Elongated toilets are upgrades. Both bowls are available in a taller height.

Q:Why do I need a 1.6 or a 1.28 gallon toilet? Why do some work better than others?

AThe federal government has mandated that all toilets sold in the U. S. for residential use will be 1.6 gallon flush. Each manufacturer engineers their toilets differently, which is why some work better than others. As new technology is introduced, toilets are getting better and better with more efficiency as the goal. Gone are the days of the 3 or 5 gallon tank.

Q: Why is a comfort/chair height toilet becoming so popular?

AThe higher styled toilets are being used more because Americans are getting taller and our population is aging. Higher toilets are much easier on the knees.


FAUCETS

Q:What are the different types of kitchen faucets called?

AThe most common kitchen faucet is the “8-inch deck model” which mounts onto the top of the sink, with threaded shanks or bolts passing down through mating holes. The terms “8-inch” or “8-inch centers” refer to a model which mounts to a sink which has mounting holes positioned eight inches apart, center-to-center. A “center mount” (also called the “post-type”) requires just one sink hole for passage of the water supplies and for mounting means. A style that is very popular is the “concealed” design, which routes the water from the mechanisms to the spout underneath the deck of the sink, resulting in just the handles and spout protruding above. Though it makes for a clean and uncluttered appearance, it is more difficult to install. It is found only in two-handle lines for kitchen use.

Another style which less common but popular is the “wall-mount”. Rather than mounting onto the sink deck, this type installs into the backsplash of a sink, or into the wall itself above the sink. A very popular style today is a faucet with a spray attachment. Relating this to the fixture on which the faucet is mounted, the difference between a spray and non-spray design is often defined in terms of “four-hole” and “three-hole” drillings. In the case of spray model faucets, the extra mounting hole accommodates the nozzle nesting. There are center mount models equipped with spray which require just two drillings, as well as a special deck type in which the spray nozzle nests in the base of the faucet itself, thus requiring just three fixture drillings.

Q:What do I use to clean my fixtures?

ADo not, under any circumstances, use scouring agents, abrasive sponges, hydrochloric acid, i.e. so-called lime-scale removers, vinegar (acetic acid)-based cleaners, ammonia or metal silicates. Such cleaners are likely to damage the finish. You can prevent lime deposits from forming by always wiping your faucets dry immediately after use. The best way to clean your faucets is to wipe them with a wet, soapy cloth, rinse off and wipe dry. There are cleaning agents available that are designed specifically for the type of finish you have on your fixture.

Q:What is a center set?

AA center set is a lavatory bathroom faucet that is 4″ center to center from handle to handle.

Q:What is a escutcheon plate?

AAn escutcheon plate is used to cover holes on a sink in order to install a different style faucet. They come in 6″ for a bathroom faucet and 10″ for a kitchen faucet. For example, you would use a 6″ plate to cover a 4″ center-to-center (cc) hole and put a one-hole faucet in the center. A 10″ plate would be used if you had an old style 8″ cc kitchen faucet and wanted to replace it with a single hole kitchen faucet or pull-out type and did not want to use the extra holes for an air gap, soap dispenser, instant hot or water purifier.

Q:What do I use to clean my fixtures?

ADo not, under any circumstances, use scouring agents, abrasive sponges, hydrochloric acid, i.e. so-called lime-scale removers, vinegar (acetic acid)-based cleaners, ammonia or metal silicates. Such cleaners are likely to damage the finish. You can prevent lime deposits from forming by always wiping your faucets dry immediately after use. The best way to clean your faucets is to wipe them with a wet, soapy cloth, rinse off and wipe dry. There are cleaning agents available that are designed specifically for the type of finish you have on your fixture.

Q:What is a mini-widespread?

ALike a widespread but with a 4-inch center to center instead of 8 or 12 inches. There is no base and is sometimes easier to clean.

Q:What is a wide spread set?

AA wide spread is a lavatory bathroom faucet that has three separate parts that can measure from 8″ to 20″ from center to center of the handles.

Q:What is the difference between a ceramic cartridge versus compression, or O-ring seal?

ACeramic cartridges are two ceramic disks that sit on top of each other, allowing the handles to open and close at precisely the same spot every time. A compression valve uses washers which continually wear out forcing you to adjust the handle position until the washers wear down completely and then must be replaced. O-rings get very stiff and the faucet handles become hard to turn off and on.

Q:What types of faucets are available for the bathroom (lavatory)?

ATwo popular styles are the “4-inch centerset” and the “widespread”. Both of these are described in this FAQ. Many finishes are available, the most common and least expensive is chrome. Brushed nickel or satin nickel is very popular but is an upgrade.


SINKS

Q:What does it mean by a 3-hole or 4-hole sink?

AThe holes in a sink are used for the faucet, air gap, water dispenser, soap dispenser, water purifier, hot water dispenser, and/or separate pull-out hand spray.

Q:What is the difference between the materials sinks are made out of (i.e. stainless steel, porcelain, corian, fireclay, steel with enamel, quartz, cast iron)?

A

    • Stainless steel comes in 16, 18, 20 & 22 gauge steel. The lower the number, the heavier and thicker the sink. It is rust resistant and for an upscale house you want at least 18-gauge.
    • Steel with enamel coating is much like cast iron but much lighter. Once installed, any sound disappears.
    • Cast iron sinks have a enamel coating as well. The enamel used today doesn’t have lead, which creates a softer coating. Cast iron sinks are still very strong but the softer enamel needs extra care.
    • Quartz are a combination of stone quartz with acrylic resin. They are very durable and highly recommended.
    • China sinks are used exclusively in bathrooms. They come in multiple colors. The advantage of china over cast iron is its ability to be molded into various shapes.
    • Fireclay sinks are used in the kitchen and for bar sinks. They have a finish that is baked into the material, which is highly stain resistant. Their down-side is the limit of colors – white, biscuit and black.


TUBS – SHOWERS

Q:Can you add a hand shower to an existing showerhead?

AYes, all you need is a shower arm diverter. There is also new technology available which has resulted in a showerhead that includes a removable hand-piece. See Delta In2ition.

Q:Do I want an in-line heater in my whirlpool tub?

AYes, if you want to soak in a tub longer than 15 minutes. An in-line heater maintains the temperature of the water, it does not make it hotter.

Q:How high do you position showerheads or body sprays?

AShowerhead should be at least twelve inches higher than the tallest person in the household. Body sprays are usually in groups of three. Ideally one should be positioned to hit you in the shoulder area, one at the thigh area and one at the lower back area.

Q:What is a pressure balance valve?

AIt is a shower or tub/shower valve that balances the pressure on the hot and cold side (ex: hot 40psi, cold 40psi) and prevents scalding in the shower.

Q:What is a shower panel?

AA shower panel is a separate panel that mounts on a shower wall that includes a valve, showerhead, handshower, and body sprays. This is a quick and easy way to add these functions to your shower without tearing out the wall.

Q:What is roman tub faucet?

AA roman tub set is a tub set that is mounted on the deck of a tub not on the wall.

Q:What is the difference between a whirlpool tub and an airbath?

AA whirlpool tub has jets that circulate the water, where an airbath uses bubbles that rise gently from the bottom of the tub. Whirlpools are typically used for therapy, airbaths are used for a much gentler experience. Airbaths can be used with aromatherapy/essential oils. Both offer a spa-like experience.

Q:What is the difference between acrylic and fiberglass, cast iron, steel, tubs?

A

    • Acrylic is a solid sheet material that is heated and vacuum formed to the desired shape. It is then reinforced at the back with fiberglass to give it strength. It is a higher-end material, very durable and super easy to clean.
    • Fiberglass is a material that adheres to a mold and then a gelcoat finish and paint is sprayed onto it. The most common material used in tubs and showers and is the most economical.
    • Cast iron tubs are forged and the finish is applied in powder form while the tub is hot causing the finish to melt onto the cast iron.

Q:When should I use a diverter or volume control valve?

AWhen designing a custom shower system using a thermostat valve without an integrated volume control, individual volume controls for the showerhead, handshower, and body sprays are the optimum method. This allows the user to be able to control each element of the custom shower independently… all on, one on, two on… whatever the user desires at the moment, without limitation.

It is possible to use a diverter valve in a custom shower situation, however, this restricts the flexibility of the system. A non-integrated thermostat valve would require the diverter to be plumbed downstream of a volume control (to be able to control the water flow, on or off). The diverter then directs the water to the showerhead or the handshower or the body sprays … but not all at the same time.

A diverter valve is best used in smaller installations where a lower flow mixing valve (such as an integrated thermostat valve or a pressure balancing valve) has been used. The homeowner can then still have both a handshower and a showerhead, but is limited to using only one at a time. There are instances, however, when a diverter might be used in an extensive customer shower. When the homeowner wants more shower outlets than the valve can handle, a diverter is one way to compromise.

For example, if the homeowner would like two sets of three or more body sprays positioned at different levels or on different walls (pushing the flow requirement past the valve’s capacity), but doesn’t want to add another thermostat valve, a diverter might be the answer for achieving that option.

Q:Why would I want a variable speed pump on my whirlpool tub?

AA variable speed pump can have anywhere from three to five speeds allowing you to adjust the intensity of the water flow.


MISCELLANEAOUS

Q:What do I use to clean my fixtures?

ADo not, under any circumstances, use scouring agents, abrasive sponges, hydrochloric acid, i.e. so-called lime-scale removers, vinegar (acetic acid)-based cleaners, ammonia or metal silicates. Such cleaners are likely to damage the finish. You can prevent lime deposits from forming by always wiping your faucets dry immediately after use. The best way to clean your faucets is to wipe them with a wet, soapy cloth, rinse off and wipe dry. There are cleaning agents available that are designed specifically for the type of finish you have on your fixture

Q:What do the different Warranties really mean?

ARead all warranties carefully. Many cover only original owners and will not pass through if you are buying a new home. Some will say “Lifetime warranty” but it will only apply to certain parts of the faucet. You must register all of your products with the manufacturer. If you have problems, deal directly with them to establish rapport and/or a file. Do not go back to where you bought it, this used to be the case, but manufacturers have changed this practice. Keep all receipts of purchase and installation manuals/replacement and parts breakdowns.

Q:What is the advantage of water purifier systems?

APurifying systems vary from the very basic (reducing water’s bad taste and odor) to advanced (removing everything from the water and automatically shutting off with you need to change the filters). Cost, storage capacity, and water usage are all factors in which system you purchase.