Most of us probably have a tub/shower in at least one bathroom in the house. The typical set up where there is a bathtub that is filled with a wall mount tub spout and valve (there is probably a shower head and a diverter somewhere as well). For many of us this is our only experience with a bathtub and we probably don’t think much about it.
But what if you want a different sort of tub? What if you want something bigger? Maybe free standing? Maybe you’d like a special spout or perhaps no spout at all? What do you do then? I’m glad to say there are lots of choices.
There are three things to consider when selecting a tub filler faucet; how fast will it fill the tub, where is it mounted and what does it look like? Of course cost is a factor as well. Of the three the first point is probably the most easily overlooked, which may be a big problem in the long run.
If you do not work with faucets on a regular basis you may not realize that faucets can have different flow rates. For example, a bathroom sink faucet flows about 2.2 gallons per minutes (gpm); fine for washing your hands but imagine how long it would take to fill an 80 gallon bathtub? If you are installing a larger than standard tub (something over 60x30x14) you will want to think about how long the faucet will take to fill that tub with water. Most tub manufacturers provide specifications including how many gallon of water are needed to fill and operate that tub and it is wise to check those specs out before you buy a faucet.
The next consideration is where the faucet is to be mounted. It may be wall mounted, deck mounted, tub mounted (for freestanding models) or floor mounted. Let’s look at wall mounted first as this is the common form.
As I mentioned above a typical wall mount tub filler usually includes a shower head as well. Under current code
such a valve is required to be scald guard; either pressure balanced or thermostatic. A pressure balance valve, which is the common choice, rarely flows more than 5-6 gpm and so may not be a good choice for a large tub. In addition, most pressure balance valves are “cycling” meaning they control temperature but not volume (just on or off). If you are someone who likes to soak in a tub for a long time you’ll probably want to be able to control the water between a trickle and full on.
If you have a wall mount situation you can also consider using a thermostatic valve or, if you do not have a shower, a two handle wall mount faucet. Either of these can fill a large bathtub quickly.
Larger bathtubs are commonly installed “deck mounted” that is, there is a flat deck around the bathtub rather than walls. Not surprisingly, this kind of installation calls for a deck mount tub filler. These are sometimes set on the rim of the tub as well. Either way you will want to make sure that the spout is of a size that will clear the tub rim and reach into the tub effectively. Most such fillers have two handles but many faucet makers have started offering thermostatic tub fillers that offer a great flow rate and better temperature control.
Freestanding tubs, especially old fashioned claw foot type, may have the faucet mounted directly on the tub although this is not common. As freestanding tubs have become more popular floor mount fillers have followed suit. These are mounted directly on the floor with the water supply coming up from below. We are seeing many new contemporary styles, both single and two handles. A word of caution though; many of these models do not have high flow rates so may not be suitable for some tubs.
There are some amazing tub fillers available today. Altmans has long had a reputation for making some of the most beautiful Waterfillers (as Altmans calls them) available today. Their crystal spout has a wide sheet of rippled glass over which the water flows. Their double cascade spout produces twin ribbons of water (we have a working model in our showroom). The Altmans Dolphin is a classic design; playful and beautiful.
Hansgrohe has a collection called “Massaud” (see above) which features a flat sheet flow spout design. Graff has produced an unique wall mount tub filler. “Luna” is a stunning piece with a tub spout that is like a piece of art, gently curving off the wall in a long graceful arc.
On the other hand, perhaps you prefer a really contemporary look and would like to eliminate a tub filler from view. If so then the Geberit “Cascade” may be the solution for you. This is essentially a tub spout that is incorporate into the tub drain leaving the deck spout free (be aware that in most area you will be required to install a vacuum breaker).
This is a tiny sample of what is available for tub fillers. The majority of manufacturers making quality faucets will make a deck tub filler to match their lavatory sets. In several of these photos you will see a Hand Shower included. This is a great accessory in a large tub; both for rinsing off and for cleaning the tub.
We display many of these fillers in our showroom and are happy to provide additional information.