Top 5 popular types of faucet finishes explained

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

Choosing between the different types of faucet finishes comes down to more than just your taste. If you’re completely new to interior design and endeavoring to complete your first bathroom or kitchen design, you’ve probably already noticed how confusing it can get. Decision after decision can make the process feel laborious and totally confusing.

One of the important decisions in the design process is choosing your faucet finishes. The following is an introduction to five popular types of faucet finishes that will help you decide which one suits your design. Once you have the chance to weigh the pros & cons of each finish, you’ll have an easier job picking one.

1. Chrome 

First up is a chrome faucet finish. Chrome is an attractive finish for several reasons. For starters, its shine is one of the primary reasons people are drawn to it. Next, chrome is one of the more affordable faucet finishes that does an excellent job of resisting corrosion. 

One of the drawbacks to chrome is that it does show water spots and fingerprints more easily than other finishes, such as number two on this list. However, chrome is rather easy to polish with just a cloth and mild detergent. 

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Lastly, chrome matches just about any other finish, which makes it a great choice for matching it to other finishes in your design. All in all, chrome is an easy choice, though, it may not line up with all of the modern-day interior design concepts. 

2. Brushed Nickel 

Brushed nickel is an extremely durable finish that exhibits spot resistance quite well. In fact, some major faucet manufacturers offer spot-resist brushed nickel finishes in a variety of faucet designs. Therefore, if you have hard water, a brushed nickel bathroom faucet found here is a good choice to avoid spotting. 

To get its unique appearance, a wire brush is used on the surface of the nickel before applying a protective layer of lacquer. Comparatively, brushed nickel does cost more than chrome and other finishes, yet it will last you longer. 

Finally, like chrome, brushed nickel matches easily to most other finishes in your bathroom or kitchen, making it a popular choice among homeowners. Plus, it’s more likely to suit modern-day design concepts while also managing to offer a collection of faucet types. 

For example, if you prefer to take the luxury faucet route, there are plenty of brushed nickel options in the touchless faucet category to choose from. 

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3. Oil Rubbed Bronze 

If you prefer a more rustic look, then an oil rubbed bronze finish will be more up your alley. Similar to chrome, it’s not quite as durable as brushed nickel, and it’s more prone to showing water spots. On the flip side, it’s not as shiny as chrome and will not show fingerprints as easily. 

When choosing oil rubbed bronze, there are various shades available. This is important to note when matching your faucet finishes to other finishes in your design. Unlike numbers one and two on this list, oil rubbed bronze is less likely to match other finishes, so be sure to take care when choosing it. As far as price, oil rubbed bronze faucet finishes will cost more, certainly more than most chrome faucets. 

Regarding care, oil rubbed bronze finishes do require special care. For example, you must always use a soft cloth when cleaning them to avoid damaging the finish. Additionally, there’s the need to use wax to diminish the appearance of any scratches. In addition to reducing the appearance of scratches, waxing oil rubbed bronze will also help to prevent hard water stains. 

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4. Stainless Steel 

One step up the ladder in quality compared to chrome is stainless steel. Like chrome, stainless steel has a shiny surface that resembles silver, yet it’s more durable than chrome, making it more costly. One advantage of stainless steel is that it’s scratch-resistant. Plus, it’s easy to make it shine with a quick wipe down. 

When matching stainless steel faucet finishes to others, it goes well with contemporary designs that feature wood or marble. Since wood and marble tend to cost more than other finishes, it makes sense to use stainless steel since it’s superior to chrome and not quite as reflective. 

On average, good stainless steel faucets have a lifespan of ten years or more when properly cared for. Also, because of their durability, they resist denting and corrosion better than inferior finishes. 

5. Polished Brass 

Landing at number five on this list is one of the more attractive faucet finishes that exude class. Polished brass is a polished copper alloy with a lacquer finish that prevents premature tarnishing. As for appearance, polished brass is somewhere between gold and slightly brown with different shades available. 

In addition to its excellent appearance, polished brass is also quite durable and suits most designs well. Particularly, if you’re going for a minimalist design with polished brass as the centerpiece. 

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Outside of those advantages, it’s important to note that polished brass will show spots more readily than both oil-rubbed bronze and brushed nickel finishes. Yet, there’s always the option to use the appropriate wax to help prevent hard water stains. Also, polished brass tends to cost more than other popular faucet finishes. 

Closing Words 

These are five of the most popular types of faucet finishes to explore for your kitchen or bathroom remodel. As you can see, each finish does come accompanied by its own unique pros & cons.

First, it’s important to narrow down which finishes will match the other finishes in your remodel. Or, it’s possible to first select your favorite faucet finish and construct the rest of your design around it. 

Lastly, always consider your water quality because of the likelihood of spotting due to hard water. If your water is already soft or treated by a water softener, then you should have no hard water stains to worry about. Because of this, there’s no need to consider spotting or scaling when selecting your favorite finish.

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