There are four main finishes for taps and showers.
Chrome - the hardest wearing finish, usually lasts over 20 years.
Antique Gold - used more on traditional style suites, is generally a soft finish which will last approximately 3 years with day to day use but in a rarely used second bathroom could last as long as 10 years.
Nickel (either brushed or polished) - is the softest finish and would normally be for decorative house bathrooms that are rarely used.
Powder coated - not as common in taps but still used on showers - is where the product is coated with a layer of coloured plastic.
There are many types of tap configuration for baths, basins and bidets.
Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages.
This next section outlines the different types of tap arrangements that are generally available.
There are several types of tap arrangement you can put on a bath. They are as follows: A pair of taps, A deck mounted bath filler, a pillar mounted bath filler, a three hole bath filler. a deck mounted bath shower mixer, a pillar mounted bath shower mixer, a four hole bath shower mixer, a five hole bath shower mixer, a wall mounted filler and an overflow filler.
Pair of bath taps
The most common form of taps for baths, one tap for hot water and one for cold. The cold tap is usually on the right and the hot on the left.
Deck mounted and pillar mounted Bath Filler.
This type of tap has the hot and cold taps combined onto one mixer block. The deck mounted type is normally contemporary in style whereas the pillar mounted type (this is where the mixer is held above the bath rim on two pillars) is normally traditional in style. The advantage of a mixer over a pair of taps is the ability to mix the water to the desired temperature whilst the bath is filling.
Three hole bath filler
This is where the spout is separate to the bath tap valves. In this case you have a hot and cold valve and the spout is mounted either in the centre between the two valves or mounted in the corner.
Bath shower mixers
This is the same as the bath fillers but has a shower hose and handset attached. These types of tap are not designed to be used as showers for standing under and washing your whole body. The reason for this is that there is the real risk that if another person in the house switches on a tap, or a washing machine kicks in, then the temperature on the shower will change radically. These types of showers are designed for washing hair or rinsing the bath.
Four and five hole bath shower mixers
These are the same as the three hole mixers but the four hole mixers have a handset that sits on the bath with the hose under the bath rim. The shower is switched on by means of a divertor button mounted on the bath spout. The five hole mixer works in the same way but has a separate divertor mounted on the bath, not the bath spout.
Wall mounted filler
More popular on the continent, this is where the mixer is mounted on the wall above the bath and not on the bath rim
Overflow bath filler
This is similar to the three hole bath filler but wheres the three hole has a spout, the overflow filler has the hot and cold valves on the rim of the bath and the filler is the overflow fitting which also doubles up as the pop up waste.
As with baths there are several types of tap arrangement that can be fitted to a basin. These are: A pair of taps, a mono-bloc mixer and a three tap hole mixer.
A pair of taps
This is where you have a separate hot and cold tap on the basin with the cold tap usually on the right and the hot on the left. This is the most common configuration for taps on a basin. This type of basin normally has a plug and chain waste.
Basin mono-bloc mixer
This is where the hot and cold taps are mounted on a single tap bloc in the centre of the basin. This type of tap normally has a pop up waste supplied as part of the tap.
Three tap hole mixer
As with the bath arrangement you have a spout in the middle and a separate hot and cold valve on either side. This type of arrangement has a pop up waste. On a three tap hole basin you can also fit a pair of basin taps and in the central hole fit a chain stay basin waste - this is where the plug chain is attached to a disc which fits over the middle hole.