Nowadays, faucets come in varying designs, configurations, brands, price points, and finishes. The abundant array of options accommodates nearly any aesthetic preference, from modern, contemporary lines to traditional, classic looks. There are a few things to consider when it comes to choosing the best finish for your kitchen or bathroom faucet.
In homes with hard water, mineral deposits are the nemesis of the faucets throughout your home. Small deposits mar the beautiful lines of the faucet, ruining the overall look. So, is there a specific faucet finish that hides hard water spots? Well, that’s what we’re here to talk about, so stick around to learn more.
What Types Of Finishes Are There?
The finish on your kitchen or bathroom faucet is the perfect way to tie the area together or create a striking splash. The number of finish options you have hinges on the brand you choose. For example, Delta and Moen, two major brands in the faucet industry, offer an extensive range of faucet options.
While the list of finishes available is different for each brand, here are a few standard faucet finishes:
- Matte black
- Champagne bronze
- Stainless steel
- Oil-rubbed bronze
Many of the finish options are also available in several different types. For example, consider a nickel finish. Many times, there are also brushed, satin, or polished finishes. Polished finishes are generally rather shiny, while brushed or matte finishes offer a more muted finish.
Generally, polished finishes don’t do well at hiding water spots. Mineral deposits and water spots often stick out like a sore thumb. Matte finishes tend to hide flaws better, as they don’t have a high gloss surface.
What Is Hard Water?
You’ve probably heard of ‘soft water’ and ‘hard water,’ but what does it mean? Roughly 85 percent of American homes have hard water. This means the water contains high levels of calcium and magnesium. Higher levels of these minerals, along with others, make the water hard.
On the other hand, soft water usually has higher sodium (salt) concentrations. Some people have water softening systems in their homes to help combat hard water issues.
You won’t notice a difference in the clarity of the water – it will still usually be clear. However, key indicators of hard water include things like:
- Film on your hands after washing: You may notice a filmy feel on your hands after washing. This is due to a reaction between the soap and calcium to form soap scum. You’ll have to rinse your hands longer if you have hard water in your home.
- Mineral marks: Hard water can cause mineral stains on clothes. In addition, you may notice your clothes wearing out quicker due to the harshness of hard water.
- Mineral spots: You might notice small spots on glasses and silverware coming out of the dishwasher. These spots are typically deposits of calcium carbonate. The spots may appear on the faucet, especially near the base of the faucet and on the handle, or in other areas that regularly come into contact with water.
- Lower water pressure in your home: Hard water can cause mineral deposits in the pipes throughout your home. This essentially shrinks the diameter of the pipes, reducing water flow.
What Faucet Finish Is Best For Hard Water?
There are a few different faucet finishes that hide hard water effects quite nicely. Generally, polished or high shine finishes put hard water marks on clear display. So, muted finishes are usually your best bet if you have issues with hard water in your home.
Or, if you have hard water in your home but have your heart set on the beautiful, glossy polished finishes, consider enlisting the help of a water softener.
Silver Matte Faucets
Silver matte finishes tend to hide the appearance of water spots exceptionally well. ‘Matte’ finishes may be called brushed or satin, but they all feature similar, flat looks. Instead of the reflective, glossy surface of polished finishes, matte faucets have a more muted appearance.
This is great for hiding water spots and other issues associated with hard water. Limescale will still show, but these finishes tend to do better at hiding it. For example, let’s consider nickel.
Brushed nickel is a popular finish, named for the process to achieve the look. Manufacturers use a wire brush or similar tool to create abrasions on the nickel. The process strips its luster, leaving a textured look in its wake.
Due to the finishing process, brushed nickel faucets and fixtures may look completely different from one to the next. Brushed nickel consists of a plating over a different metal, generally zinc or brass. In some cases, abrasions might be deep enough to put the gold hues of the metal underneath on display.
On the other hand, consider satin nickel. The looks are similar to brushed nickel, but the process of achieving the look is entirely different. Instead of using a wire brush, manufacturers send the nickel through a process called electrolysis.
For the most part, satin nickel fixtures are less expensive than brushed nickel. Satin nickel is less shiny than other metal options but still offers vibrant, clean looks.
If you have a cool-toned theme in your bathroom, silver finishes complement these looks perfectly. With that said, silver finishes are incredibly versatile and coordinate with various decor schemes.
A few popular silver-finished faucets include:
- Moen 84144SRN Sarona Bathroom Sink Faucet
- Pfister LF-049-JDGS Jaida Waterfall Bathroom Faucet
- Moen Sleek 1.5GPM Single Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet with Reflex, Duralast Cartridge, and Power Clean in Spot-Resistant Stainless
- Kohler Crue 1.5GPM Single Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet in Vibrant Stainless
- SPOT RESISTANT: Spot Resist Nickel finish resists fingerprints and water spots for a cleaner looking...
- FLEXIBLE DESIGN: Includes optional 3-hole deck plate (escutcheon) for installation
- WATERSENSE CERTIFIED: Meets EPA WaterSense criteria to conserve water without sacrificing...
- ADA COMPLIANT: Complies with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications
Gold Matte Faucets
Gold faucet finishes offer a warm, inviting feel to the kitchen or bathroom. They complement warmer, colorful themes wonderfully, but can still coordinate with varying decor ideas. Gold is a great option, whether you want a striking statement piece or a faucet that blends in seamlessly with its surroundings.
Satin gold finishes, usually brass or bronze, work beautifully with hard water. They hide water buildup much better than polished gold. Bonus: they add a warm, colorful vibe to the space.
On the other hand, brushed brass or bronze is another excellent option for plenty of luster without going overboard.
A few solid gold faucets include;
- Pfister LG49-NC1 Contempra 1.2GPM Widespread Bathroom Faucet in Brushed Gold
- Kraus Arlo 1.2GPM Deck Mounted Bathroom Faucet with Pull-Up Drain in Brushed Gold
- Kohler Tone 1.5GPM Single-Hole Pull Down Kitchen Faucet in Vibrant Brushed Moderne Brass
- Moen Align Pull-Down Spray Kitchen Faucet in Brushed Gold
- Widespread bathroom faucet; mounted on sink deck or countertop; 3-hole installation with 8 inch to...
- Widespread bathroom sink faucet includes metal supply nuts, valve, and cartridge
- Ceramic disc valve technology for reliable performance of widespread bath sink faucet
- With a 1. 2 gpm flow rate, this widespread bath faucet is rated to meet or exceed CALGreen criteria,...
What Finishes Are Easiest To Clean?
If cleaning is a point of concern, you may want to consider matte finishes for the faucets in your home. Polished finishes are tougher to clean, as streaks are blatantly obvious and tricky to get rid of.
Matte finishes are an excellent option, as they’re easy to clean. They hide streaks and water spots well, which is excellent for homes with hard water. Or, if you have kids (they never just grab the handle to turn on the water, there are always little fingerprints all over the entire body and handles of the faucet), matte finishes are a solid choice.
Tip of the day: if you have issues with hard water (or little kid fingerprints), avoid choosing a matte black faucet. Even though the finish is matte, the white mineral deposits are like highlights on the dark surface.
Some brands offer spot-free technology to help ward off water spots, so that is something to consider as well.
Usually, cleaning hard water build-up is relatively straightforward. A concoction of water, vinegar, dish soap, and lemon juice should do the trick. Mix water and vinegar at a one-to-one ratio in a spray bottle, then add a drop of dish soap and a splash of lemon juice. The lemon juice helps offset the mineral.
Spray the solution on the faucet, then let it sit for about twenty minutes. Scrub the faucet with a non-abrasive rag or sponge. Wipe away the residue with a soft, clean cloth.
How To Avoid Hard Water Marks On Faucets
Generally, the best way to prevent hard water stains from marking your faucet is to clean the surface frequently. While it’s not the easiest thing, it eliminates the need to fight pesky stains later.
Dry the surface of the faucet immediately. When water remains on the surface, the evaporation process removes the water but leaves the minerals. Try to use a general bathroom cleaner at least once a week to avoid contending with stubborn stains.
Alternatively, consider installing a water softener. This helps fight mineral buildup in the water by using salt. If you use well water, a high-quality water softener will help ward away hard water issues.