Plumbing

The kitchen is the heart of the home while the bath plays a vital supporting role. Outfitting each requires sinks, faucets, and casegoods. Kitchens also require appliances like ovens, cooktops, dishwashers, refrigerators, and range hoods; while bathrooms need the extra infrastructure of bathtubs, showers, and toilets. Commercial venues have specialized needs like toilet partition systems and urinals.

The wall or panel infrastructure surrounding showers or baths. Bathing enclosure systems include bathtubs, doors, panels, pans, and other surfaces, engineered to keep water within the space. Frameless systems offer a seamless look. Most shower/bath doors and panels are made of glass, but solid surfaces or half walls are an option too. Pans are typically made of acrylic, fiberglass, and composite. Tile is also a popular option for the interior surfaces of a bath enclosure.

Bathroom cabinetry, vanities, and console tables range from solid, storage-driven solutions to delicate, lightweight forms. From traditional to classic modern and utilitarian, bathroom furniture spans all styles. Consider space, storage, and style.

Watch water disappear from sight with a variety of drain plates and drain assemblies. For sinks, choices include pop-up drains (for basins with overflow) and simple grid styles (for basins without). Shower drains have become increasingly stylish and functional, with easy-clean options in square, circular, or linear styles, as well as materials to match the shower pan like Teak, ceramic tile, and stone.

Simply said, a faucet is where the water comes from. Styles run the gamut and conform to use for bathtubs, showers, basins, bidets, kitchens, and utility rooms. The aesthetic ranges from stylized angular faucets with an ultra-modern look to traditional designs with long, arcing necks and embellished handles. Popular features include touch-free activation, waterfall delivery, and flow control or other water-saving functions.

Used in commercial venues, flushometers enable efficient, high-pressure flushing for tankless toilets. They include the handle as well as a mechanism (often concealed behind a wall) housing low and high-pressure chambers with a piston or diaphragm between the two. The flushing action equalizes the pressure and allows incoming flow from the water supply. Flushometers are used on urinals and toilets. Options include push button, touch-free sensor flushing, and eco-friendly modelsusing a turbine powered by water flow.

Garbage disposers work by directing food waste to a rapidly spinning plate that propelsit against the wall of a grinding chamber, breaking it up into tiny bits that get washed away. While the basic design hasn’t changed in some time, advancements include higher torque for superior grinding, sound insulation, and drain boost technology to help remove jams.

A broad category encompassing the many ways we bring water in, consume it or use it for heating, cooking, and cleaning, and then dispose of it in the form of waste water. Subcategories include water heaters (traditional models as well as “instant” heaters that don’t require tanks), water filtration systems, heat exchangers that transfer energy from wastewater to freshwater, and eco-friendly use strategies like graywater systems and rainwater catchment and storage.

Shower Systems are all-encompassing water delivery strategies for a spa-like experience in an enclosed shower space. They include a mix of several components including the showerhead, hand-held sprayer, body sprays, wall brackets, valves, and trim. They may also offer luxury features like programmable lighting and incorporated sound systems. Available finishes include chrome, steel, onyx, nickel, copper, and brushed brass.

Any of variously sized receptacles for washing. Strictly speaking, a “basin” refers to a vessel for washing hands or face and a “sink” implies kitchen use principally for washing dishes and food preparation. However, the terms have become synonymous. Typically square or rectangular in shape, kitchen sinks are most often larger to support filling and washing of deep pots and pans. Bathroom sinks offer a greater variety of profiles and may be installed above or beneath the countertop.

Fundamental for establishing a sense of privacy and safety in public restrooms. Styles include simple wall-mounted panels for urinals, ceiling-hung booth styles, and fully-enclosed closet styles for luxury environments. The material should reflect the demands of the venue. Good choices for high-use environments (schools, stadiums, and parks) include metal and high-density polyethylene. Luxurious louver-style enclosures made of wood are an attractive option for upscale hospitality venues.

Options abound for both toilets and bidets. Available shapes include elongated, compact elongated, and round; different heights from standard (low) to ADA compliant to relaxed (chair height) are offered; and tankless, water-saving toilets are common in commercial venues. Upscale features include tornado flushing systems, integrated personal cleaning wands, ion-barrier surface treatment for bacterial control, and heated seats. Most toilets are made of porcelain but different materials are available. Both toilets and bidets may be specified in nearly any color.

We can thank Marcel Duchamp for bringing the urinal to the forefront. Despite its seemingly standard shape and form, it's been slimmed down and redesigned in recent years -- leading to new options for new (and old) spaces.

A quick look reveals the many accessories in any bathroom: towel rings, towel bars, and grab bars; soap dispensers, TP dispensers, and towel dispensers; shelves, hand dryers, and miscellaneous hooks. Common materials for public venues include stainless steel and high-density plastic, while residential bathrooms may contain a mix of wood, tile, brass, bronze, and polished nickel.

An important tool in reducing plastic waste, water bottle fillers deliver chilled, filtered water. They may be integrated within a refrigerator or water fountain or they may be independent units that are freestanding or wall-mounted. While they’re most common in workspaces, some municipalities now offer free outdoor public water bottle filling stations. Many units feature hands-free operation, anti-microbial protection, splash-free delivery, and advanced drainage systems to mitigate standing water.