Terrific Taps in Rented Flats
I talked about fans and cooker hoods last week, this week I’ll consider taps.
People pay stupid money for taps (several hundreds of pounds sometimes!) but you can get perfectly acceptable and stylish ones for a tiny fraction of this if you shop around. But be wary of anything non-branded that seems too cheap – you don’t want to be working on them every few months. Rough castings inside certain Chinese-made taps can chafe the washers and make them leak. Also beware of very tall mixer taps anchored solely on a stainless-steel sink. The long body acts as a lever, buckling the thin metal and making them unstable. Short stumpy mixers don’t look as flash but are less trouble in the long run.
I have fitted concealed taps (where the tap body is embedded in the wall and only the nozzles and handles protrude) for clients. They look great! But these are a bad choice for rental properties in my opinion, even at the high-end. If anything goes wrong with them, for instance needing a new washer, you may have to remove tiles and dig a hole in the wall to get them out!
In my own properties I always fit a thermostatic controller for the shower. Tenants love them because they’re much more sophisticated than a controller that you constantly have to fiddle with to get the temperature right. Also it saves them getting scalded or frozen if someone turns a tap on elsewhere in the flat, reducing the pressure. True they are potentially another thing to go wrong, but they are still much simpler and cheaper than an electric shower (which also contains a thermostat, and is a devilish combination of water, electricity, and moving parts).
And remember – always plumb the cold to the right and the hot to the left! This is because the cold is generally used more frequently and most folks are right-handed. If you see taps plumbed in the other way, you know for sure it’s DIY plumbing. In the summer I helped a friend connect a thermostatic shower to his girlfriend’s bath. When we turned the stop-tap back on, nothing came out of the shower, but water rushed out of the overflow from the loft at high pressure. After a frustrating half hour and a lot of chin-scratching, we realised the problem was the existing DIY plumbing. The hot and cold supplies were the wrong way round! There is a non-return valve on the hot inlet in the shower, so the mains cold water entered the (wrong) hot inlet, bypassed the spout altogether and backflowed out of the cold inlet and through the hot system, to overflow from the tank in the loft!
I don’t think I’ve said anything about flooring so far, so next week I’ll take a look at the different types of flooring available for kitchens, bathrooms, and elsewhere in rental flats.