You don’t need to be an expert in plumbing to know that bath taps come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. But do you know which is best for your bathroom? Having taps on the side of the bath is popular in Japan and is now slowly making its way over to Western countries.
If you want the convenience of having your hot and cold water on the side, that’s fine but there are disadvantages too – mainly that it can be challenging for elderly people who have mobility problems or limited reach.
Continue reading and we will outline everything you need to know about installing taps on the side of your bath.
Why do we put Taps on the Side of the Bath?
There are a few reasons why some people add taps to the side of their bath. The first and most obvious is aesthetics. If you have a nice modern-looking tub, a nice set of taps in the middle can really set the bathroom apart and give it that wow factor especially if they are freestanding.
The other common reason is accessibility. Bathrooms are traditionally one of the smallest rooms in the house and many people do not have much room for an additional shower or storage space for toiletries.
This means that either end or both ends are often obstructed by a cabinet, shower screen or even by the toilet which isn’t great for smaller people or people that have mobility problems.
The final reason can often be linked to accessibility and by that, I mean having the taps located at either end may make it awkward for someone that has mobility problems.
If for example, a wheelchair user has to access their bath, they will need to be able to reach the taps without any additional difficulty and in most cases, reaching across the width of a bath is easier than trying to get to either end.
Note: Having the taps on the side of the bath takes care of all these issues whilst looking great too.
Are Taps on the Side of a Bath Easy to Install?
This really is a loaded question. Generally, yes, taps on the side of a bath are easy to install, although any taps regardless of where they are located can cause problems, especially for someone that is untrained.
If you are replacing an old bath, some alterations to the plumbing will be needed especially if the taps were originally located at one end. This can sometimes be a little tricky due to accessing the pipework in the small space on the other side of the tub, but a skilled plumber should be able to do this for you.
If the house is brand new or you are renovating your bathroom, it is a good idea to speak with your plumber and have the pipes put in the right place, to begin with – this will make it much easier for you later on.
Pros of Having Taps on the Side of Your Bath
They Look Good
Everybody wants their home to look nice and I’m not going to lie, taps on the side of a bath often look great when installed in a nicely done bathroom.
They Are Convenient
As we mentioned above, side-mounted taps can be a real godsend for those with mobility problems or a small, cluttered bathroom.
Having the taps mounted centrally means that they are easily accessed and can be reached by most people without having to stretch and strain too much.
Cons of Having Taps on the Side of Your Bath
Wrong Type of Tub
One of the first issues that I have seen many people face is that they buy their tub first and then decide afterwards that they want side-fitting taps.
In some cases, the shape of the tub will determine whether this is possible or not. Some tubs are not designed for taps on the sides although they could be wall-mounted, again, this poses its own set of issues but that’s a different story.
Access to Plumbing
One of the main cons of having the taps on the side of a bath is having the required access to the plumbing particularly if the taps are wall side.
A plumber may well fit the taps (with a little difficulty) but what they may not do is make sure the fittings can be accessed if they need to be removed at some point. If a plumber has difficulty installing new fittings… imagine how difficult they can be to remove after a few years of crud build-up.
One complaint from people over the years is that although they love the way their taps look, they get fed up with knocking themselves.
Being located in the centre of the bath and not by your feet does leave you open to knocking into them from time to time.
I also once saw that someone had side-mounted taps on the side opposite the wall, so they had to climb past them every time they got in and out – I do not recommend this.
Best Way to Install Taps on the Side of a Bath
If you are thinking of side mounting your taps, the best way to fit them is with a quick-release bath fixing kit (amazon link – opens in a new tab).
Fitting your taps out with a quick-release bath fixing kit will save you time and hassle when it comes to maintenance allowing the taps to be removed quickly and efficiently without the need to remove the bath panel.
This really is a great solution, and they are suitable for deck-mounted bath shower mixers, tub fillers, and single taps.
I am a huge fan of side-mounted taps. They are convenient for those with mobility issues, and they look great too. It is important to think about what type of tub you are installing and if having taps on the side is an option.
We recommend using a quick-release kit to make the plumbing a lot easier to install and they can be maintained without having to remove the whole bath panel.
All in all, side mount bath taps are a good idea but make sure that there’s plenty of room, so no one gets hurt!
Plumbing Wizard Tips
“Ensure that your bathtub is able to take side-mounted taps!”
“A quick-release bath fixing kit is definitely a worthwhile investment!”
“Plumb the taps with flexible piping, this means that if anything changes in the future, the plumbing will be easy to move!”
“If you must have the taps on the opposite side to the wall, have them located nearer to one end so that you have enough space to get in and out!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should bath taps be placed?
It is most common to see taps attached to the bathtub, but they can also now be seen wall or floor-mounted although in some cases the type of bathtub you have will dictate where the taps must go. Remember, it is important that taps are placed within arm’s reach of everyone that needs to use them.
What is a bath tap?
Generally, a bath tap is a device used to regulate the flow of water into a container, such as an actual bathtub or sink.
A bath tap will start emitting water when you turn on its cold or hot side. It can be turned off by rotating the knob again.
What are bath filler taps?
A filler tap is the same thing as a mixer tap. These types of taps allow for both hot and cold water to flow from the same spout, therefore, giving you more granular control of the temperature.
I’m Lee the Plumbing Wizard. I’ve been a plumber for over 40 years and have seen it all. People used to call me a magician because I could fix things so easily – hence the name Plumbing Wizard.
I’m always happy to help out a fellow tradesman or woman, so if you need any advice or just someone to talk plumbing with, don’t hesitate to get in touch!