There are three main types of bathtub faucets, and they work much the same as sink faucets in terms of the system of washers, handles, screws, and valves. Most of them now have modern cartridge flow designs that allow both hot and cold water to come from the same tap. They are known as ceiling mounted tub faucets, deck mounted tub faucets, and floor mounted tub faucets. There is a wide variety of creative styles of each of these available. Take this into consideration along with faucet functionality.
Ceiling Mounted Tub Faucets
If you have a shower-enclosed bathtub, this is the most common choice of faucet, and it is recommended for full shower enclosures. A popular design includes a waterfall shower head, and even more than one of these can be added to the shower stall if it is large enough. A ceiling mounted tub faucet is installed above the tub and can be designed to coordinate with the rest of the bathroom in terms of both color and style.
If you have a large tub to fill, make sure your choice of ceiling mounted tub faucet can be connected to water lines that are 3/4 inch in diameter, rather than the standard 1/2 inch diameter water supply lines that are run to sinks and other fixtures. The results will be shorter fill times and a smaller amount of hot water used to reach the needed temperature; an additional benefit of this is often less depletion of the hot water heater.
Deck Mounted Faucets
These types of bathtub faucets are also known as vintage tub faucets; they are found in classic claw foot tubs and have changed little over the years in terms of basic function. For those so inclined, they can be ordered in authentic antique designs if this is the bathroom style you are creating. Deck mounted faucets become part of the tub itself. They are available with either separate spouts for hot and cold water or with both coming from a single spout, which is the more common faucet design today. The same need for 3/4 inch water supply lines applies to this type of faucet, especially for tubs that hold close to sixty gallons of water.
Floor Mounted Faucets
This type of faucet is designed to be matched with a free-standing bathtub where it is difficult and non-cost-effective to install other models or to install it on the deck of the tub itself. Floor mounted bathtub faucets can easily be added to standard tubs, whirlpools, and Jacuzzis. The newer models easily allow for a detachable shower head to be an added feature as well.
When selecting any of these three main types of bathtub faucets, it is important to consider the material as well. Brass-plated and chrome-plated tub faucets are somewhat notorious for wear and corrosion in a relatively short time after installation; they have been found to need replacement every handful of years. Look for your tub faucet in solid brass if at all possible; a well-crafted one can last for decades and is well worth the higher price.