Chrome or brushed nickel, finger prints, and water spots?

flicka001December 21, 2011


I'm about to undertake a bathroom remodel and have been looking at faucets. One of the things that I hate about my current faucet (20 years old and was cheap to begin with) is that it doesn't seem to look clean for long. Waterspots and fingerprints seem to always be present. We have hard water.

I was thinking of using brushed nickel, but notice that it tends to be more expensive. If I go with brushed nickel, does the other hardware (e.g. towel bars) need to match. Alternatively, does the better quality chrome hold up better? Are there any other options I should consider.

Thanks so much!

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We went with brushed nickel for the same reason and it's so worth the expense. The finish is great when it comes to hard water (ours is well water, super hard). We also mixed finishes in our master bath because I didn't want to absorb the additional costs for the shower and preferred the way the chrome looked. I think its totally fine to mix finishes, my preference though is to keep in the same color family. Brasses/yellows with other brasses/yellows, silvers w/other silvers.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 10:25AM
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Thanks lukkiirish ... I was hoping to hear that others had mixed finishes.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:37PM
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No problem, it will be just fine! Lots of people do it!

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 4:59PM
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I hate the brushed nickel as I can't seem to get it pretty without a lot of work. The chrome is so much easier to keep clean and shiny. I learned a hard lesson not going with the chrome. One I shall regret till it's time to replace those faucets in about 10 or so years.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2011 at 8:14PM
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We have shiny Chrome finished fixtures, pretty high end (Grohe and Hansgrohe) -- and they show the spots as easily. Not immediately, but in couple of days it begins to show. So the issue is with the finish and not as much with water. BTW our water is not hard water.

IMO mixing finishes is a very personal decision. As it is, if your bathroom is fairly large with shower being behind a solid wall (not glass), it will not matter so much but in a small space where you enter and take in the whole space in one glance, it may be easier to notice. Even then, those who love it will love it and those who don't, won't.

I've had no personal experience with brushed nickel but I use brushed stainless cookware and definitely it's low maintenance compared to the mirror finish :-) so I think same applies to the bathroom fixtures as well.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2011 at 4:11PM
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"I hate the brushed nickel as I can't seem to get it pretty without a lot of work"

You obviously don't "get" the finish. It's pretty on it's own and needs no work.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2011 at 11:18AM
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I know I'm dredging up a 10+ month old thread, but I found it while looking into the issue (with which I am currently wrestling) of spots on my brushed nickel faucet.

Are there dramatic differences across so-called "brushed nickel," finishes, or what? I think that I DO "get" brushed nickel, and yet, like the poster above, I can't get it to look decent without a lot of work. Even then, after drying the faucet the second any water gets on it, it looks pretty bad.

My house was a spec house which originally had all cheapy cheapy builder-grade finishes - all faucets were those chrome faucets with fat "crystal"-look handles. I don't know why it's taken so long to replace all of these faucets, as new ones really don't cost very much, but we delayed. A year or so ago we did replace one in a bathroom with oil-rubbed bronze, and it looks great, but the whole look of the bathroom is a little too "rich" to me now, and I wanted to go with something cleaner and lighter in the other bathroom. We want to sell the house soon, so we went with one of the lower-end brushed nickel faucets - I actually love the very clean, basic shape of it, and we figured a new owner might just want to rip out the whole vanity anyway, so why spend much?

It looked great out of the box. I love the low-luster and somewhat warmer look, compared to chrome. But, it is absolutely covered in spots now, and has been since right after we installed it. It just looks unclean... poorly maintained. We do have naturally hard water (a well) but we have a water softener so the water coming out of the faucet and into contact with it shouldn't be hard.

Now I am looking at high-arc faucets for the kitchen, and am thinking of going with chrome because of this problem.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 10:58PM
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I did brushed nickel in the powder room. Love it. it gets lots of use and doesn;t show a spot.

Polished nickel in 2 baths - one's done and one's in progress. This done one gets all the traffic b/c we are under reno. Very hard to keep looking nice.

Polished chrome in the last bath. LOVE IT.. very clean looking. Teen bath so not high high use (yet). easy to clean though.

Depends on your style.

I prefer matching finishes within a bathroom - the entry door excepted (can match the house, or the bath or a little of both).

    Bookmark   November 2, 2012 at 12:46AM
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