Pros and Cons of black tapware fixtures
October 25, 2018 5:13 PM   Subscribe

Just how much more maintenance is expected for black tapware fixtures? How long does the color last before fading, assuming the color is electroplated?

Hubby and I are doing home renovation at the moment and both of us love the contrasting look that black fixtures have and how sophisticated and modern these fixtures are compared to chrome.

But after doing some research, it seems like matte black fixtures are very high maintenance and we're concerned that
1. we have hard water, we do have whole house water filter, but still need rinse aid for dishwasher, otherwise, we end up with white water stains on dishes. I'm not sure if we can keep up with wiping the faucets clean after every use as suggested by some online articles.
2. matte black fixtures may fade sooner compared to other finishes. Given that these fixtures cost more than other colors, having to replace them after 3-5 years doesn't seem like it makes sense.

Have you/anyone you know used matte black fixtures in any projects? What's the experience been like in terms of durability and maintenance? My other thought is to use Rose Gold/Brass colored fixtures to give a more sophisticated look without the potential maintenance issues, if anyone has experience with this color, please let me know. Thanks!
posted by wcmf to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
There’s a reason why chrome has been the only real contender for functional utility, for over 100 years.

Seek aesthetics over function if you wish, but imo you should be honest about that, because black matte electroplating is absolutely going to mar sooner and provide less benefit for wear, cleaning and durability, as well as cost more.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

I would like to add that I understand that matte black fixtures will fade sooner than chrome, but none of the online resources that I found have more details on how soon the fading will happen. Is it 1 year, 3 years, 5 years? There's a big difference between lasting 1 year vs. 8 years. Have a better understanding of the timeline will help us in deciding whether the trade off is worthwhile.
posted by wcmf at 5:36 PM on October 25, 2018

Some higher end brands have matte black finishes that are warranted for life. California Faucets PVD carbon is one I saw. See:
posted by splicer at 6:06 PM on October 25, 2018

Cannot speak to the fixtures specifically, but my parents replaced the counter in my childhood bathroom with black granite that gets heinous water spots if it isn’t wiped after every use, and I HATE IT WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS. And I only have to use it a few times a year.

So unless you’re, like, superheroes, I doubt you will be able to stay on top of wiping your fixtures after every use.
posted by telepanda at 7:51 PM on October 25, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's not only you who'll have to be forever vigilant about wiping - it's also anyone else who ever turns on your taps. As someone else who has hard water, I wouldn't.
posted by rd45 at 12:05 AM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

I have a black matte kitchen faucet, and honestly I love it because it shows far less smudges than any kitchen faucet I've had. I don't have particularly hard water, so can't speak to that unfortunately. I do feel like fixtures show less hard water stains than the actual sink bowl.

It's a medium level faucet, American made brass. (Kholer) I heard bad things about oil rubbed bronze, so went with a true matte black.
posted by larthegreat at 4:59 AM on October 26, 2018

You can get a whole house water softener if you want to have these fixtures and avoid the white stains.

If you want a sophisticated look you might want to avoid hard water stains, whether that's by having different fixtures or getting a water softener.

I guess the idea is if you wipe the entire fixture after every use you won't get stains. Will that get to be annoying? How much time will you spend wiping the fixtures? Might not be too bad if it's only for a tub or something not used often. Try doing the wiping routine on your current fixtures for a week and see how you feel about it.
posted by yohko at 3:45 PM on October 27, 2018

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