A Complete Guide to Standard Plumbing Fixtures

A Complete Guide to Standard Plumbing Fixtures

Everyone knows that plumbing is a critical component of any home. You might also be familiar with some of the standard plumbing fixtures in a home such as toilets, sinks, and bathtubs.

There are probably also a few things that you don’t know about plumbing, so with this in mind, here is a complete guide to standard plumbing fixtures. In this guide, you will learn about each type of fixture and the various models that it comes in.


A sink is an open container-like fixture used for washing your hands, dirty dishes, clothes, and other items. You can find them in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, and sometimes in the basement. The components that make up a sink include the basin, the faucet, and a drain.

The faucet provides water from either a municipal water line or a well, and the water heater allows the sink to pour out hot water. Bathroom sinks may have a soap dispenser, especially in public areas.

Different types of sinks are suited for various purposes. For instance, a self-rimming sink is made for kitchens so that the rims go right into the countertop. You can move your bowls and other cooking materials without bumping them on an uneven surface.

Bottom-mount sinks are attached to the counter from underneath, which means there must be an edge to the sink. A solid-surface sink comes from synthetic materials and goes directly into the counter like a self-rimming sink.

Butler sinks are rectangular sinks that integrate into a wooden surface or cabinet. They have a rounded rim and usually go in a bathroom since they are too small for washing dishes. Finally, standalone sinks are just as you would imagine: a complete sink that mounts onto a “leg” or other furniture.


Bathtubs are among the oldest types of plumbing fixtures, and archeologists have found bathtubs dating back to ancient times. A bathtub is simply a tub that fills up with water so a person can bathe.

Back in the day, baths were in the town square for the public to use at their leisure. The materials that most tubs come in nowadays are acrylic and fiberglass, but pricier models could be cast iron, steel, enamel, or waterproof stained wood. As showers have overtaken baths in popularity, most tubs come with shower attachments.

Many bathrooms forgo the tub altogether and only have a shower. A modern bathtub has an overflow that allows the tub to fill with water, a drain to empty it, and a faucet that pours water into the tub.

Western-style tubs are the most common type of bathtubs. With a long, thin frame attached to the wall, they are probably the first to come to mind when you picture a standard bathtub. As for Eastern-style bathtubs, they are a bit deeper so that someone can stand while they bathe in the tub.

Newer bathtubs are often whirlpool tubs, meaning they are spacious enough to fit two people, have jets that push water out for a soothing massage, and are attached to the wall—hot tubs on the higher end, which usually go outside. Hot tubs can fit many people and hold warm water at a consistent temperature, typically around 98 degrees Fahrenheit.


Toilets are a modern necessity that ensures we don’t mix our wastewater with our bathing or drinking water. Our ancestors used to do their business wherever they pleased, but this isn’t the most sanitary practice as you can imagine.

Modern-day toilets use a flushing system to re-locate wastewater into a local sewage system or a septic tank. Toilets have complex plumbing because they involve a bowl, a tank filled with water, and pipes for moving the water throughout the system.

Most homes have a flush toilet, which lets you sit down and flush away the waste. In order to reduce how much water gets used, modern toilets have greater water pressure for flushing.

An even more water-efficient plumbing fixture is the urinal, designed for men to urinate while standing. However, urinals are usually not installed in a residential space, so you would need to reach out to commercial plumbing services to have one installed in your office space or place of business.

Another more recent development in toilet technology is auto-flushing toilets that flush themselves. These are also helpful for businesses when customers forget to flush.


Showers didn’t become more popular than baths until the 20th century, but their design has remained consistent. The pieces that make up a shower include the nozzle, the drain, and sometimes a shower door.

Nozzles come in various shapes and sizes to modify the water pressure and texture. Most households have a showerhead, which lets you control the temperature and water pressure with a knob. A rain shower is a type of showerhead with larger nozzles to give the sensation of raindrops falling on your head.

Electric showers heat the water with electricity and can often be more water-efficient and cheaper to run than other shower types. Steam showers are a more costly type that blows steam all over the shower.

Areas with warmer weather might even have homes with outdoor showers, such as a beach shower. These showers are pretty simple, as they often have a nozzle and no door to let sand and water from the beach easily wash off before coming into the house.

Other Types of Plumbing Fixtures

Now you know some of the main types of plumbing fixtures, but there are a few other additions that we will cover. First is the bidet, a porcelain fixture that looks somewhat similar to a toilet that uses a water jet to wash away any waste after using the bathroom. These are also an add-on to an existing toilet via a specialty seat. 

You can also install drains for your floor and sink to prevent flooding. These come in different shapes and sizes, depending on the area you want to cover.

Heated floors have become a popular item in new homes, as they use radiant heating (pipes filled with hot water) to heat the floors and provide a toasty feeling during the colder months. This type of plumbing is often hidden from view, as the pipes are underneath the flooring.

Many different taps and faucets are available for sinks and bathtubs at various price points. Lastly, water spigots are often attached to a home’s exterior, and you usually attach a hose to it that you can use it for watering plants or washing your car.

Overall, plumbing fixtures provide both practical and aesthetic benefits to your home. After reading through a complete guide to standard plumbing fixtures, you should be familiar enough to find the right pieces to complete your dream home.

A Complete Guide to Standard Plumbing Fixtures