Fittings (faucets and valves) are used more often
than any other part of the plumbing system. They get plenty of use but
are built to take it, under normal conditions.
The best modern fittings are all chrome plated brass
and will last a lifetime under everyday use. They clean easily with soap
and warm water.
Caution: The metal chromium is easily dissolved in
hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid. Muriatic acid has for years been
considered a good tile cleaner, but only where there are nickel plated
plumbing fittings. Where chrome plating is present, clean bathroom tile
with warm oxalic acid never with muriatic or sulfuric acids. Even covering
the chromium surfaces with cloths will not prevent the acid fumes from
inflicting permanent damage.
Gaining in popularity are polished brass fittings
and trim. These will hold up well, as long as certain precautions are
observed. NEVER use any abrasive cleaner on polished brass. This can scratch
the protective coating on the brass finish resulting in a deterioration
or pitting of the brass plating. Also avoid use of solvent based cleaners
because they can be deleterious to the polished brass finish.
New technologies have brought about the development
of improved finishes that can withstand more wear, but check the manufacturer's
warranty regarding it to determine whether or not you have the "new and
improved" lifetime warranty finish.