Reading time: 7 minutes

As an Architect or Contractor, you may assume that fitting wall mounted panel taps is the conventional way of installation. However, although it is a common and popular method, there is an alternative option to fixing a panel mounted tap with a model that is disrupting the market. May we introduce the pioneering wall plate mounted tap system – The Strataplate.

This revolutionary model creates a staggering ripple effect benefitting design, installation, maintenance, and cost. Clients are wowed by the innovation yet not many people are aware of how advanced this model is.

It is important to understand what differentiates one model from the other including the benefits and disadvantages. As Dolphin provides both in our product range, we will take you through the difference between fitting a panel mounted tap and fitting a wall plate (the Strataplate).

Dolphin DS111 Panel Mounted Tap Pack Contents

Fitting a panel mounted tap

A Thru Panel is generally the go-to option because it is cost-effective and known as the standard wall mounting tap system. It is designed to be mounted through an IPS panel which enables access to the tap’s working parts situated behind the wall.

In a traditional washroom layout where the finish is tiled or has a splashback installed, a common challenge is accessing the back of the wall to reach the working parts of the taps.

There are two options to solve this problem namely:

  1. Install an IPS access panel
  2. Make provision for a larger cavity in the wall behind the taps

IPS Access Panel

It is important to provide permanent access to the working parts such as the tap mounting tail/nut for future servicing and repair. This may potentially affect the washbasin exterior due to making provision for the access panel.

Wear and tear

The access panel is generally hidden quite well on tiles or a splashback but every so often there will be telltale signs of wear and tear because of ongoing maintenance. Other means of mounting an access panel may include a screw hole, keyhole, or something else that enables its removal. However, due to these minor imperfections, these options are not ideal if you want to achieve a flawless finish.

Another risk is certain wall finishes such as glass or tiles, can be severely damaged when fitting the taps. Drilling holes or tightening the tap may cause the wall finish to crack and this would be expensive to replace.

Preserving space

Each tap does not require its own access panel. Installing one panel between each tap accommodates a two-in-one access point. Installation behind the mirror is another alternative to preserve space but the vanity must be wide enough for the facilities personnel to reach the working parts.

Panel Mounted Tap Minimum Dimensions

Minimum dimensions

Although a panel mounted tap is fixed to the tile or splashback, there are minimum dimensions to be considered for the depth of the water supply pipe between the inside of the wall and the bend. This unfortunately increases the space you have in the wall cavity.

Should the wall cavity be too narrow, you run the risk of having to kink the copper pipe which cuts the water flow rate right down and causes a weak point in the pipe. To avoid this, a minimum of 105mm from the wall to the bend is recommended.

Dolphin Alavo and Corian Vanity Trough

Cavity wall

A cavity wall is a type of wall that has a hollow center. Often washrooms are back-to-back, for example, male and female washrooms. The cavity wall would be constructed with a wide enough access area between the two washrooms enabling maintenance personnel to walk down the middle. Sufficient space within the wall cavity would need to be constructed to enable easy and safe access, which means increasing the room layout.

A design may incorporate a single splashback slab, for example, a Corian vanity trough, which is a continuous run of quality material. A designer would not favour altering or adapting the splashback to accommodate access panels, and for good reason, it may taint the vanity exterior. The advantage of constructing a washroom with a wall cavity is to avoid tampering with the slab and is far more convenient to gain access to the working parts behind the taps.

The Strataplate, Fitting a Wall Plate for mounted taps

Fitting a Wall Plate for mounted taps – The Strataplate

Dolphin has released the Strataplate which is a simple and ingenious Wall Plate system that enables easy access to the working parts behind a tap after installation. It reduces the risk of damaging fixtures, altering the vanity exterior, or changing the washroom design. It is a revolutionary model constructed to eliminate taking off any tiling or splash-back when the parts require maintenance.

Wall plate vs panel mounted tap, Dolphin Strataplate

Why was the Strataplate invented?

The challenge was identified when wall finishes were left tarnished or broken due to installation or continuous dissembling of the access panels. Often, wall finishes had to be replaced which came at great expense and added delays to project deadlines.

The Strataplate was developed not only to prevent such challenges, but it impacts washroom design on a much greater scale than you would imagine.

How is the Strataplate more efficient?

With this wall plate model, access to the working parts is all through the body of the tap. In other words, to access the working parts such as the water feed or power supply for sensor taps, you merely need to remove the body of the tap. The main objective was to achieve easy installation, access, and convenience for maintenance

Dolphin DS112 pack contents illustration

Model design

The Strataplate contains three important elements:

  1. Wall plate
  2. Conduit adaptor
  3. Flexible conduit

1. Wall plate

A hole is drilled into the wall where the tap is to be installed. The hole in the wall matches the size of the hole in the wall plate. The wall plate is then securely mounted onto the wall with 4 screws. The tiles or splashback are now fixed over the hidden wall plate.

Dolphin Strataplate, offset adaptor

2. Conduit adaptor

The adaptor is fixed behind the wall and is attached to the wall plate. It has been designed with a deep curve that enables the conduit to bend closer to the wall. At the opposite end, it holds a cylinder tube in place which protrudes out into the wall finish. It must be noted that there is an additional adaptor to reduce wall thickness.

Flexible conduit drawing

3. Flexible conduit

The conduit has a minimum space requirement from the back of the wall plate to the far side of the conduit, and because of its flexibility, it prevents kinking. It holds the water supply pipe and the power supply.

*An offset adaptor is available to achieve 61mm wall cavity. Contact us for further information.

Dolphin Strataplate water and power supply pipes installation

Once the Strataplate system has been installed, the water and power supply pipes are threaded through the conduit, cylinder, and tap body. The tap body is then slotted over the cylinder with a rosette and simply held in place by a grub screw. These components hold the tap firmly in place and minimises the risk of becoming loose. To access the working parts, the grub screw, tap body, and rosette need to be removed, and the supply pipes pulled out for servicing. This is a much more accessible and convenient method that does not risk damaging the exterior finish.

How does it impact your washroom design?

Not only does the Strataplate provide convenient access to the working parts, but it also plays an even bigger role as the wall cavity is reduced due to the Conduit adaptor. Whether it be a traditional washroom or a superloo, the depth in which the supply pipes need to turn is significantly less compared to the copper pipe in a panel mounted tap.

During building work, the tap body does not need to be fixed in the plumbing phase unlike installing a panel mounted tap which means measures would need to be taken to protect it. Accidents happen and taps have been damaged in the past as construction continues around them. With the Strataplate system, the first phase of fixing the wall plate can take place, and just before the project is completed, the taps can be fitted last which means keeping the beautiful finishes intact and out of harm’s way for the entire duration.

What is the cost?

Although the initial cost is slightly higher compared to installing a panel mounted tap, the system will ultimately save money during the maintenance periods. Labour costs can soar if you are being charged by the hour and having fixtures such as access panels combined with navigating around delicate wall finishes, may result in lengthier service times. Therefore, installing a system that is easily accessible makes for a quicker service turnaround time saving you money and easing the job for the Contractor.

Premium space

Designers are always on the lookout for concepts that will not only save time and money but also save space. The inner workings behind washroom design are just as important as the finishes because the solution may very well be behind the walls.

Introducing the Strataplate