claw foot tub in great shape except drain

mike72903May 5, 2013

I was fortunate to be given a claw foot tub that is in mostly excellent condition. Only problem is rust around the drain. I know I could have the tub refinished but would prefer to keep the original porcelain as it is in great condition except at the drain. Is there a product available that could be used to just cover up the drain hole beyond where the trim ring extends or another product made for this purpose? Is it possible to just refinish the drain area without doing the whole tub?

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Sophie Wheeler

There is no one that does re-porcelainizing in the United States anymore. Too many environmental regulations interfered. The only thing that's left is epoxy painting it, and that's a huge hit or miss (mostly miss) on durability.

When cast iron starts to rust, you really can't stop it. It usually goes too deep if the piece is old.

You could DIY some of the "rust converter" types of chemical/paint on the rusty area and have a metal fabricator custom make larger custom drain escutcheon to hide the black that would result from that. You might get 10 years from that before the rust would creep through. Or you might get 5. It depends on how deep the rust goes into the iron. We got 9 years from it when we treated the rusty metal flashing on our brick wainscoting. But now we're faced with replacing it, which we should have done from the beginning.

If you use it with the understanding that it may not last and that you will need to replace the tub at some point, then you won't be disappointed when you DO have to replace the tub. On the other hand, if you are having to pay to have plumbing done, and the tub "fixed" you'd be much better off to just buy a brand new tub from the beginning as you won't have to pay to replace it in a few years.

It's all about how handy you are, and what your expectations will be for use.

You can always turn it into a cool water feature on your patio with a water lily and some fish. Rust won't bother the fish.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 11:30AM
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Thanks for the info. I knew a complete refinish would not be porcelain. Your idea of a custom fitting is good. I was hoping to find something along that line that was already fabricated. From plumbing supply or even an unrelated area that I could adapt.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:07PM
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