Claw foot tub...best?

monica_thompsonMarch 23, 2006

I also posted this in the bathroom forum, but though ti might get more insight here....

In our budget (Ha! I wish we had a budget to work with...)bathroom remodel, I plan to have a seprate shower (tile, shared...see my other post) and a soaking tub. I have found a refurbished complete with hardware claw foot tub for $100 in a guy's garage. My husband is concerned that a claw foot will be-

1. Too heavy--both to get upstairs, and for the house to hold

2. too fiddly...they always seem to need some sort of modification to work right--but I plan to only use it for bathing

3. not what he was "thinking"

Okay, it's not exactly what I had in mind either at first....but, old iron tubs are the most comfortable and best for soaking...right? (remember our near $0 budget)

So...Have any of you removed a claw foot and replaced it with another soaking tub that you like better? I don't want any jets (too noisy to relax)

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lizql

You could have a "get the tub upstairs party" They only weigh about 475lbs. A block and tackle was used originaly to hoist one up before the second story walls were put up.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 7:27PM
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monica_thompson

Oh Nooooo! lol.....hope I can get it up there!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 8:41PM
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alisande

My contractor and one helper moved a clawfoot tub out of the bathroom and into another room so I could paint it. I have no idea how it got into the upstairs bathroom in the first place. :-)

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 8:55PM
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housekeeping

Was the interior enamel refurbished, or just the exterior? The reason I ask is the it is really hard to make long lasting repairs to enamel. Never mind the claims of the proprietary tub-fix companies. Of course enamel can be removed and then the tub refired, but this is very, very, expensive. If the tub looks all shiny and smooth inside, I'd be asking what was done to it, because whatever it was may not last too long or stand up to cleaning. Most tubs of that vintage have a distinctly non-glossy surface. For me, all I really expect is clean, unstained, rust-free and no chips.

If all you want is a decent soak, cast iron is really nice as it holds the heat nicely. Of course, for the best heat retention, you need to build an insulated box around it, but it sounds like you just want it for atmosphere and the odd soak, so I wouldn't worry about that.

The biggest problem (besides the aforementioned weight) with a claw footed, cast iron tub is if you want to use them as showers. Then you need one of those funny-looking contraptions with large hoops overhead to hang the curtain from. That may be what your DH is reacting to as we have all seen cartoons featuring them. For a soaking tub, you don't need that, but you probably will have exposed plumbing fixtures. Also you have to dust mop under them.....

FWIW, my DH thought I was nuts (and was resistant) when I found mine. He hates to soak, which is just as well, as my tub is quite short but very deep and suits me perfectly.

Check your structural loading, then get four to six really strong men to carry it. We moved ours to the house from the barn in a sling with the bucket loader on the front of our farm tractor.

Molly~

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 1:31AM
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bulldinkie

We have 1700 farmhouse so I wasnt sure what to do in bathroom.we put a nice tub,shower unit where closet was so when you look in bathroom you dont see the shower.We brought in clawfoot tub .It took 4 guys to get it upstairs.
This plumbing electric store we deal with for hubbys a builder,has used clawfoot tubs out back they removed from houses pretty reasonable.Even had a cute one it was only about 4'long.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 4:39AM
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kashka_kat

Usually, the legs come off and 3 or 4 people can get it up the stairs. 475 lbs? Don't know about that... Maybe that's with the water in it? I managed to drag and maneuver mine around my apartment by myself... so it couldnt have been all that heavy.

Claw tubs are desireable features in old houses--Ive seen them included in real estate listings as a desireable feature. I bought a new gooseneck faucet for mine (which makes washing hair very easy) and the plumber had no problem putting it all together. That you'll have both a shower AND a nice big old tub --youll really have the best of all possible worlds.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 5:18PM
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bulldinkie

Must not have been cast iron you would not be moving it around esprcially by yourself.are you sure its not the new vinyl ones?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 10:17PM
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vivian31

I dunno, hubby can manhandle ours around (not LIFT it, mind you), but he can definitely slide it around on a rug or something and it is certainly cast iron. Getting up and down stairs would be different, though.

It IS a great soaking tub, though. Ours is about 62" long, and up until about a year ago we had one of those wretched shower contraptions that doesn't work so well. Uh, lets just say that when we added the new bathroom, we put in a walk-in shower....LOL No more showers in the tub!!! Yay...

Yes, you can have them refired, but I don't know if you were just using it for the occasional soak if it would be worth sinking all that money into it. I suspect that one of the tub finishing companies would probably do a pretty good job for a lightly used tub. I don't really know for sure, but it is what I'm planning on doing with ours since it is BARELY used anymore.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2006 at 7:38AM
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monica_thompson

I got the tub! The inside had been re-enameled, but the outside needs painting (which I was going to do anyway) It is heavy, but my Dad and I were able to get it off of the trailer by ourselves, so it's parked in the garage so I can paint it and let it dry throughly outside of the cramped quarters of our renovation rooms. Now I just have to decide on the paint color......go safe with cream and whites? Bold with red or yellow? Soft green? too many choices.....

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 7:41PM
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Aesop

I painted my clawfoot tub a deep red - actually, I used the leftover paint from my dining room :-)! It actually looks pretty good - I got the idea from a tv show (the Painted House with Debbie Travis). The nice thing is - you can always paint over it if you'd like! Since this is outside the tub, and won't really get wet, you don't have to worry about it that much.

Aesop

    Bookmark   March 26, 2006 at 8:27PM
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mikend

We have a claw foot (missing a foot) sitting in the attic of our 1920s house. A previous owner had replaced it with a jacuzzi tub (in the finished part of our attic) which we havent used in the year that we have lived here. Maybe someday we'll switch back. It is not too big of a chore to replace a foot?

Our main bathroom has the original tub, also iron, but a built in tub.

- Mike

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 7:59AM
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monica_thompson

Mike- as long as the foot is on the back side, and not in a really visible area, I would just replace it with a block of wood (or even a brick) You might check online (ebay or whatever) and see if you can find a replacement, if you do one, you might want to do all 4 though, so you don't have any height issues.....

    Bookmark   March 27, 2006 at 2:55PM
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vjrnts

Our main bathroom has the original tub, also iron, but a built in tub.

Mike, you guys have the same tub that we do (well, almost, very similar) with the same peculiar "snouty" faucet. Since we live across the street from each other, I guess that's not a huge surprise, but I'd be interested to know who built our houses. I wonder if it was the same contractor.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 7:50PM
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michorion

We removed two modern showers and replaced them with clawfoots. One of them is 4' long and the other is 6' long. It took three of us to get the 6 footer upstairs one painful step at a time. I bought a shower faucet and ring for a curtain for the 4' tub. We then suffered wit this inferior product for three years until I made my own. The tubs themselves are not a practical as modern tub/showers but they fit the best in an old home. Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 9:36PM
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deniseandspike

We have a clawfoot tub in the only bathroom in the house. We use it as a shower and it works wonderfully. I love it because it's so light and bright in the shower--when I use a regular shower at someone elses house I feel like I'm in a dark cave. We used a furniture dolly to move ours out and paint--I was going to paint outside but we only have 32" wide exterior doors and we couldn't fit the tub through. It was very heavy.

Also, if you're missing a foot, it may not be easy to replace. The feet on mine are numbered and fit to the corresponding number on the bottom of the tub. I've heard that you would have to take the tub with you to a salvage place and fit the different feet onto the tub to find a match. There are also a wide variety of styles. It would probably be easier to just replace the tub with one that has all the feet.

I painted the outside of mine black and it gives it a classic look as well as hides any dust/dirt.

De

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 9:47AM
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first_timer

I love my clawfoot tub! We ripped out the existing standard white tub/shower enclosure and now use the clawfoot for both soaking and showering.
It's back slope is incredibly comfortable, the cast iron keeps the water warm, and the look just fits the house so well.

But the real bonus is the bathroom does not have any mildewy, soap-scummy tiles to rot the walls. We just used greenboard where the old ceramic wall tiles were.

Bathroom is MUCH easier to clean and smells way cleaner now!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 7:15PM
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mary_lu_gw

Yup, love my tub. Our bathroom is just like what you are considering doing. We have the tub and a built in shower stall. Wouldn't part with either one!
shower

tub Marylu
    Bookmark   April 7, 2006 at 10:19PM
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bungalowbees

We have our original claw foot tub (all 4 feet) and I do love it with one complaint: the overflow drain keeps me from the deep soak I'd prefer. I try to use those things that cover the holes but the faucet is too close to let me get a good seal.

One tip I have is to make sure you leave a realistic amount of room for cleaning all around the tub. The first time I cleaned around our tub I realized why homeowners were anxious to do away with a large romantic tub with exposed pipes! It can be quite annoying to try to clean between the tub and the wall.

Otherwise, I love having the original tub. And for a true old house feel, leave the color off the tub. Go wild with towels and bath furnishings instead. But by all means, take baths as often as life lets you!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 7:48PM
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gw:grande-design

I recently purchased an old claw foot tub for the oddly shaped master bath of my 20 year old house (looks older as it is farm house style and a bank foreclosure sale)! The interior of the tub is in pretty good shape but the exterior paint is peeling and there is some rust near the overflow. A tub refinisher quoted me $500 to sandblast and paint the exterior and I have to bring the tub to him. Can anyone recommend the best type of paint, method of sanding to get satisfactory and long lasting results? I only plan to use the tub for occasional soaks.

I have been looking for feet (it came with two) but did not realize how high the bidding could go on eBay for the exact/perfect feet and lost the auction...next time I'll know better!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 7:51PM
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michorion

i painted the outside of mine with a coat of primer and then a couple of coats of oiled based paint-seems to be holding up just fine- we use it everyday.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 8:08PM
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jaww77_yahoo_com

Has anyone replaced the faucets on their claw tub with modern ones?
We have tried, but the holes never match up.
The faucet on ours is so small it takes the tub forever to fill with water.
We would also like to attach a hand held shower that hooks to the faucet.
HELP????

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 8:56AM
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johnmari

Jodi, I'm assuming you probably have a tub where the drillings are through the tub wall rather than the rim? There are a lot of different handshower faucets (often called "telephone" faucets because the handshower resembles an old-fashioned telephone handset) that are adjustable to fit many different drillings. These are called "swivel arm connectors". For filling-up speed check the description for "____ gal/min @ ____ PSI" (for example, 8 gal/min. @ 60PSI" - that means that if you have a water pressure of 60PSI, the faucet will (should) fill the tub at the rate of 8 gallons a minute. Vintagetub.com has a nice selection of telephone faucets with swivel-arm connectors at reasonable prices and their customer service cannot be beat; for example, here is a nice one from Strom Plumbing, which is a well-regarded manufacturer. There are deck-mounted versions as well.

To comment on some of the older posts, just in case anyone goes looking for info...

This lovely little overflow cover gives you an extra inch or so of water depth. You have to caulk around the rim when installing it because it leaks if you don't. Obviously it works best if you use a twist-and-lift drain or (as we did) the truly idiotproof and easily repairable rubber stopper, it doesn't work with the type that has the lever on the overflow.

Regarding missing feet: Vintage Tub now makes replacement tub feet - ship them one of yours and they will cast a copy of it. deabath.com has a large stock of old feet and may be able to find a matching vintage foot; they also cast matching replacements and MAY be able to hook you up with a set of four matching feet if all your tub's feet have gone astray.

Cleaning around the tub: Plumber goofed the rough-ins (forgot to account for wallboard and wainscot!) and the tub ended up being about 2" from the wall on two sides. I used a Swiffer mop frame with a microfiber cleaning cloth to get underneath and around ours, because it would lie down completely flat. I had a long-handled scrubby thing that would also go completely flat and fit well into the tight space behind the tub. It really ended up being pretty simple.

Now, for hauling that durn tub... two guys, both skinny as rails, moved my iron 60" clawfoot tub up a flight of narrow stairs pretty easily using a wonderful gadget called a Shoulder Dolly. I first learned about these because all the appliance delivery people and many movers around here use them. It was cheap and one of the best investments we've made, I can't tell you how many times we've used it and lent it out to many other people.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:14AM
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Carol_from_ny

Clawfoot bathtubs come in different sizes, so measure the space AND tub carefully before you move it in.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 3:03PM
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calliope

I have one in my 1930s townhouse, the home my parents used to own. I can believe 400 pounds to a cast iron tub, and that's empty. The carpeting men took one look at it and said, OMG no......you don't want us to carpet in there do you?

The plumbing and faucets to this tub are tiny, so yes it does take forever to fill it. My father found modern plumbing to fit it. They also found a refinisher to come to the house to apply a modern epoxy based finish to the interior of the tub. There were so many of them in our old Historic town, it was a major business. My parents painted the outside of the tub themselves. I would never, ever, replace this tub to a modern one. I love it and it's a wonderful soaker tub, nice and deep and rounded just right for a lady's back to lean against. If I ever sell this house, I'd certainly want to move the tub to our country house, if I ever found a party willing to move it for us. And put it in place here.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 1:35PM
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newdawn1895

Johnmari that is a fabulous website for tubs and faucet's. I have never seen such great prices.

.....Jane

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 9:41PM
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jdmo

after moving my tub around to renovate the bathroom, one of the feet is now loose and will not stay attached! It slides into a beveled groove (are they all this way?) and has a bolt to secure it. If the bolt is tightened, the foot slips out of the groove. Any ideas how to fix this?

    Bookmark   November 16, 2008 at 10:22AM
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janron

I have to move my 60" claw footslipper tub to permit renovations. It sits against 2 walls so I can't get at it to lift it from both sides (i.e the shoulder dolly). I propose to use an hydraulic jack on castors with a plate between the tub and the lifting point- then roll it to the temporary position. Has anyone else tried lifting one this way - any suggestions?

    Bookmark   December 31, 2008 at 3:53PM
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