5 Points to Ponder When Choosing a Clawfoot Tub

Shannon Lee

Choosing the perfect clawfoot tub for your bathroom is not just a matter of what looks good. Paying attention to what your old home can handle, both in terms of weight and plumbing, is a must. Before you choose the clawfoot bathtub of your dreams, consider these points.

  1. Support. Make no mistake--clawfoot tubs are often as heavy as they look. Old homes might not have the framing required to hold up a magnificent clawfoot tub, so the first order of business is to make certain the support is there. A good professional contractor can look at the structure of your home and tell you what needs to be done.
  2. Hot Water. Clawfoot tubs usually require more water than a standard bathtub, but is your hot water heater up to the challenge? If you intend to make good use of your tub for regular soaks, you might want to consider upgrading to a larger or separate water heater.
  3. Plumbing. Plumbing in an old home poses two challenges for a clawfoot tub installation. One, the pipes might be ancient, and starting any sort of overhaul of the system might require a complete replacement of the old plumbing. Secondly, freestanding clawfoot tubs require a different kind of hardware than more common bathtubs, and that can add to the cost of your project.
  4. Hardware. Speaking of hardware, choosing the proper look and fit for an antique clawfoot tub can be difficult. Modern reproductions can make this decision much easier, but you might lose the charm of the tiny blemishes, dents, and patina that are the hallmark of antique fixtures. You might also consider modern reproductions if the antique fixtures won't be a good fit with your current plumbing.
  5. Character. Your old home has a rich character, and your clawfoot tub should fit right in. Cast iron clawfoot tubs are popular for both their charm and longevity. They are very resistant to scratching, and their exceptional durability means that you can often find antique cast iron tubs in excellent condition.

Clawfoot Tubs: The Antique Choice

A clawfoot bathtub can be the perfect centerpiece to the bathroom of your older home. Opt for a reproduction or go the old-school route by scouring antique stores, flea markets, and classified ads to find the clawfoot tub you've been dreaming of. Antique dealers and estate auctions are also good resources.

By staying true to the character and period of the home, your clawfoot tub can not only provide a good soak, but an authentic feel as well.

About the Author

Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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