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clawfoot tub

Imagine a clawfoot tub. What do you see? The first thing that pops to mind is probably an old rustic farmhouse, or a bathroom that has seen far better days. These majestic tubs fell out of favor for a while, but they are back with a retro vengeance – and they are surprisingly suitable for not only that old farmhouse, but that sleek and modern city high-rise.

The clawfoot tub most people picture is the classic, simple white tub. Often made of cast iron and heavier than you can imagine, these tubs are incredibly old-school. More modern clawfoot tubs are a little lighter (though not by much!) and feature vibrant, unusual colors that add a dash of modern to the traditional lines.

There are also options for the shape of your tub. Some are more rounded while others are oval, without much of a lip. Others have a high back that allows for relaxation in the water. Still others have high sides on either end (especially those built for two!) and space for the faucet in the center. Some tubs have the faucet built in, while others are designed to have the plumbing and faucet hover alongside the tub.

Clawfoot tubs: how do you include one in your space?

No matter how well they fit in with any decor, clawfoot tubs — especially very heavy vintage ones — come with some practical considerations that might not make them suitable for every space. Whether you are sitting the tub on hardwood floors in an old Victorian or putting it on the marble of that just-constructed loft apartment, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

1. It’s heavy. Clawfoot tubs can be much heavier than your average bathtub. They can also be much more unwieldy, as they have an unusual shape and certainly cannot be broken down into parts, like a bath/shower surround unit might be. You’re going to need a bi truck to move it. Even if you have it delivered, you’re going to needs serious muscle to get it into the house.

2. Did we mention it’s heavy? Something this heavy means it needs very sturdy support. Putting it on the ground floor is a good idea, but even then, you might need to shore up the floor before placement, especially in an older home. Before you move a tub like this into upper floors, make certain that the floors can handle the weight.

3.Will it fit? This is a very big problem for homeowners who want to fit a nice clawfoot tub into their older homes. Often, these tubs were put into the home and then the walls were built around it. It might be impossible to get the tub through a standard, modern doorway. This could mean getting creative, such as taking it through a window or through the wall.

4. Can it handle the heat? A clawfoot tub is often much deeper than a regular tub. If your hot water heater has trouble filling up your old tub, odds are you will need to upgrade the heater in order to make the clawfoot tub as comfortable and enjoyable as you dreamed it would be.

5. Does it need tender loving care? If you choose a vintage beauty, she might need a makeover. This is especially true if you choose a cast iron tub that has seen better days. If your tub needs refinishing, consult with a professional contractor on what needs to be done and whether you can do it on your own. Either way, refinishing is best done before you move the tub in, so as to avoid a serious mess in your living space.

Whether you have a modern abode or a historic home, clawfoot tubs are a gorgeous addition to your home. Once you have it inside and seated on a sturdy base, the charm will be worth all the trouble.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.