Clawfeet Bath Tubs

Clawfeet Bath Tub Styles and Installation Tips

By Mark J. Donovan

If you’re planning a vintage bathroom design then you must include a clawfoot bathtub. Claw feet bath tubs have been around since the Victorian period that lasted for nearly 80 years starting in the mid 1830s. The clawfoot bath tub was originally constructed out of cast iron and encased in a white porcelain coating. Clawfeet bath tubs are still built today in this same manner, however, there are also newer materials being used for enabling lower cost and lighter weight options.

Clawfeet Bath Tub Styles

Clawfeet bath tubs come in two basic styles, American and European. From these two basic styles there are derivative styles that include Pedestal, Classic, Double Ended and Slipper.

Between the two basic styles, the main difference is that the European style Clawfeet bath tub lacks drilled holes for faucet spout and handles. There are drain and overflow holes, however. Consequently the European clawfoot bath tub usually sits deeper than the American style.

Clawfeet bathtubs are still manufactured using cast iron and porcelain, however, acrylic Clawfeet bath tubs are also available today. Acrylic clawfeet bath tubs offer the advantages of costing less and being lighter in weight. For example, an acrylic clawfoot tub weights approximately half as much as the same size cast iron clawfoot tub. As a result they are easier to install, particularly in a retrofit bathroom remodeling application.

Another advantage of acrylic clawfeet tubs is that they adjust to the ambient air temperature much more quickly than a cast iron clawfoot tub. Thus they typically feel warmer to the touch than a cast iron one. Acrylic clawfeet tubs are also easier to clean than cast iron clawfoot tubs.

Still, if you’re looking for that truly vintage bathroom design, the traditional porcelain coated cast iron clawfoot bath tub is the way to go. The high gloss finish and the old world charm attributes associated with a cast iron claw foot tub are effectively impossible to match with an acrylic clawfeet tub.

Installing a Clawfeet Tub

Installing a clawfeet tub is not for the DIY homeowner. I highly recommend hiring a professional plumber who has experience installing clawfeet tubs. You can, however, design your bathroom to have sufficient space for the clawfeet tub, select the type of clawfeet bathtub you want to install, and even select the plumbing fixtures. But leave the actual installation to the pros. When selecting the plumbing fixtures, keep in mind that telephone hand shower faucets are very attractive and commonly used with clawfeet tubs.

If you also want to include a shower for your clawfeet tub you can also have installed a shower ring that hangs from the ceiling above. Additional plumbing will be required to include a shower head over the tub.

Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet

For help on your bathroom remodeling project, see my Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Bathroom Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective bathroom remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive bathroom remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

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