Clawfoot Tub

Category: Bathroom

Our plans for the upstairs bathroom have always included a clawfoot tub. However, we've always been a bit hung up on the price. But now J has found a great price on a clawfoot tub at Midwest Chemicals, located in Lockport, Illinois. Tubs generally run from $1,500 on up (way up!), but Midwest Chemicals offers one of the only new clawfoot tubs we've seen under $1k. (Hopefully it doesn't have "Midwest Chemicals" tatooed on it in bold someplace...not the most attractive name.)

We intend to go see it in person some time soon, but the dimensions seem like what we're looking for.

Update: We just found another fun source for clawfoot tubs: . They offer quite a few different styles at a range of prices and free shipping, too.

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If you're inclined to take a road trip to Richmond, VA, for a tub you could get an older, reglazed 5' tub for under $1000 at Caravati's [ ].

Hi! What material is the clawfoot tub made of? We purchased an old clawfoot made out of iron that is in great shape for $500. But, we didn't realize how heavy it would be, at least 300lbs! By the time you fill it up with water and add a person, I'm not entirely sure the whole thing would come crashing through our second story bathroom and land in our kitchen below.

We are considering reinforcing the floor or purchasing a new clawfoot tub made out of acrylic. We haven't seen an acrylic tub in person yet, so I don't know how it actually looks (it looks nice online) but the tubs weigh considerably less.

Not that we are even ready to tackle the bathroom yet. Just dreaming...

Hi Heather!

It is cast-iron too. We already know that we need to reinforce the floor under the bathroom smart of you to think of that too! (We had to do the first floor as well!)

Both of our bathrooms have been "home" to heavy cast-iron tubs. The upstairs tub has been there since 1951. It is a monster. We will have to cut it apart to get it out of the house. It won't fit down the stairs. We're not sure how they got it in. The bath upstairs was created from a bedroom in 1951.

The joists under it have fared pretty well surprisingly! The second floor joists are only 6 inches high and are set on 16.5 inch centers...not great for a second floor anything except an attic. (It's better to have 8 or 10 inches.) Perhaps the span is what has saved it. The joists only span 6' 9" there. The tub is set perpendicular to the joists so the weight is distributed across 4 joists (the current tub doesn't have is even all along the bottom). Or maybe this old hardwood is just that tough.

Still, would not want to take my chances. They (doh!) cut through a joist to run the plumbing for the tub. Not a good move...weakens the joist tremendously.

If you have some idea of the size and span of your joists, you will want to ask the advice of a structural engineer or excellent builder. (We had a structural engineer out to this house during the inspection phase.) You might also ask for some advice from the folks at the Breaktime forum...they are terrific at laying out the options and next steps. Finally, if your city/town has a building code, it is a helpful thing to thumb through. The building codes are minimum standards for soft-wood residential construction, more is always better. Old house owners are generally lucky...we have some nice hard wood construction that can handle more than the minimum for soft woods.

Our 1907 home had a claw foot tub but it was removed 40 years ago. We now want to return it to the upstair bathroom but are unsure how it can be moved upstair. The small bathroom is almost remodeled and the tub is in our garage waiting to be taken upstairs..what would be the best way to do that ? Hard to come by 4 strong men !

Ah Corky! Isn't that always the way??? We are going to build a light wood "replica" (dimensions) of a tub to see if it even fits up the stairway first.

4 strong men are advisable. One slippery stair carpet and ropes around a pulley attached to a main beam of the house (preferably 12 in by 12 in of some old hardwood) could also work but that set up is mighty rare. The guys at Breaktime forum ( ) have seen and done it all. I bet you they could share some experiences doing what you have done :)

Thanks for the encouragement. I called in some favors owed and got four strong men to haul our tub upstairs a couple days ago. It wasn't easy but not as difficult as I feared !

I have two clawfoots from the 30s. Both are in working oredr and been used since installed 1930s. Problem: One is now leaking on the inside at the overflow. I have removed the overflow drain and the original drain plunger (brass plunger - flip and close. Problem also - in that there is a gasket on the inside of the tub and it seems to be affixed permentally! I also feel a rim ( might be leaking there) when I place my finger just inside the opening.
Every thing I have read - talks about the gasket on the back og the tub. Mine is a question of the gasket on the inside at the overflow.
Any ideas - advice - all welcome.

Julie--Yuck. Leaking water is never fun.

I've consulted the oracles (all the repair and old house books we have) and have come up empty handed. Here is what I would suggest.

1. If you have a digital camera handy, take a few pictures of your overflow front and back (and good for you for dismantling it and exploring! That's how you learn things.)

2. Hop on a few of these boards...Fine Homebuilding's Breaktime Forum, American Bungalow Magazine Forum (they will help anyone with an old house, and Old House Journal's 1900-1945 Message Board. Post the problem you found just like you posted it here.

3. See if anyone there has a tub like your's and has experienced the same problems. There is probably a simple fix that you nor I know about yet.

4. If all else fails, call Mac the Antique Plumber. I have never called them, but some others rave about their wares and know-how. They may have some advice.

If you figure it out, drop us a line! We can pass on that information to others who may need your help in the future!

Take good care.



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