Clawfoot tubs have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity lately. More and more people are choosing to install clawfoot tubs in their homes, and for good reason! Clawfoot tubs are beautiful, timeless pieces that can add a touch of luxury to any bathroom. However, before making your purchase, there are a few things you should be aware of. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know before you buy a Clawfoot Tub!
Clawfoot tubs first became popular in 18th-century Holland and then quickly spread to the rest of Europe and the United States. I jokingly hope that clawfoot tubs will help bring about world peace by immersing one bather at a time in a state of luxurious relaxation.
But in all seriousness, buying a clawfoot tub is a big purchase, and unless you know the details about what to look out for, your fantasy could quickly become a nightmare. You don’t want to get your new tub home only to find out it’s too heavy for your floor or too wide to fit through your door.
What is a Clawfoot Tub Made Of?
Clawfoot tubs are usually constructed from porcelain-enameled cast iron or acrylic, with the former being more prevalent. An old-fashioned clawfoot tub is generally made of porcelain-enameled cast iron, where the coating of powdered glass is applied to the interior surface of the bathtub.
Related: Reviews Of the Best Acrylic Bathtubs
Cast Iron v. Acrylic Clawfoot Tub: Pros and Cons
Acrylic bathtubs– can warm up quicker but water also loses heat faster.
Cast Iron bathtubs– are slower to warm but retain heat longer.
Acrylic bathtubs – an empty acrylic clawfoot tub weighs about 120 lbs.
Cast Iron bathtubs– an empty acrylic cast iron clawfoot weighs 200-400lbs.
Acrylic clawfoot bathtubs usually cost$700 to $2,000.
Cast Iron bathtubs newly- constructed will cost $1000-$4000. Vintage cast iron will start around $500.
Acrylic scratches easily but is simple to repair.
Cast Iron rarely chips or scratches, but is difficult to repair.
The key benefits of cast iron are how well it retains heat and how tough it is to chip. The main disadvantages are the sheer weight of this material and the expense. Meanwhile, people usually adore acrylic clawfeet for their much lighter weight in addition to being cheaper. Although, acrylic is less dependable, loses heat speedily, and is more prone to scratching.
Other Clawfoot Tub Materials
The two most common materials used for clawfoot tubs are porcelain-enameled cast iron and acrylic. However, you can also find them made out of copper or stone resin–if you’re willing to spend more money. A hand-hammered copper clawfoot is not only a work of art but also naturally resistant to bacteria. And the best part is that you often get to choose the exact hue of the finish! Not to mention, copper does a great job of retaining heat and resisting mildew.
You can find a stone-resin clawfoot for a price. Stone resin is man created from stone material and it has these attributes: recyclable retains heat well, and provides you with a modern twist on the classic clawfoot look. Like cast iron too, stone resin is generally quite heavy.
How Much Does a Clawfoot Tub Cost?
If you purchase a clawfoot tub that is used, even if it’s only $500, you may spend more money, in the long run, to install it and fix any issues than if you had bought a new one from the store. When comparing prices of different bathtubs, take into consideration not only the price of the tub but also all extra costs including shipping or delivery, as well as installation fees.
The average prices for a vintage clawfoot tub are $500 to $1,500; however, the price range depends on aspects such as condition and necessary repairs. New acrylic clawfoot tubs start at around $700 to $2,000 while new cast iron clawfoot tubs can cost you up to $4,000. Other factors that affect pricing include style (with the double-slippered variety being rare), length and depth of the tub itself, and material fulfilling other functionalities like drainage pipes or faucets.
Setting aside $1,100 should cover the cost of installing a cast iron tub and $500 ought to be sufficient for an acrylic clawfoot. However, if you do require extra floor support, plan on spending $100-$300 per joist.
Is it better to buy a brand-new clawfoot or an antique one?
While they may look similar, there are a few key differences between antique and modern clawfoot tubs.
The majority of vintage clawfoot is made from porcelain-enameled cast iron, but you can also find some that are crafted from acrylic or fiberglass. On the other hand, all new clawfoot bathtubs are now being made out of these substances.
In conclusion, If you’re looking for a super sturdy tub that ages well, go vintage. If you want the look of a vintage tub without having to lug 400 pounds or spend as much money, buy an acrylic one instead.
The Best Leading Manufacturers for New Clawfoot Tubs
- A&E Bath and Shower
- Pelham & White
- Randolph Morris
- Restoria Bathtub
- Strom Plumbing
- The Tub Connection
Where Can I Find a Vintage Clawfoot Tub?
To find a vintage clawfoot bathtub, visit an architectural salvage store. Many of these stores exist throughout America and they sell recovered pieces from old homes, kind of like Hollywood props department.
You can also find vintage clawfoot tubs on websites like these:
How Much Does a Clawfoot Tub Weigh?
When you’re eyeing a cast iron, stone resin, or copper bathtub, weigh the tub while it’s in use to see if your floor can support its weight. If not, you’ll need to install extra supports before bringing the tub inside. (And since an empty tub is much lighter, you’ll only need one person to carry it up the stairs!)
Knowing the weight of a clawfoot tub when full will help you determine how much your floor needs to support. To calculate this, you’ll need to solve the following equation:
The total weight on the floor is equal to the weight of an empty tub plus the weight of a full tub (gallons multiplied by 8.34) plus the weight of your heaviest bather.
How much does an empty clawfoot tub weigh?
Of course, the material that your clawfoot tub is constructed from will vastly impact the weight. And a tub made from cast iron will far outweigh a clawfoot made of acrylic.
An empty cast-iron clawfoot tub typically weighs 200-400 pounds, while an empty acrylic clawfoot tub only weighs around 120 pounds.
How Many Gallons Does a Clawfoot Tub Hold?
A typical clawfoot that’s 60 inches long can contain 44 gallons of water, while a longer and wider Clawfoot could hold as much as 90 gallons.
How Much Does a Full Clawfoot Tub Weigh?
The weight of your bathtub when it’s empty will depend on the material and size. To calculate the full weight, including water and bathers, first, weigh your tub when it’s dry. Then, fill it with water and multiply that number by 8.34 (since one gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds). Finally, add in the weight of whoever will be using the tub–even if they aren’t wet!
If I want to buy a 60-gallon vintage clawfoot that will be used by my family, the heaviest person in my family is 220 pounds.
Here is the data I gathered for my bathtub:
- Weight of empty tub = 350 lbs
- Gallons in filled tub = 60 lbs
- Heaviest bather = 220 lbs
- 350 + (60 x 8.34) + 220 = 1,070 pounds
When talking to my contractor, I plan on saying: “I want a vintage clawfoot. The flooring on the second level will need to support 1,070 pounds with this type of tub. Can you come over and check if we need additional floor supports?”
What Are the Dimensions of a Clawfoot Tub?
The average vintage clawfoot tub is 60 inches long, 20-30 inches wide, and 20-30 inches tall with the feet attached. However, these dimensions vary greatly depending on the size of the tub. Smaller ones come in at 53x20x12 inches while larger models are 72x38x20 inches. The most common widths are still between 20-30 inches. Soaking depth also ranges from 12 to 15+ inches deep. It’s important to note that one end of a slippered tub will always be taller than the other due to its raised design.
So What Size Clawfoot Tub Should I Buy?
Don’t just buy any old clawfoot tub–think about the size too.
How will you transport the clawfoot tub into the bathroom?
Make sure you take accurate measurements of doorways and hallways to ensure your new purchase will fit comfortably. It’s better to have too much space than not enough, as the last thing you want is to have to return your tub or knock down a wall.
Where will you place the clawfoot inside the bathroom?
Remember that a clawfoot tub is not attached to anything. You might want to be able to place it anywhere in the room, or you may prefer that it sit next to a wall. Either way, you’ll have more space and won’t feel cramped if the toilet or any cabinets are not too close by.
Not only should you take the tub’s size into account, but also think about how much space you need around it to move comfortably. If you have children who will be using the tub, factor in the size of a step stool they may need.
It’s also important to think about where in your bathroom would be most convenient for cleaning purposes. A clawfoot that’s against the wall makes spills more difficult to clean up and can create mildew problems over time.
What kind of tub filler will you use?
There are two types of tub fillers- freestanding and mounted. The former is usually placed in the middle of the tub, while the latter is either flush with or hangs off the wall. Keep this in mind when you’re deciding which one to get for your bathroom.
How will you store bath products?
Consider where you’ll store shampoo, soap, and other bath products. The clawfoot tub doesn’t have a shelf, so perhaps you would like one nearby.
Perhaps you want a bathtub caddy that spans the width of the tub, so you can have convenient storage.
This all affects the size of the tub you should buy and where you’ll want to place it in your bathroom.
How many different styles of Clawfoot bathtubs are there?
Now that you’ve decided whether to go with vintage or new, cast iron or acrylic, let’s consider the three main styles of clawfoot tubs.
Single Slippered Clawfoot
This bathtub has a raised end, providing a comfortable backrest. The drain and faucet are located at the foot of the tub.
Double Slippered Clawfoot
The bathtub is designed in a way that two people can bathe at the same time, with raised ends and the drain and faucet sit centrally.
The classic style is even around the top and rolled over at the material, just like a made bed. The tub is round at one end but squared off at the other endpoint. You can find either the drain or faucet located on one side of this tub.
This tub is like the rolltop, but the drain is in the center and both ends are rounded.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Buying a Clawfoot Tub?
Clawfoot tubs aren’t commonly chosen for everyone because they present some difficulties. The added height and depth make it more difficult to bathe small children in, as well adding a shower line may not contain water from sloshing over the edge of the tub. A shower curtain will be made of material instead of glass doors, making it easier for water to splash out. If you choose to place your tub against a wall, good luck cleaning that part – it’ll be nearly impossible since the weight makes it immovable.
If you’re still considering a clawfoot tub after taking all of these negatives into account, then I have great news for you: You are destined to be the proud owner of a clawfoot! I’m confident that one day soon, your bathtub fantasies will appear before your eyes like steam rising off the surface of a gorgeous soaking tub. Your vision will finally become reality.