Flashback Friday : An Entire Blog Post about a Clawfoot Tub

I was sorting through pictures, and starting to plot my next posts, and when looking at what to do for Flashback Fridays, the Master Bath remodel at Jackson Street seemed like a great first choice. I realized that I had enough pictures to warrant an ENTIRE post about refinishing the clawfoot tub. WHAT?!?! It really was a fun project, so here goes!

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When we looked at the house : “Yay! There’s a Clawfoot! Boo! It looks like THAT!”

 Vintage bath fixtures are the second most exciting things to me when it comes to renovation (restoring chandeliers and light fixtures is #1!). When we bought Jackson Street, there was a clawfoot in the guest bathroom – we assume it was original to the house, or rather, original to when the house first got indoor plumbing. Did you know that in 1921, only 1% of homes in America had indoor plumbing? I read that online, and since everything on the internet is true, it seems legit. The first clawfoot tubs were manufactured by American Standard in 1883 : when this house was was eight years old.

This tub needed some love, but I was willing to give that. Plus, I really love taking bubble baths. Especially in a clawfoot. If you’ve never done that, find a way to. Deep, comfortable, and the cast iron keeps the water warm forever. It’s so relaxing. Because I wanted this tub for me, and because there was room in the GIGANTIC master bathroom, we opted to refinish it, and move it there as we completed the renovation of that space (we’ll cover that in the next few Flashback Fridays, if I have time to post).

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The inside wasn’t awful. but it wasn’t great. There were rust stains and scratches, which makes sense with its age – it’s super common. At our previous house, I refinished the inside of a tub myself, with a spray. It worked great, but it’s a better product if you have very minimal scratches. We decided to hire out to professionals, and had the whole thing re-glazed by a refinishing team. You can check out how the process works here.

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Shiny and “New!”

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Once the tub was re-glazed, Doug installed new fixtures. We went with gold, to match the chandeliers and lighting that were going in the bathroom. Our go-to place for reproduction fixtures is Vintage Tub and Bath – they have have a fantastic inventory, not just for bathrooms.

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CAREFULLY, as to not mess the new finish, we turned the tub upside down for painting. And by “we,” I mean people with muscles (this would not be me). It is QUITE a heavy beast. After flipping it, we took off the feet, and I set about to paint it. I chose a deep peacock turquoise. It looks a little more blue in the pictures, but there is a touch of green in it.

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This picture is pretty good product placement for Valspar paint. Hear that, Lowe’s?
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Clawfoot Tub 032Clawfoot Tub 035 Lace Curtains, plumbing parts, and a This Old House magazine on the floor. Yup. Projects.


I hate when I am at salvage yards and tubs are only painted on one side. People didn’t move them because they are so heavy. I get that. I TOTALLY get that. But I couldn’t deal with that. It felt lazy. So I painted it all.

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You know who else knows how heavy clawfoot tubs are? Walter does. This is why you reinforce the floors when you put one in. DON’T FORGET TO DO THAT.

I took the feet to refinish, and used some pizza boxes to help contain the stripper. My $.02 : I stripped the paint off using Soy Gel, which I love because it’s not toxic, and I can use it inside without fumes setting off migraines. It’s gooey and messy and WORKS. Give it all the time in the world – let the time work in your advantage! 

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When the paint gets crackly, it’s about time to take it off. If it doesn’t look like this (or crazier) leave it on longer. If you are leaving it on for a long time, or are outside, cover it in plastic to keep it wet longer.

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When I got off most of the paint, using the stripper, time, and a wire brush, I gold-leafed the feet. I love metallic finishes on feet. If I had decided on silver fixtures, I would have taken them to an auto place, and had them chromed. That’s an AWESOME way to refinish feet.

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Once we got the tub in place (again, with the help of muscle-y boys who weren’t me), it looked AMAZING. And worked amazing. And I miss it with all of my heart, especially since the tubs here at Martin Place leave much to be desired. I can’t wait to put in an Amy-fied bathroom here. We actually bought a clawfoot tub off Craigslist for somewhere in this house. So, I get to do this process again. Right now, the tub is in the front parlor. Because that’s completely logical.

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Happy, happy girl.

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Look forward to the rest of the Master Bath remodel from Jackson Street the next time I do a Flashback Friday!

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    1. I love clawfoots so much, too! I can’t wait to see yours! Sadly, out current house doesn’t have any after the previous remodels in the 80s, but I have two tubs in storage waiting to go, and we should have three clawfoots total in the house when it is done. I’m so excited I can’t stand it. But for now, I can live vicariously through you!

  1. Amy, it’s beautiful ! My son had the genius idea to get a pedestal tub when I sent him out on the mission to find one when he built a bathroom on my second floor. Easier to clean around rather than under ! ! That’s the only room I had little part in. I’ve done every floor , ceiling and wall through out. Question please ; on the beginning picture your before tub had a polished brass water overflow installed. Btw , I love Vintage Tub. . . BUT does that come with the “Clawfoot Tub filler with shower head attachment”? Any ad listing I perused never lists that important part. Or is it a part of the brass water supply lines ? Am I looking something here? I thank my son at least once a week for shopping,lifting and installation of mine. As you, I insist on bubbles too!

    1. Hi, Carole! Pedestals are BEAUTIFUL! As for the overflow, that should come with the drain assembly. I’ve bought one by itself (because either the drain was intact, or everything needed to be new), but I bet Vintage Tub could help! But if you buy a new drain assembly, it should come with. 🙂

  2. Thank you for info. Also black accents on gold clawfoot is never too much ! It’s truly Victorian.

  3. I love the pictures and the information! but definitely black accents on gold clawfoot is never too much!!! Not only does it look incredible, but also gives it a fresh and new look!

  4. The first thing I noticed was the tiny faucet on the tub in the first photo. It must have taken forever for the tub to fill with water! Your choice of the classic British Telephone faucet is an awesome one since 10 gallons of water per minute flows from that one. Your finished tub is beautiful!

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