Clawfoot Bathtub Buy Guide

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Clawfoot Bathtub Buyers Guide - Essential Advice to Ensure You Get The Right Tub For Your Needs

Looking to buy a clawfoot bathtub? It's a splendid choice and what's more, once you have one of these classic tubs installed it is certain to become a striking centerpiece in your bathroom that will dramatically transform it into one that exudes character and style, as well as one that you'll want to spend quality time in to bathe yourself. Furthermore, a clawfoot tub will be something that you can admire and enjoy for many years to come and, let's not forget, you'll always have something to talk about with admiring members of the family and friends, of which there will be many!

Before you take the plunge and dive headfirst into buying your bathtub, take some time to follow our advice to learn about the different types available and how to determine which will be better for you.

clawfoot bathtubs icn  Styles of Claw Foot Tubs - Are You In For a Soaking?

  • Classic - The original & basic Clawfoot Tub with one flat end and one rounded end. Faucets are typically attached at the flat end of the tubs rim.
  • Double Ended - Rounded at both ends. Faucets are most often affixed midway along the rim of one of the long sides of the tub, or the bathtub will be positioned in such a way that wall mounted faucets are located at the midway point.
  • Slipper - Raised at one end. The raised end provides back and head support for the bather. As the name suggests, the shape is somewhat akin to that of a slipper.
  • Double Slipper - Raised and rounded at each end. 
  • Pedestal / Skirted - Pedestal tubs sit on a skirt that surrounds the entire base of the bath. They don't have clawfeet and therefore cannot technically be called clawfoot bathtubs, however they are mentioned here because pedestal bathtub styles are similar to the clawfoot variety. 

  Popular Clawfoot Bathtub Brands

These are a few of the companies that are making more than a splash in the world of bath tubs with their high quality tubs and accessories. 

  • Elizabethan Classics
  • Sunrise Specialty
  • Herbeau Creations
  • American Bath Factory
  • Kohler
  • Vintage Tub & Bath
  • Porcher

  Cast Iron or Acrylic Clawfoot Bathtubs, The Choice is Yours
  • Cast Iron Bathtubs - The original Victorian antique clawfoot tubs were made from cast iron and coated with porcelain. Cast iron is still much in demand to this day and buyers will find a huge range available to them. A couple of disadvantages are that cast-iron is cold to the touch and extremely heavy. 
  • Acrylic Bath Tubs - Acrylic bathtubs are gaining popularity and are therefore just as likely to be an option worth considering by buyers. They have the benefit of being lighter than their cast iron equivalents, plus they will never crack or rust and they have a warmer feel to them. Technological advances have also led to the introduction of new resins used to manufacture acrylic tubs that do not stain easily, are hardwearing and easy to clean.
  • Fiberglass Bathtubs - Fiberglass tubs are also available but are mostly not of the same standard as acrylic or cast iron types and therefore may not appeal to buyers in the same way as the aforementioned types.

  Prices - What Will You Get For Your Money?

Tub prices start at around the $1000 but can go up to $6000 or more. Broadly speaking, the widest range of options exists between $1200 - $1800 and you will truly be spoilt for choice if your budget is within these amounts. 

  European or American Style Tubs? 

Typically, European style tubs are supplied without faucet drillings as the average requirement may be for a non bath mounted fitting or an exposed freestanding water supply linkage that's attached and plumbed through the floor. However, European tubs do come supplied with the drain and overflow holes already drilled.

American style bathtubs will mostly be supplied with faucet drillings, as such the faucets can be fitted to the tub itself with direct linkages to the water supply lines and drainage pipes. 

Note: The mere fact that a tub is sold in the USA would not be enough to classify it as an American style tub. If your requirement is for a tub that already has the holes drilled for faucets, you will want to carefully read the vendors description of your favored bathtub to determine whether or not this is indeed the case.

  Tub Sizes - You're In Deep Water!

Clawfoot tubs come in a wide range of sizes. Classic style tubs are available in lengths as short as 4 feet, which makes them ideal for installation where space is tight. Generally, tub sizes increase in steps of 6 inches. Common sizes are 48", 54", 60", 66" & 72", you can however find some manufacturers that offer their tubs in additional sizes. It has to be said that a slipper or double slipper tub in one of the larger sizes is truly a sight to be seen and will exude an elegance unmatched by any other bathtub and can really "set the scene" in a bathroom.

Water depth is something else to give thought to. It varies from tub to tub but will typically range from 13 to 16 inches. 

Do remember that the longest, deepest and widest tubs will require more water to fill them completely, sometimes as much as 80 gallons, and this will therefore be an important consideration where water conservation is an issue.  

  Feeling a Bit Off Color? Make a Splash with Alternative Clawfoot Tub Color Choices

Somewhat predictably, the interior color of most baths is white. Other colors are available but you may well have to hunt around a bit to find your desired color such as champagne, cream, ivory or even darker tones like black or brown. Some manufacturers or suppliers, like Vintage Tub, now provide customers with a select choice of exterior colors, and in some cases can custom paint a tub to your specifications. Clearly, your choice will be down to your personal preference and the bathroom decor with which you wish to match your bathtub with. 

Do bear in mind that if you choose a color that isn't one of the mainstream options you may have to wait several extra weeks for delivery due to the extended manufacturing time required. Additionally, as with just about any kind of custom work, you will likely see the end price of your bathtub increase. The benefit? You'll have a tub that's unique to you, and well worth the wait!

  Ready to Get Your Feet Wet? Clawed Feet Options

In many cases clawfoot bath tub buyers will be able to choose both their preferred style of "claw feet" and the material/metal that they are made from. Remember that your selection will invariably have an effect on the overall cost of your tub depending on what the feet are made of. The following are just a few of the available choices:

Clawed Feet Colors

  • White - Usually the lowest cost or 'standard' option
  • Chrome or Brass - About 5 - 10% more expensive than white 
  • Polished or Satin Nickel - About 15 - 20% more than white

Clawfoot Styles

  • Ball & Claw
  • Imperial

Since the claw feet are such a prominent feature, your choice will serve to either blend the feet with the color of the bathtub, as well as that of your bathroom's decor,  or to contrast with it.

  "Tap" into Your Desire for Stylish Fittings... with Faucets!

As clawfoot bathtubs are usually supplied without faucets you will need to bear this in mind when calculating the total amount you will spend on purchasing your tub. Essentially, pricing will come down to both the model / style of the faucets and the quality of them. Some of the various styles are listed below.

  • Roman Tub Faucets
  • Gooseneck
  • Free Standing Faucet
  • English Telephone Faucets
  • Deck Mounted
  • Hand Shower Faucet
  • Standard Faucets
  • Wall Mounted

Prices vary enormously and range from around $30, rising to $500 or more.

Some suppliers now offer "bathtub sets" whereby the buyer is offered a choice of faucets that are suited to a particular tub. This saves on a lot of the guesswork involved in getting the right type and size of faucet and is definitely an option that is worth further consideration if you want to have the minimum of headache with the purchase and plumbing of your bathtub.

  It's Time to Come Clean... and Dip Your Toe in the Water

So there you have it. We hope this guide has given you a better understanding of clawfoot bathtubs, fittings and accessories. One thing is for sure, you'll certainly be able to keep your head above water when it comes to making your choice. Now go on and give yourself that luxury soaking you've been promising yourself by buying your very own classic clawfoot tub!

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