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The Classic Claw Foot Tub

July 31 2010

Bathroom trends come and go, but one trend is here to stay – the elegant, classic clawfoot tub, with a hand-held shower.

From antique tubs to opulent reproductions, these tubs are freestanding fixtures, whether or not they have claw feet. Once found only in cast iron with porcelain finishes weighing 350 pounds and up, today’s tubs are also cast iron for authenticity and acrylic for lighter weight.

What are some advantages to a claw-foot tub?  At a usual size of 60 inches, most can fit into small bathrooms, with a hand-held shower.  They can also be placed next to windows, in the middle of the bathroom, or wherever you want.  Since they are freestanding, they don’t have to have a surround built around them.  

Claw-foot tubs come in a variety of color finishes, usually with a white porcelain interior.  Another popular option is an all-copper tub.  Legs can be purchased in chrome, gold, bronze, pewter, brushed or satin nickel, black or colors. Shapes range from the classic slant back, double ended, slipper, double slipper, and pedestal (with no feet) designs. 

Plumbing fixtures include cold and water faucets, along with a hand-held telephone design shower attachment used while sitting.  For stand-up shower enthusiasts, a shower conversion kit can be purchased so you can attach a circular or rectangular wrap-around shower curtain. Again, the tub doesn’t have to be next to a wall for this feature.

The shower head, etc. can be mounted on a rod that is attached to one end of the tub, or attached to a wall for easy reach.  Many manufacturers offer vintage-looking faucets and shower attachments to complete the look.  Accessories can include cast iron shower pans, feet coasters, magazine racks, bridge faucets, soap dishes, and tub caddies. 

For those who want the jetted tub options, newer claw foot tub reproductions can be purchased with that in mind.  You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style. 

Some disadvantages of the claw foot tub may be about the extra expense.  A cast iron tub alone can start around $1,000.00, and the plumbing attachments can run hundreds of dollars. Upstairs bathroom floors need to be strong enough to hold the weight of a vintage or cast iron tub.  Elderly or physically challenged bathers may not be able to enter or exit the tub safely and the tub designs don’t lend themselves easily to safety bars.  Some bathers may prefer a separate shower to using a hand-held shower attachment.

The claw foot tub is undoubtedly a classic addition to a stylish bath, and design innovations allow for any décor to feature a free-standing tub.  No matter what your style bath, there is a claw foot for you!