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By : Samantha Dimm, 10-26-2015

My husband and I live in our family home in historic Virginia. It is an old house and has been in my family for quite some time now, passed down from generation to generation. I inherited it from my aunt who didn’t have any children of her own. We are renovating some parts of the house including the guest bathroom. It is one of the only places in the house that has not been yet been refurbished. It has always seemed like a daunting task for us, with its old fixtures and fittings. The entire bathroom is very big and it has an old claw foot style bath in there. It’s a wonderful big soaker! But, it has seen significantly better days. In truth, when I take my rose colored glasses off, it’s more disgusting than romantic. The enamel on it has chips that are beyond vintage chic and the rust of the cast-iron is also visible.

Anyone who has done a similar home renovation or, at least the research, knows it is difficult to find durable oversized baths such as this on a reasonable budget. When once they were a standard in homes, they are now a luxury item. Given this, we decided that we would quest to preserve it, rather than sell it as salvage. I myself am a lover of old things, I think they were made better and more durable than what we use now. But, we are going to have to do a lot to this tub if it is to be a part of our updated home decor. 

There are shops that offer the service of refinishing old tubs and sinks. With an item as big and heavy as this, the work is typically done on site, however with smaller sinks, pedestals and other fixtures, the restorations can also be done at their repair shops.

The restoration process includes spraying the fixture with a resin coating made of acrylic urethane. This is the perfect remedy for getting the antique porcelain looking like new. From what I’ve found, the work costs $350-500 on average, though I suspect this will vary based on geography too. Nonetheless, that is significantly less than buying a tub like this brand new! 

There are three steps involved in the cast-iron tub restoration process:

  • The first is sanding down the fixture. A skilled company will do this by sandblasting to powerfully and evenly clean and smooth the surface. The old finish is removed to make way for the new one. Depending on the degree of damage, it may not be necessary to bring the item down to the full metal. It is also possible just to remove a top layer of finish.
  • The second step is repairing cracks and chips. All the imperfections in that are found are fixed before the final step commences
  • The last step is the adding of primer then the new layers and the top coat.

The length of time the entire refinishing process varies according to the company that undertakes the job. On average however, I’ve been told it takes from two to four weeks before the fixture is ready for use. I can’t wait until this is done!

If you need help finding someone to repair your vintage tub, or if you want to search for claw foot tub to work with, you can always submit a free inquiry to

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