Ease the Tension with a Clawfoot Tub

By HomeAdvisor

Updated October 19, 2016

Bathroom with Clawfoot Bathtub

Tubs have been around since ancient times, but only in the last century or so has bathing become an essential requirement of everyday life. This is why built-in bathtub and shower units were invented. They’re cheap, quick to install and easy to maintain. But if you’re only looking for efficiency, you could be missing out on a lot of other luxuries a bathtub could provide. Clawfoot tubs have been around for generations, and though they preserve that antique look of the past, they have been thoroughly modified over time to offer modern conveniences.

The Past Made Present

When people think of clawfoot bathtubs, they often think of romantic settings and soaking in a bubble bath with a loved one. Though this is certainly true today, these tubs were originally designed with more practical intentions in mind. In the 1800s, a foundry started manufacturing large cast-iron vats made from farm equipment. These tubs transformed the horse-trough shape and added an enamel coating for maintenance purposes and four legs resembling animal feet (most often lion paws) to stand on. They then advertised the product as a “horse trough/hog scalder” that could also be used by people.

Over time, of course, these bathing units became more and more standard in homes until they were ultimately replaced with standardized built-in shower units. Baths became a thing of the past. Except recently there has been a resurgence in this tradition: people have busy lives that lack relaxation and romance and they need a place to decompress. Bathtubs provide a place to de-stress. As a result, clawfoot tubs have become more popular as well. They not only provide a beautiful look to a bathroom, they also supply a great place to soak away your worries.

You Now Have Options

Since the clawfoot tub has become so popular lately there has been a need to modernize them in order to fit the conveniences of contemporary lifestyles. They are still bigger than normal bath units for ideal R and R, but they also come in a large assortment of shapes and styles. You can ask a plumbing professional which tub best fits the size and shape of your bathroom if you’re uncertain.

Slipper Tubs: This is a tub where one end is raised with a gentle sloping, offering more comfort for lounging. This is why clawfoot tubs are often referred to as “soaker tubs” and they are perfect for unwinding.

Double-Ended Tub: A tub that is raised on both ends and dips in the middle; often the fixtures and faucets are centered in the middle. This is still great for reclining, but since there is less risk of spillage, it’s also great for bathing children.

Cast-Iron Tub: If you want a more classical look, cast iron-tubs are still made for those antique collectors out there. The benefits of cast iron are that it can be painted any color and they often have more options for shower installations. They are still coated in porcelain because it fights against abrasions and is more stain resistant than metal. Plus these tubs are durable and have a long lifespan. But they are also heavy (up to 500 pounds); therefore they are also difficult to move around and may require more floor support underneath them.

Acrylic Tubs: A clawfoot tub can now come in a light-weight form that is easy to move between homes and the upper stories of a house. Acrylic is also a natural insulator so bathwater stays warm longer. It also resists chipping, but it can still be scratched so never use abrasive cleaners on it but rather gentler detergents that can wash away quickly.

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Although it’s great to have a tub, what about when you have to get up and go to work in the morning? Are you just going to run a bath everyday? Therefore, many clawfoot tubs have the ability to convert into a shower unit. Faucet holes are often drilled into the side or the rim of a tub, creating more space and deeper water levels in the basin itself while making it easier to mount a shower enclosure as well.

Also, this “old-fashioned” tub has moved into the twentieth century. They can be two-toned (different colors from the outside and inside) adding a contemporary look. They have a choice in accessories also. Do you want the legs or fixtures to come in gold, brass, iron, or aluminum? In fact, you can now add jets to this old world tub and make it into a modern day spa. The options are limitless, giving you the chance to customize your own bathroom while also remaining easy on your budget. Due to their rise in popularity, these tubs are more available than ever which makes the supply grow as well, thereby lowering their overall price tags.

We all lead hectic lives that need to slow down every once in a while. We all need a personal retreat from the real world. And just by adding a few candles, a few drops bath oil, and maybe some good company, a clawfoot tub could be the perfect romantic addition to create your own private oasis.

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