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posted: 6/3/2012 5:00 AM

Ask the plumber: Looking for a new old-style tub

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  • Claw-foot, cast-iron tubs are still being made, and the free-standing design can create a striking focal point for any bathroom.

    Claw-foot, cast-iron tubs are still being made, and the free-standing design can create a striking focal point for any bathroom.
    Courtesy of Kohler

 
By Ed Del Grande

Q. I'm looking to remodel my bathroom the way I want it, not how everyone is telling me I should do it. I want an old-style, claw-foot bathtub. Everyone is telling me that my best bet is to get a reconditioned one, but I don't want an old tub. I want a brand-new, cast-iron claw-foot tub. Is that too much to ask for, and are they still being made?

A. Cast-iron tubs have made a big comeback in recent years. Believe it or not, the "green"-building movement has helped homeowners rediscover the benefits of cast iron. Cast-iron plumbing fixtures are usually made with a good amount of reclaimed materials. So, an old cast-iron heating radiator could be part of a new tub, and that fits right in with the "green" thinking.

The good news is that claw-foot cast-iron tubs are still being made, and the free-standing design can create a striking focal point for any bathroom. Also, with a free-standing tub, installation location options can be very flexible.

Remember, though, that this is a high-end item, and the labor costs to install a claw-foot cast-iron tub can be much higher than with a conventional bathtub.

Bottom line: Plan your budget carefully. You want to take a bath "in" your beautiful new tub -- not when you pay the bills!

• Master contractor and plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and hosts TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eddelgrande@hgtvpro.com.

HGTVPro.com

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