Ask the plumber: Looking for a new old-style tub
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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