Clawfoot Tub Buying Guide
A classic staple of luxury since its creation in the late 19th century, the clawfoot tub draws the eye like no other bathtub in existence. Keep the vintage vibe of your bathroom with the addition of a clawfoot tub or mix old and new into a uniquely modern vintage bathroom that will have everyone in awe of your bathroom.
Whether you’re renovating an existing bathroom or building a new home, purchasing a bathtub is a big decision. There are many styles, features, and materials to choose from, which can make picking the perfect tub for your bathroom difficult. Fortunately, at Vintage Tub & Bath we can help you choose the right clawfoot tub for your needs.
Clawfoot tubs aren’t just a one-trick pony, there are a few styles to choose from when selecting your tub. We can help you determine which design will suit your style.
Classic or Single-Ended Clawfoot Tub
Oval shaped but square at one end and rounded on the other to cradle your back, neck, and head, the single-ended tub can stand freely or rest against the wall. The typical vintage roll rim clawfoot tub measures five feet long – just big enough to fit into the standard post-World War I American bathroom. Commonly paired with a deck mounted, freestanding, or wall mounted faucet depending on where you are going to place it in the bathroom and are also easily adaptable with a shower conversion kit.
Double Ended Clawfoot Tub
This tub is rounded at both ends. Depending on the size, these tubs can comfortably seat two bathers and are large enough to bathe on either end. These clawfoot bathtubs have a center drain configuration and side-mounting faucet. We recommend pairing this tub with a deck mounted tub faucet for a luxurious daily bathing retreat.
Distinguished by their high-back construction which provides a more comfortable seating position, one end of the tub is designed for lounging while the other end is reserved for plumbing. If you prefer to lounge in the tub with a place to rest your head, the slipper bathtub gives you all the support you’ll need.
Both ends feature a high-back slipper construction, like the previously mentioned slipper tub, for comfortable lounging from either end of the bathtub. Double slipper bathtubs have a center drain configuration and side-mounting faucet. Depending on the length of the tub, double slipper tubs can easily accommodate two people.
Clawfoot tub feet come in a variety of styles, materials, and finishes to choose from, depending on the brand of tub you ultimately select.
These tubs feature ball & claw, imperial ball & claw, lion paw, and monarch. Other tub brands feature additional foot types including deco, modern, and Shaughnessy.
Cast iron tub feet are the bestselling, most common, and most recognized, but they will only work with select tub hulls. Be sure to read the product description or ask a knowledgeable member of our Customer Care Team if you are unsure. Acrylic tub feet, on the other hand, can usually be installed on any hull, and aren’t as heavy as their cast iron counterparts.
Most common feet finishes are white, chrome, brushed nickel, polished nickel, polished brass, and oil rubbed bronze.
Traditionally, clawfoot tubs were made from cast iron until more recent material technologies evolved into what is available to us today. There are several materials to choose from, and a few things to consider before choosing one for your bathroom.
It’s the most durable and long-lasting material available, as well as the most commonly used when forging a clawfoot tub. It is typically finished in porcelain to give it the classic look it’s known for. These tubs also have a more substantial “feel” and “sound” to them than lighter acrylic tubs and need strong support underneath since they are heavy. Cast iron is also known for keeping water warmer for longer than newer materials like acrylic. A disadvantage is once you scratch or otherwise damage the porcelain in a cast iron tub it will be a permanent blemish.
Also referred to as fiberglass, acrylic is much lighter than cast iron but not as durable. This doesn’t mean acrylic isn’t durable, quite the contrary, it can still handle daily use just as well as cast iron, it just doesn’t have the same lifespan. Scratches on an acrylic surface can be easily repaired by sanding and polishing methods.
Standard clawfoot tubs normally come in white, but now come in a variety of colors. Our in-house painting team can customize your tub to match your bathroom! View our custom paint page to learn more about colors and prices.
Be mindful of any add-on purchases when purchasing a clawfoot tub. Faucets or tub fillers are available in a variety of configurations, including freestanding, deck mounted, wall mounted, tub wall mounted, and roman tub faucets. Read our tub faucet buying guide to learn more about which faucet suites your tub and bathroom the best!
Is there a difference between freestanding and clawfoot tub?
The answer is a bit complicated, so yes and no. Technically a clawfoot tub is freestanding because it stands on its own and isn't attached to the wall, but there are many different varieties of freestanding tubs. Generally, when the term freestanding is used, it is in reference to pedestal or contemporary tubs.
What size and style should I get?
That is completely dependent on how much space you have and your tastes. We recommend measuring the area to see how big or small of a tub can fit.
What are the pros and cons of owning a clawfoot tub?
A classic design that is larger and deeper than most modern tub styles. It keeps water warmer for longer if you enjoy a long bath.
Not practical if you prefer showers, little to no space for toiletries, and can be difficult to get in and out of.
Do I need special plumbing to accommodate my new tub?
No. Any plumbing beneath the floor or in the wall (depending on your application) is the same as you currently have. Any exposed supply lines or drains for the new tub/fixtures will work with the existing plumbing, but you may require adapters depending on your house lines (these can be purchased locally at a hardware store).
What is a clawfoot tub made from?
Clawfoot tubs are traditionally made from cast iron, but they are also made from acrylic materials as well.
Do clawfoot tubs only come in white?
They used to come in white, or various shades of it, but those days are behind us! You can get your clawfoot tub painted the color of your choice by our in-house paint team.
What’s the best way to clean a clawfoot tub?
The “best way” is dependent on the tub material in question. Here are some general guidelines:
Acrylic is much easier to clean, due to its nonporous nature. Be sure to use non-abrasive soap for basic cleaning and cleaners like 409, Windex, and others that are approved for use on plastics for deeper cleanings. Light scratches and faded areas can be removed with a liquid polisher. Heavier scratches may require sanding with 600 grit sandpaper (or finer) and then polishing.
Cast Iron (Porcelain interior)
Use a non-abrasive cleaner for basic cleaning. We recommend mixing hot water with dishwashing detergent for the best results. For a deeper clean, combine warm water with ¼ cup ammonia and ¼ cup baking soda. Use a non-abrasive cloth or sponge and be sure to wipe away all baking soda residue! Finish off cleaning by polishing the sides of the tub with a little dab of lemon oil (only the sides, do NOT polish the bottom).