Should I replace my 40 year old cast cast iron tub, while remodeling?

6 years ago
Our old tub is in pretty good shape. But, seems like we should install everything new. If you have replaced yours, what did you replace it with and are you happy with it, how long have you had your new one?

Comments (70)

  • Rod Gaskins
    • Well for the sake of science the heat coefficient for an old cast iron tub is no modern marvel. The massive heat flux created when bath water has to heat the mass of the cast iron makes your presumption quite preposterous. Of coarse the mass will hold more heat because you put more energy into heating the mass of the tub. On the other "modern" hand, a coated steal tub wastes less energy from the water to heat the mass of the tub And keeps it in the water. Despite your not so scientific observations cast iron for these reasons is not a modern innovation. After you drain your tub it slowly sends back all that heat energy it stole from your water heating bill and releases it to the air Not your bath water. So sorry I included you in the class of nobody like myself, obivously you are part of a different class of thinking where nostalgia outweighs logic. Despite our differences I can relate to your method. I often prefer riding my horse over driving my car. Hope u enjoy ur tub that's the most important thing because that's priceless.
  • ladyrob1
    @ Rod Gaskins on the subject of hot water in bathtubs... just had a peek at your profile...OOHH you are either in or from the great all knowing US of A so ."of COARSE", you presume to talk down to us here in the great downunder.....but that was a typo...right?
    Apart from that, I don't get the point of your scientific reasoning and its not because I or others here are in a class lacking a working brain and are dealing in preposterous notions as you so rudely imply.
    ( Off subject here but worth a word - If we are trading negativities...you can't spell and seems, like me, you can't type well either)
    What's a "coated " STEAL tub" .something one theives .....or was that another typo?. If its an innovative modern bathtub made of steel please explain in English (not scientific) how, as opposed to the old cast iuron tubs, it retains the heat of the water as constantly as the porcelain coated cast iron 'nostalgiuc' bathtubs? How it is superior? You say that this kind of bathtub retains the heat in the waterather than absorbing and storing the heat in the tub siding. How is this better? What's the benefit? What happens to the heat in the water when the "modern" bath is drained ? Hot water down the drain and no hot empty cast iron tub radiating the heat it has stored warming the bathroom?

    Hot Water - Hot Air- Warm Bathroom
    If you have a soak in one of our 'nostalgic' cast iron tubs and your bathroom is not itself almost the size of a whole house, then you'll been able to stand on a warm floor, dry off and get dressed in the bathroom without using some other source of heating. That makes sense to me. A visitor to my cottage once remarked that by comparison with Mc. Mansion bathrooms, my bathroom was 'wee'. Suppose that was the idea in days of your...less room ro warm up! That has to be a plus on the side of energy conservation...when the modern bathrooms with their extruded/moulded plastic or whatever composit tubs need floor heating..(.also supplied by the water heating bill), to keep the bathroom warm...because the bath doesn't, and the area is huge.
    Some of the modern free standing tubs today are being made with an air void in between two surfaces....an outside 'skin' all nice and shaped and smooth and an inside one....(that is sometimes even moulded for seating comfort) Apart from the comfort factor, why the "double sides" with the air void between them? Maybe to keep the water hot whilst one is IN the tub..i.e..as insulation? Maybe only aesthetic? What's the reason...scientifically that is?
    Rod, you are talking ENERGY rather than HEAT.
    We are discussing enjoying a soak in a bath full of hot water that stays hot whilst one is IN it..even for an hour, saying that the. "nostalgic" cast iron porcelain coated bathtub supplies this luxury whilst the modern "plastic or whatever" tubs, by comparison seem to lose water heat more quickly. (maybe I tried inferior tubs) How does one tell the difference?

    Your Energy Bill
    If one is energy consumption and cost conscious there's Solar Heating=Free energy from the sun.

    Heat the air and Solar Heating
    You say that when the water drains from the "nostalgic" bathtub the tub sends into the air the heat that it supposedly " stole" from "the water heating bill" and the user is at an energy consumption disadvantage. .The result, in my experience, is that yout empty old tub radistes the heat it has stored so you have a warm bathroom that you don't need to heat so to dry off and get dressed, which warmth hasn't cost an extra cent...and...the electricity company, at the end of the billing cycle, sends you a cheque for having generated the energy to enjoy a hot bath and a warm bathroom plus having supplied energy to the grid.
    On that basis, as long as the energy consumed is to the benefit of the consumer its a plus in every sense and even moreso when you have generated extra energy...(.that's if we're talking energy.)

    Solar Heating or not...a bathtub that gives you the pleasure of a long hot bubbly soak and then, after you drain it, acts as a radiant heater has to be, In my unscientific experience...one of the best things that any human brain ever invented...and all they needed to do to discover that was to have a bath in one of the cast iron porcelain coated bathtubs they made.
    If then, Rod, according to the scientific principles you have tried to explain to us dummies in theland downunder.....when one empties the "nostalgic type" bath, the heat gets wasted as it is absorbed into the air.....yada...yada....yada......please go to the top of this post, read again and tell me if the old cast iron bathtub is not a desirable thing to have restored...providing that its in good order and that your renovated bathroom is not absolutely enormous.
    I think that there are pros and cons for both arguments each with its own common sense considerations.
    What I've learnt is that a big old cast iron bathtub is best in a cosy bathroom as were the bathrooms of its era.. As an example, my 1900s cottage bathroom housing a large cast iron porcelained bath and a vanity, measures approx. 8ft x 6ft with a 10ft high ceiling...(and I'd like to lower the ceiling). It does not need a heater. The toilet is separate from the bathroom. I would never change that amazing plunge bath! .Otherwise, you may as well go for the new bathtub in a larger bathroom, have floor heating or other and really 'go to town' since .the bath type wil make no difference...unless you want the heritage look. Or, add .a real wooden floor and a space heater of sorts

    Ther are pros and cons for both. Having given this more thought...an old bath in a smaller bathroom and you'll not need much else for comfort...except maybe a lovely big rain shower over the bath on a beautifully curved shepherd's crook coupled with vintage plumbing to match and your choice of luxury screen or decadent period shower curtain. For me, the old bathe will always add mor warmth.
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  • pcmom1

    Patterson · More Info

    Ladyrob1, hate to point out that you also have a typo at the start of your last paragraph....

    Let's play nice and not demean anyone's country. Truth is there are all sorts of people in every country! All knowing types, sarcastic types, overly sensitive types...

    Right now I am glad to be a peaceful shower taker. You bath takers may just start WWIII.

  • Rod Gaskins

    Nice touch with the peace mirror. My point about the heat was actually a counter to one of the arguments of keeping a cast iron tub which I find to be inaccurate, which is that there is some kind of heating or heat efficiency advantage using cast iron. It simply is not true when you compare properly installed modern tubs they outperform by far in efficiency. I was not about to take on teaching a lesson in thermodynamics in a blog post so sorry if the scientific jargon I used left u googling but I think I summed it up quite well in my previous posts and if u don't get it try reading it again or check to see if u may just be in denial due to some bias such as being a professional cast iron tub refinisher. I love auzzies and their women are beautiful and I love ignorance it's bliss So I'm sorry if my use of words came off offensive they were designed to be more protagonist than insulting. So insisting on using cast iron or keeping cast iron tubs I guess makes this another cold war! Lol. Sometimes change is hard to accept but u have to let it grow.

  • ladyrob1
    Troops to the rescue of those defending the pvc bathtub and to put down the cast iron biased... a rush to keep the peace in the PVC nation! Sounds appropriate.

    Hey you two war and peace-inclined people...(.Rod who can't spell, pcmom1 who can't read..). I made more than one typo, I will make more here...why make an effort to point out my inefficiency when I already did? That's not "making nice".
    And, Rod, I don't use impolite text either.,...

    This thread is still about bathtub efficiency. and not about personalities, peace- politics with mirrors or "playing nice"...although it seems that's a good tactic for shifting blame.

    .I thought we were having a straightforward up-front even jocular discussion...obviously not.
    Whether you love Aussies, think the Aussie women are beautiful ( are we another race too?) and imply that you are also enamoured of our or my blissful ignorance is beside the point!.
    All that was asked of you was answers to my questions ..

    All you have stated so far, Rod, is that the PVC bathtub is superior and that you are not going to proffer a lesson in thermodynamics to all the ignoramuses who are resisting change...we can keep our ignorance and our cast iron bathtubs! Aren't you a nice fellow!

    Oh well, I have a cousin-in-law from... 'the states...' (as if nowhere else had states), who thinks its a matter of intricate maths and Physics to erect a tight wire run-line between two trees where to set the dog up with outside exercise in the absence of the new fence! Each to their own self-esteem I giuess.

    Rod, can you just humour me and explain simply ...
    # Why do "properly installed pvc tubs" outperform their less "with it" cousins?
    # Why are they making pvc tubs with an air pocket between the double skins as explained? Is it for insulation?. Is it to keep the heat in the water? Is it to keep the heat in the tub once the water is drained?
    We too receive an educationn so are capaple of thinking outside our expertise but are not all of a scientific bent...but we do not think ourselves infallible.
    Also, if you would try to be so well mannered as to spare us the jargon, the jibs, the subtle put downs, the politics, the peace symbols that are inappropriately confrontational in this instance given the comments above. There's more than just you and me reading this.OK? Most of us here do not regard war as glorious and do not bring it into conversations on other topics. The topic is bathtubs....and baths are for relaxing! We want relaxing soothing baths!
    This thread is not even about showers V baths, pc1mom, but about the effeciency or not of different bathtubs, let's keep it on track.
    Rod, can you and will you answer a simple question...or several in simple terms explaining why, exactly, is the "modern" bathtub more efficient by far?
    Convince us, then maybe we'll be as informed as...tou are. ( OOPS another typo!)
  • pcmom1

    Alas, the only point I was trying to make is that we are all human no matter who we are or where we live. We have all made typos.....not trying to rub your face in it at all.

  • ladyrob1
    Many hours later...Ahhh what a lovely soak in my old cast iron bathtub! I wish the experience on everyone who is tired, stressed, paining or simply in need of time out from the cares of everyday.
  • ladyrob1
    @ bungalomo Was it you the one determined to find vintage plumbing for your equally vintage bathtub?
    How is the purpose made tap set going? If it was you I hope you are getting as much pleasure from it as was the determination you employed to find someone "old school" to help you achieve your aim. I often think about that. My vintage taps needed new washers, they still had the original ones in them much to the amazement of the plumber. He is equally amazed that the relatively new bathroom vanity pvc plumbing has cracked...its only a few years old. Suppose I need to be gracious and concede that the pipe may have been faulty to start with. The plumber is not at all impressed.
  • bungalowmo

    ladyrob1....Yes, that was me looking for the vintage tubset...and I
    found it! I love this old tub and no amount of babble will make me
    believe that a piece of PVC would be better.
    I'll be in there later today after I shovel what should be our last snowstorm here. Lord willing!!!

    All the hardware is chrome plated brass. Finally got rid of the "new" plastic Moen crap! Stemset was morphed from vintage guts & new/old parts from DEA Bath Machineries. My plumber did an amazing job making this all come together!

  • Rod Gaskins

    Thermal conductivity is high in cast iron because it has a high density. Therefore the professional should never say it holds heat better. It is just not true. Despite this fact many continue to insist this urban legend is true so I guess I'm going to have to shoot the Mythbusters an email. Because the cast iron has such a large mass it can adsorb more heat energy. The problem is u want the largest portion of the heat in the water, not sucked from the water. Congrats on your bathroom looks very antique and dated except that floor has a bit of a modern flare. Looks like you have some spots where the thinset is poking through your grout lines. That toilet is screaming "I need more room if we are going to pass inspection!" of coarse looks can be deceiving.

  • bungalowmo

    Thermal conductivity is high in cast iron because....metal is a known conductor. Lets take it to mythbusters! The conductivity of metal isn't an "opinion"...it's physics!

    Pour hot coffee in a metal cup & then in a plastic cup...which would you grab bare handed??

    That toilet is screaming "I need more room if we are going to pass inspection!" That toilet has already passed inspection...thank you for your concern.

    Looks like you have some spots where the thinset is poking through your grout lines......It's not the thinset, and I fully agree, I'm not totally happy with the grout job either, but it's an easy fix.Congrats on your bathroom looks very antique and dated except that floor has a bit of a modern flare....Actually, the floor is very period correct. I achieved exactly what I was going for.

    But I'm guessing you haven't, since you obviously thought your comments would wind me up.

  • cparfc438
    Wow. I am exhausted just trying to read all the comments. All I was trying to learn was if a 1924 tub could successfully withstand a period rehab, as in could it survive the demo and if there were any hints as to visually fitting in with the new tiles. Original pedestal sink stays, for sure, and the newer Toto " Promenade" toilet is just the ticket. Am a seasoned homeowner from the USofA.
  • ladyrob1
    @cparfc438 My cast iron tub is exactly that age. My answer to this is YES! Apologies I haven't any pics...my camera at the time of my period reno was not a digital so would have to scan paper photos. That tub could survive a cyclone. In tropical North Queensland all were advised to shelter in the bathroom where the strength was...heavy galvanised iron pipe plumbing and a heavy tub not easily demolished and not easily made airbourne....just an example. Original pedestal sink? I didn't get one of those with my house but still looking at recycled places all over. As for new tiles surely the tile manufacturers are getting en trend and manufacturing vintage designs...if that is what you meant. Many a vintage bathroom renovator chooses black and white square tiles, Suppose it all depends on what your type of house with those bathroom items would have had...and whether the items are white. Can you put up a PIC?
  • ladyrob1
    @ bungalowmo..LOVE your hand made chromed brass tap set and more...Love the shape of your porcelaine coated cast iron bathtub! It looks new since it is in such good condition. Did you have it resurfaced or is it still original? It looks period and classy not 'dated'. Bet you sit in that hot water for ages and admire those hand made taps and are proud of your labours! What's this merry-(or not so) go round on conductivity all about and who's a professional here...(except us who are professional hot bathtub soakers?) Maybe you, bungalowmo, who understands what all the waffle is about....but I feel entitled to voice my experience as a cast iton hot-tubber...definitely better, stronger, warmer.....and I wonder if, in 50 years, the pvc equivalent would still be standing? Bathroom renovators spend a lot of money and time getting it just right as you have. What a shame to see the bath crumble in half a century from here had you chucked the original in favour of...the "modern" version! I usually shy away from subways, not only for the memories but also because I like a bit of glitz if I can get the "Art Deco" look....however, yours look classy.
    Sadly, though, it seems I will never be appraised by the expert as to why some of the modern pvc tubs are now being made with double skins incorporating an air void in between. For strength? As insulation?
  • Rod Gaskins

    I rest my case. Bung u just reiterated my sentiments you get my point but I'm just not sure your aware of it. "known conductor", well then you should know it is sucking the heat from your water very effectively and passing it around to everything else very effectively. It is a modern prospectus to heat the bathroom air with the rest of a homes' air and to heat the homes' water with the rest of the homes' water. Who ever told u cast is stronger than steel is also mistaken. Sorry but again it's just physics. R.I.P. U old heavy burden on heat cast tub I'm movin on up to the times where i've finally got a peace of the mind. The air pocket in the pvc is probably a design to minimize flexing, for pvc is already one of the best insulatinsulating materials but, that would be a question for the engineer who designed the tub.


  • cparfc438
    Ladyrob ( and All) , I'll refrain from posting pics for now. Haven't done that, as yet, on HOUZZ. The original finish is a bit worn down the center of the tub, making it almost impossible to get clean. Other than that, it is a solid, beautiful tub. As to any refinishing possibilities--I'll need to do some recon on that. Perhaps our local restoration society can give some researched advice. As to the that second floor plumbing-- the cast iron was replaced with PVC a few years ago ( a good idea, btw),when our soil pipe got replaced as part of our kitchen re-do. It's about time the main bathroom floor (4" of concrete under the unglazed porcelain tiles, as you may know) was jackhammered out and replaced with new subfloor ...and hopefully a similar floor. When I get brave enough to initiate my own request for advice, I'll try photos!
  • cparfc438
    I just realized how old the original post is...back to at least Dec. 2013. Wonder how jaw4x2's old tub fared in the bath rehab! As to sturdy, yet worn vs. a bit less sturdy and new--it's whatever works out and makes you happy.
  • cparfc438
    Oops, a correction. I meant galvanized pipes, not cast iron pipes. Am sure there must be a difference.
  • ladyrob1
    @ Rod Gaskins ... thankyou sir..."probably a design to minimise flexing" (air pocket pvc tub). If a bathtub seller told me that I'd run. Just had a funny mental Pic of a very hefty fella in a flexing pvc tub...I've enjoyed the mental gymnastics on this old post. I think the reverse is true and that you.Rod, with all your science and propriety have learnt a thing or two from Bungalowmo and are revamping the knowledge to incorporate in your own speel....but then, according to you I'm "obviously of a class of thinking where nostalgia outweighs logic" therefore incapable of rationale and you are "movin' up to the times when you've finally got peace of mind". Sorry ( take as a figure of speech) to inform you that that kind of Nirvana does not exist.....except if you are sitting in a cast iron bathtub soaking for an hour or so in the " hot tub"! Whether the heat in the water is actually IN the water or stored in the cast iron of the tub is quite beside the point...it is still a "hot tub" and one can comfortably soak for hours in it. Cast iron porcelain-coated tubs are keepers!
  • ladyrob1
    @ cparfc438...Yes, this is an old thread, but if you go to the top to the post by the Professional Bath Express...you could find someone who has an appreciation of the old bathtubs and the new who may give you some good advice. Cheers and good luck...its a hard decision but worth the perseverance.
  • Rod Gaskins

    Yes, I am working on my spiel and the reason I ended up here is because my current project gas hit the exact question posed in thus post. My finance wants me to keep the cast iron tub which needs resurfaced and I want to get a steel porcelain coated tub. Everything is getting gutted even the subfloor and I can't stand the idea of sticking this dull monster back in. So here I am trying to find some logic I can stick to in order to change my view or work my argument to change her view. A proper resurfacing isn't a very appealing prospect due to the toxic vapors sprayed and I'm not convinced the hot tub argument holds weight because I think adding more hot water to the tub is much more logical method for keeping a hot tub. Jets are more appealing to me than period nostalgia. I just can't seem to find proper justification to keep the cast iron tub.

  • dclostboy

    So...bottom line...comes down to personal preference after all :)

  • pcmom1

    @Rod, just got to say....from what you have written, your fiance wants her cast iron tub. In marriage, the choice often (at least in our own mind) is between being "right" and being happy. Stop fighting your fiance and let her have the tub. It is important to her.

    No one ever won anyone's heart through winning the argument. This is from someone married 35 years so far!

    And you can still have your jetted hot tub...just outside in the garden. There, someday, your wife of many years and you will soak, drink wine and laugh about this....

    And, one final thing...if you keep the tub, the most difficult bit will be not continuing to hold it over your lady's head. So, when another couple is over for dinner, etc. no comments about what a great guy you were to let her have her way even though "it didn't make sense". After all, wouldn't you really gain if she thinks warm and loving thoughts about you each time she soaks? Sounds like a Win-Win to me.

  • ladyrob1
    pcmom1 What beautiful, practical advice! More beautiful and insightful because it extends into the future and to future attitude and comes from experience. Quite amazing when somebody insightful recognises that at the crux of a long exchange of information about cast iron bath V ..whatever is another more important issue.
  • ladyrob1
    @cparfc438 Just as I shut down my notepad I had a thought about the stains in the bottom of your bath. Mine was like that... years of ingrained grime plus rust showing through the aged and thined porcelain coating on the cast iron. No amount of scrubbing would remove it. The temporary soloution, unfortunately, is to find a product that will remove Calcium Lime and Rust. I say 'unfortunately' because it is both a temporary ( although long lasting) solution and involves a caustic/corrosive product. I used an Australian/New Zealand made product called "CLR clear" to great effect, (I understand they export all over the world), then I polished the whole porcelain surface with a common spray product that is used for many items in the home..from wood cabinetry to pvc counters tops....and, I found, that gives a high sheen to the acrylic lacquer duco on my old car...(.although not made for that purpose).
    I kept the bath well coated with the spray...and it stayed clean for several years until I could have the whole bath resurfaced by a professional company.
    Another option available here is to have a whole new vitreous/pvc skin fitted over the entire bath surface so you have the benefit of the thermal properties of both materials and a bath that looks like a modern marvel...in any colour you wish...the best of both for a fraction of the cost of replacing the old bath.(.which old bath which will remain as solid, unwarpred and uncreeped and cracked as it was when new and will last for another lifetime.
    Just as an explanatory afterthought...cast iron does not expand and contract as do the pvc and other composit new baths...which, because of this, will not last as long or remain as solid as a cast iron bathtub....which is the main reason why there are so many companies today that specialise in resurfacing these old items..(at least here in Australia)....Oh, and I have found a refurbished pedestal basin and a refurbished toilet from the 1900s and couldn't be happier. Just as a by-the-way....because of the arguments for and against galvanised iron, cast iron V pvc on this thread, I read up on a physics site, about the properties of those materials and have opted for galvanised iron plumbing...it doesn't warp and doesn't crack and will outlast the last lot of pvc pipes I had installed. So gal iron pipes for me. Again Good luck...and ENJOY!
  • sacapuntaslapioz

    old cast irons tubs and sinks can be re-glazed

  • cparfc438
    ladyrob1- What type of spray product, even your brand, did you use to somewhat seal your tub? Guess what worked to clean my tub!? -- Mr. Clean Stain Eraser. Which rather shows I'm just not that good of a housekeeper. It'll take awhile to get the tub clean, but will be well worth it if I can also prevent further soap scum from building up!

    Also, I have scoped out neighbors' options of the plastic molded to go over the existing tub and even a rubberized bottom coat -- neither that successful. Saca, I've yet to see a reglazed tub; however a neighbor said theirs looked great until something dropped on it, at just the perfect wrong angle.

    Thanks for the advice!
  • sacapuntaslapioz

    I mean reglazed, not painted. We had a vintage sink that was in really bad shape. It was gorgeous and we have been carrying it around for a good many years, waiting for a bathroom that could handle the magnificent thing (it's huge). when we moved to the present abode, we got it reglazed. looks like new (we did period appropriate not-shiny)


    sorry about the boxes. my puppy stills chews them and I must protect them until UPS pick-up


  • cparfc438
    Saca, that IS a beauty. Am glad it didn't go to waste. Was the entire sink done, or just the inside-- the bowl? I might be a bit less skiddish about reglazing a sink, as anything accidentally dropped into it would not be dropped from as great a height as in a tub, so perhaps less force? I know...a little too much worrying going on, eh? ;) As our tub isn't worn down to the iron, nor has hard water etching on it, perhaps we' re going to be able to bypass a reglazing. I'd still like to personally inspect a local tub that has been reglazed and is still pasting muster. In another thread, I've asked how a tub job has fared after the three years since it was done. If I get a response, I'll let you know the outcome!
  • sacapuntaslapioz

    the whole sink. they basically strip the glazing to the metal and re-dip it and then bake it. I think any tub that has a hard items fall in it would break though. But I do not shower with a hammer most of the time ;-))

  • cparfc438
    Rofl. I was picturing the hard plastic back brush wresting from my grip! ;) I bet the tub would take three guys and a dolly to move it once freed from the tile on three sides. Sounds like I'm just throwing up roadblocks. Btw, are you a designer? You have a clever eye for composition of the room with this sink. Plus, I bumped into a couple other threads where you have offered some darned good advice to folks on other threads. No, I promise-- no stalking! Just, there you were! Lol
  • sacapuntaslapioz

    cparfc438, I am a civilian, not a designer. Thanks for the compliments. And I hope if uyou decided to change the beauty in your bathroom you sell it. that rounded corner is just gorgeous.

  • cparfc438
    Oh, am about 99 per cent sure we'll keep it. Btw, until hitting the blue houzz link next to my name on your comment, I was not aware that others could see my idea book; thought I'd switched them to private. Didn't know my activity could be followed, either. Good reason to always play nicely! Ha.
  • cparfc438
    I'm rather tech-challenged, so it may take longer for me to wheel around this app as you and many other posters do, saca. (pardon my shortening your name. Guess I could write it down, rather than remembering just enough to get by.) In the meantime, what a terrific help it still is! Particular thanks to you and ladyrob1 in this matter of preserving our 90 year old cast iron tub, which has given our family daily service for the past 27 years. With any luck, I'll at least learn to show photos to present the bathroom's storage dilemmas for the overhaul that it absolutely must have some day.
  • pdk920

    bungalowmo, I love your tub and bathroom. I'm having a 1922 claw-foot tub refinished for my completely-redone bathroom upstairs and have had fun finding chrome-finished, porcelain trimmed hardware to go with it.

    I've had cast-iron tubs, a steel tub and a fiberglass tub. The old cast iron were the best, IMHO. My "new" tub has local history. Provenance!

    sacapuntaslapioz, that pedestal sink is absolutely gorgeous!

  • ladyrob1

    @ "should I replace the cast iron tub"....You can do what you like...but one day you'll be soooorrryyy if you do replace it!

  • Rod Gaskins

    Modern construction materials = PVC, Acrylic Tubs. The term "modern" implies a few things starting with the complete expanse of the history of construction, from the Roman aqueducts to the modern building codes. There are many who seem to have a bond with the history of their tub almost as if they themselves have been dipped and baked into it then glazed over so that no one might change their view. Bottom line is what I try to consider and therefore I recommend modernization with any major remodel. This brings all the aspects of construction up to the modern standard and provides you with conformity to modern building codes which are designed to protect you and your investment. I can't imagine walking onto a new home construction site to see a plumber cutting and threading galvanized steel pipe because of the demand for its' longevity, how ridiculous and absurd some get over their nostalgia. Don't recreate history embrace the future unless it's in your design plan. Good Luck. BTW one guy that knows how to use his head can handle a cast iron tub with elegant finesse.

  • pdk920

    Vintage fixtures can be used safely and in accordance with modern codes. A home is more than just an "investment" in any case.

  • ladyrob1

    @ rod gaskins... You don't have to 'dis' people whose opinions differ from your professional ones. If a house is an investment...and today that kind of investment is quire substantial, I don't see anything stupid or nonsensically nostalgic about keeping and refurbiushing any item that has stood the test of time because builders of yesteryear used substantial materials and indeed, built things to last....that's not ridiculous and there's nothing absurd about anyone's opinion that aligns with this. As for galvanised steel pipe, the fact that it is still around speaks heaps. That some of the old school plumbers still use it and do so with dexterity, knowledge and creatively is nothing to sneer at! These old professionals are more competent than some of the 'know it alls' being turned out of certificate courses today..some of their workmanship is abysmal. Put that together with the inferiority of some of the materials accepted by 'codes' today...( I dare not use the word 'modern' for fear you will lecture us on Roman aqueducts etc) and, in my experience with having the old refurbished and incorporating the old with the new, it does work. If you want to see a plumber working with gal pipe to amazing effect you should rock up to my old place...your eyes would probably drop out of their sockets in sync with the young building inspector's..."Well, didn't know that could work...!" Unfortunately there are too few left who have the competence or the imagination to pull that off successfully. pdk920 seems to have a good perspective on the vintage V the new. If I were remodelling my 1900s bathroom I would certainly not be throwing out the substantial cast iron tub.unless it were to replace it with an even better old casr iron tub..( mine is one of the ordinary ones, I'd love an ornate version!) Suppose that places me among the ridiculous and the absurd who have an irrational sentimental attachment to the historical...not an attitude of a plumber I'd like to have polluting the ingenious creativity of some of the old school professionals working on my humble little place. They put their heart and enthisiasm into it and it shows in the workmanship,,,they stand there pretty chuffed at what they've been able to achieve. Wonderful working atmosphere!...Its not just a job but an artistic adventure combining the best of both eras. I'm all for 'longevity'. Just as an example..( and I am not familiar with the appropriate speak in this area of expertise..but here goes)....The electrical company that takes care of bringing power from street poles to old homes here arrived wanting to renew the power lines attached to the exterior of my old house. On taking down the old lines one of the men remarked that those wires already on the house were more substantial and of better quality than the new ones they were being replaced with...says heaps to me! "Embracing the future" whilst incorporating the past I feel is is the wisest rule. Keep and preserve what is substantial, beautiful and has proven itself over the test of time, replace what has outlived its purpose....and I add..even if that means replacing it with a genuine treasure that some silly ' futurist' has discarded just because it is from the past....you'll find the best things! At least Rod Gaskins concedes that to handle a cast iron tub requires brains and a sense of elegance and finesse...and that's harder to find than the latest flimsy, curvaceous PVC tub! I suppose its all about what you want to achieve with the bathroom remodel. For me I thoroughly enjoy an up-to-the-neck fully stretched out relaxing soak... (I'm 5ft 7ins tall and do not have long feet) and being able to admire the workmanship and recall the satisfaction of all involved in giving me this experience. Its not ridiculous to love your cast iron tub and everything associated with it from its history combined with all the latest touches. A house might be an investment but its much more...its for living in...and I like to do a lot of my living in my 100 yr old cast iron beautifully restored tub...and remeniss nostalgically on the simple poverty striken washer woman bathing her six kids in this tub pre WWII before I was even born, carrying galvanised iron buckets of hot water from the kitchen wood burning cast iron stove to the bathroom....makes appreciating what I have so very dear!

  • chookchook2

    Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

  • Rod Gaskins

    I digress, I mean no disrespect @ladyrob, my opinion in all its' superfluous grandor takes on a cynical character literally. Only when you take my view in a holistic manner will one grasp the breath and depth of its' command. I have love for all views and certainly any view is welcome on a forum specifically designed for views. All that being said I still find it relevant to argument against tuning a renovation into a restoration which professionally are two very different models. Arguments to keep cast iron tubs just don't materialize in a material way and become a matter of non-material in nature such as emotional or nostalgia. So if u desire such an non-material connection to a remodel perhaps u would be better off with a restoration. BTW good luck finding skilled craftsmen if u choose a restoration as ladyrob1 points out they are almost extinct due to the construction industry being saturated with a capitalistic model where craftsmanship is undervalued and conformity to modern construction standards has major financial gains; We seek the cheapest unskilled contractors over the high priced skilled craftsmanship. Good luck either way I watch Holmes on homes all the time which is a constant reminder there is a critical decision to make for any construction project and that is choosing a competent contractor.

  • pdk920

    I certainly agree that choosing your contractor and the craftspeople who will be doing the work is absolutely essential to a satisfactory job, whether using brand new materials or vintage. Just finding people who really care about doing excellent work can be a challenge.

  • ladyrob1

    In the end it really does all come down to a) what you want to achieve b) finding a contractor who "gets" it...and is willing to work with what you want to use, even better, if he becomes enthusiastic about the job on offer. Like sacapuntiozlapoz.(.hope that's spelt correctly) I collected old wares for years with a dream in my head to the consternation of my friends who began to think I'd "lost it". The day arrived when everything came together in the one place and they even wanted to be involved in their mad friend's project, some recommending skilled retired crafrsmen.

    Amazing all the information found at the bottom of a cast iron tub! I really hope you keep it, get it restored to "as good as new" and get many years of relaxation and satisfaction from it!

  • essmith2
    ladyrob1- is the CLR "Clear" not corrosive? Also, would you mind mentioning the clear spray you used as a top coat---before choosing to resurface/deglaze? Thank you.
  • Cinkorswim

    I gutted and updated my bathroom last year and was torn between acrylic and cast iron. In the end I went with my gut and splurged for the cast iron (against the input of everyone else). On a daily basis I am so happy with my cast iron tub. It is beautiful, solid and everything a bathtub should be. In addition it will last for years and years. I love, love, love my cast iron tub.

  • Eileen Shea

    I wouldn't swap out my cast iron claw foot tub for ANYTHING!! I've even moved my tub across country...it was literally the FIRST thing on the truck! I was not leaving without it! My particular tub is over 100 years old. If you want to gut the old bathroom - do it....just consider refinishing, repaint & refresh your tub with new colors & hardware (if it's tired looking).

  • teech08

    We are remodeling our bathroom and would like to keep our cast iron tub. It needs to be reglazed. My husband has been researching and he has found a lot of negative feedback about reglazing. The main issue is that it doesn't last. Anyone have any thoughts on this?

  • flowersong

    FYI, Never EVER use CLR on porcelain (in case that wasn't clear in an earlier comment). It will etch the porcelain irrevocably. (Read CLR's fine print.)

  • HU-486497702

    I have had my bathroom remodeled about five years ago. wanted everything new . bought a plastic tub. a mistake. it absorbed stains . it looks off white now . Its seems flimsy. its not the cheapest tub either. so now I'm remodeling another one of my bathrooms and I'm keepkeeping the old cast iron tub. I won't make that mistake


  • Manda Malice

    Never replace a cast iron tub! Acrylic and fiberglass only have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years but a cast iron tub is a lifetime product. It can be refinished and last another 20 years. If a contractor or plumber tells you, you have to replace it, get a second opinion!

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