Black Clawfoot tub - Juniper Home

Black Clawfoot tub


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I’ve always loved big clawfoot soaker tubs. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a good deal on Craigslist and I found this big, pretty one for only $200! I had to drive up to Prescott to get it (about two hours), but the drive is gorgeous and it was nice to have an excuse for a little road trip.

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The inside enamel is practically perfect, but the outside of the tub could use some work (really, just a good clean up and some paint). I mostly need to figure out the hardware and what I’m going to do for the tub’s plumbing. I’m obsessed with Jenna Lyon’s tub and hardware. 

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The new tub is going in the bathroom under the stairs, next to the playroom. It’s where we bathe the girls and it’s the bathroom that guests will likely use, since it’s closest to the living room and kitchen. You can also sort of see right in to the room from the entry if the bathroom door’s open. I’d love for it to be a pretty room, but there’s a ton to do!

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We’re going to just list the double vanity on Craigslist and get it out of there. I’ve got some fun ideas for a single sink and new tile for the floors and walls.

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The HUGE tub is going to be a nightmare to remove and haul away. The nice guy who helped remove our well is coming back out to help with this one!

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If we can salvage it, I’ll happily donate it, but I’m not sure even ReStore would want the tub. It’s so huge.

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The new tub is 60″ long, which is just about perfect for the space. I can’t wait to get it in there! I’ve been dreaming of black for the outside of the tub, but I’m thinking a super, super dark green or blue would be pretty too.

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FJ Interior Design

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Creative Homebody

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House and Home

Do any of you have experience with fixing up an old clawfoot tub? Any tips would be very appreciated!!

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38 thoughts on “Black Clawfoot tub

  1. Use a radial sander to remove rust/paint on the exterior. Rustoleum's appliance paint wears really well on the exterior. Never, ever do the epoxy paint resurfacing on the interior. I used Miracle Method and regret it to this day – it's too delicate and temperamental for wear and water that a tub gets. If the interior needs some work, get an iron remover at the hardware store to get iron stains out, and use Gel Gloss (One Step Cleaner and Polish) to polish and seal. Good luck!

  2. Nicole on Rehab Addict on HGTV does it all the time. Maybe give her an e-maill or facebook buzz and see what she says. From what I have seen her do on TV, she just gives it a really good non abrasive scrub and then sprays the outside with some Rust-Oleum.

    Can't wait to see the results.

  3. We just put in two vintage clawfoot tubs. One thing I didn't know is that many of the old ones leach lead. You can test them with lead tablets. We turned out having someone seal our tubs since we use them to bathe our kids.

  4. My husband paid to have ours completely resealed and painted, and it looks amazing. But let me tell you: they are a pain in the behind when it comes to actual use. They are far too small for my 6'3 husband. Be sure to have some sort of stand or table next to the tub so that guests can put their soap, shampoo, etc. Also, where you put the faucet depends on how you can set up the shower curtains. We had to buy 2 liners, and then I had to trim them quite a bit, as it's best to leave the it open at the back. If you don't do this, they'll close in on you while you shower. I also recommend getting the heavy duty liners with the magnets at the bottom. Claw foot tubs are pretty and they're nice for soaking, but not so nice for showering. Good luck!

  5. These are awful to shower in. I have one and the shower curtain issue is a pain. It's also not ideal to have to give your guests a tutorial on how to operate the diverter. They are pretty, but I wouldn't get another unless I was able to have a separate shower.

  6. Another tip – in most states it is against code to have the faucet below the tub deck. Check with a plumber before choosing hardware.

  7. I have done dozens of clawfoot tub restorations over the years and don't have anything to add to the above comments. I will say that it's very unsettling to shower in one and to be sure the legs are on completely – I know of two instances (one of them mine when a rambunctious 10 year old made a running jump into the tub) where one of the legs came off during use and the tub fell over. They're beautiful but not without their little issues.

  8. I have done dozens of clawfoot tub restorations over the years and don't have anything to add to the above comments. I will say that it's very unsettling to shower in one and to be sure the legs are on completely – I know of two instances (one of them mine when a rambunctious 10 year old made a running jump into the tub) where one of the legs came off during use and the tub fell over. They're beautiful but not without their little issues.

  9. Thanks for featuring my tub! You'll love it. I just soaked last night. There's nothing like it. The cast iron retains the heat like nothing else. Mine is 60" also which turns out to be perfectly sized. Just give it a wax with car wax every six months or so.

  10. Oh my gosh! My parents just pulled out their claw foot tub (it's been in the house for over 50 years!) and we couldn't find a buyer or someone to take it for free so we ended up breaking it up into pieces to get it recycled. But they live in a small town in central Illinois that clearly doesn't understand how hip they are! Can't wait to see what you do with it!

  11. I love when the claw feet are a different color than the tub.

    The dark blue one's fixtures are like what I ran into the first time I traveled through Europe in the 80s. It was such a handy set up. You could stand and shower but you could also sit down and shave your legs. I found it really usable.

  12. Jenny, I love the oil rubbed bronze towel hooks you are using above your bath. Do you know the source?
    Thanks so much and great post. We have two claw foot tubs in our house, one is restored and we love them both.

  13. Jenny, I love the oil rubbed bronze towel hooks you are using above your bath. Do you know the source?
    Thanks so much and great post. We have two claw foot tubs in our house, one is restored and we love them both.

  14. YAY for you!!!! I plan on getting a claw foot for the master bathroom and reglazing the outside black as well- I CANNOT wait to see you do it! I'm tempted to do other colors too, I actually had a friend who copper leafed her tub and it rocked! Good luck and great find!

  15. I reiterate the lead comments. I work in public health and we just had a case of lead poisoning in a family and could not find the source despite extensive testing in the home. Turns out it was the bathtub.

  16. All kinds of interesting feedback here. Can't wait to see what you learn in the process of restoring this one. You get so many readers that you can help spread the best tips. I love that folks are looking at ways to save what's old and make it new again. Looking forward to more on this one!

  17. We put a found claw foot in our master bath when we did our renovation. Did not restore it ourselves, we sent it out to be refinished. Did a black exterior and silver leafed the feet. It makes a beautiful statement paired with a large fireplace, unfortunately it's not really practical. Luckily we had space for a separate shower which my husband and I use. We have only used the tub a few times for the kids when they were smaller, but since it is in the middle of the floor, so no walls to contain splashing, the floor was always covered in water. Not good for heart pine flooring.

  18. I just refinished our clawfoot tub after refinishing it 10 years ago. It was super easy and looks great. I used the Rustoleum Tub and Tile Refinishing Kit. I believe they have it in black, also. If you did this, you have to use a respirator and the smell is super strong for a couple of days. I recommend doing it outside. I used a roller and a brush, but if I did it again in the future, I would just use a brush. The paint is an epoxy paint and self-leveling. If doing this on the inside of the tub, it is super slippery after it cures, so I used a no-skid polymer with the paint on the bottom of the tub to prevent falls in the future. Once you're done, you can't get water on it for several days. This is the only tub in our house. Three of us use it daily and the paint really holds up!

    We have a shower ring on ours, but in a larger size, and it works great. No complaints here. For shampoo bottles and such, I use the OXO shower caddy and hang it from the shower rod. Before this, I couldn't figure out a way to keep bottles in the tub.

    Be sure to use clear plastic furniture coasters under the legs if you have delicate tile! The tub with water in it is super heavy! Also, a friend of ours told us to polish all of our chrome fixtures, porcelain sink, and painted tub with car polish. It really helps keep it cleaner longer!

  19. This is going to be gorgeous! When I was 12 years old, my grandparents removed their old 1928 cast iron claw foot tub. My parents were building a home at the time, and they had the tub installed in my bathroom. They had it professionally glazed (because of the lead issue), and I picked dark green for the outside and white for the inside. I loved my tub so much!

    As other posters have said, it's unsettling to shower in a claw foot tub. There are always shower curtain issues, they're slippery as the dickens, and it's hard to step out after a shower without falling. And guests always had trouble figuring out how to use it. It was also difficult to clean around and underneath the tub. But it was so gorgeous, I didn't really care.

    If you're mostly going to use this tub to give your girls baths, you probably won't run into a lot of those problems.

    Now my parents are renovating their house after 20 years, and they just offered me my old tub to put in the master bath of my new house. Of course, I said yes! And crazily enough, I'm planning on having my tub painted black, too.

  20. If there are any marks on the inside of the tub, a Magic Eraser is the ticket! It takes a little elbow grease but I was blown away at what it buffed out and my claw foot tub looks brand new now!

  21. My tub isn't claw foot, but it is very old and I think it needs re-glazing. All of these comments have been super interesting! Jenny thank you for such a great post! I think I will be calling a pro. But I still want to learn as much as I can from you all. Happy tubbing!

  22. Jenny, if you do want to get it refinished (maybe to seal lead per some of the other comments), we just had A-1 Porcelain and Fiberglass (in Glendale) do our tub and they did a good job, and were super reasonable price-wise when I called around. Their site is tubnshowerDOTcom, worth a look if you do want to go that direction.

  23. We reused a claw foot tub from our main bathroom. The inside isn't perfect, but in good condition. I painted the exterior of ours matte black and love it. I sanded it with coarse paper to get better adhesion, then primed it with a metail primer (can't remember the name or brand). Then I painted it with matte Benjamin Moore Wrought Iron. This tub is in our master bath, so it doesn't get frequent use, but it has held up perfectly so far. Here's a link with more info:

  24. My parents were flipping houses before it was a 'thing'. They pulled a claw foot tub from a house and dropped it under a shade tree in our back yard, Made for the best 'kid' summer ever. My brother & I would grab a hose, fill it to the brim and lounge away many hot afternoons.

  25. We installed a gorgeous brass footed black clawfoot with hardwood rim in a remodel and gave ourselves lead poisoning. Lovely.
    Order the swab lead tests from amazon. We're trying to figure out if there's a reliable way to save our beauty.

  26. We solve the shampoo bottle problem by using a mesh shower curtain with pockets. I use 2 clear liners & the mesh to wrap around it; I use two outer curtains. As much as I hate them for cleanliness reasons, I got some plastic thingies b/c the floor is so slippery and getting out is such a pain. (I didn't use stickers, but some with suction cups, so I can take them off and clean both them and the tub.) We had a friend with a very serious back problem who wanted to stay in our house once when we were out of town – I was afraid to let her because it is so difficult for me, in perfect health, to get in and out safely. Finally, b/c ours is placed not flush against the wall, we had to Frankenstein together hardware when the first set wore out & was no longer available. Love the look of these tubs, but I would never have the claw foot as the only option again.

  27. Hi Jenny!

    Love the clawfoot tub and I'm sure you'll do a beautiful job refurbishing – the inspiration photos are all lovely! I'm always baffled by the ones that include a shower though, from experience I can tell you it's really impractical… my family has an old clawfoot with shower fixtures and you literally have to use sheets of plastic shower curtain inside of your (multiple) pretty shower curtains to keep the water in the tub. Baths are awesome, showers are very complicated – hopefully you only need it for baths and your problem is solved!

  28. When I was a little girl (about 5 years old) we had a claw foot tub just like this one (it had eagle feet) and the outside was painted dark forest green. We had a dog (a rottweiller) and everytime I would take my bath, she would put her hand on the side of the bath and lick my foot if I stuck it out. It's one of my favorite memory from my childhood (along with the fact that the same dog used to jump in the bath when it was empty to eat the soap bars…..for some reason, she really loved them).

  29. I recently restored an old claw foot tub using the rustoleum kit as well. So far it scratches really easy and I will have to repaint the inside. On the outside I used a strong primer and an automotive spray paint which worked great and is holding up beautifully.

  30. They are beautiful. We have one and found that like 72% of cast iron tubs, it tested positive for lead! Be sure to check your porcelain finish also.

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