Facing challenges installing our antique clawfoot tub for the first time was a real reality check and we had to improvise in many ways!
In the last blog, we shared how we installed our antique cast iron sink in the kitchen. Now we couldn’t wait to also get our antique clawfoot tub set up in the bathroom!
DRY FITTING ANTIQUE CLAWFOOT TUB
Nate worked on dry fitting the tub and had the bathroom flooring exposed and showed the plumbing pipes underneath it. The flooring at that time (and well, even today) was plywood. Once we figure out what type of flooring we plan on using, then we’ll remove everything from the bathroom. That way we can install it on our own. Since he is also able to hook up the plumbing by himself. What a relief!
He shared the plumbing for the drain, hot and cold water pipes, and the drain for the AC. That one was connected to the bigger drain.
There were some things we needed to consider and do before we installed the clawfoot tub for the first time though. It had been like six months since we had a real tub! We were still using that kiddie pool the whole time! I still can’t believe we did that for that long!
If you’ve been camping, backpacking, and traveled simply you may be able to relate. I mean we were literally taking bucket showers overseas! If you can relate, maybe these kind of living conditions would not be that big of a deal to you. But maybe for the normal modern American, it might be a little sketchy! I get it.
Yet for us, even before we moved to Texas, where we currently live, we were living in Korea. It was very typical to have a wet bathroom to shower in. So we are a bit more used to just adapting to our environment.
TEMPORARY VINYL FLOORING FOR BATHROOM
Before we decided to put the clawfoot tub in the space that we planned for it. We wanted to get some temporary vinyl flooring down in the bathroom first. Especially with the water splashing and you know how bathrooms get wet, we wanted to put something on top of the plywood.
Until we had the chance to actually get to the flooring. Whether we decided to install tile or hardwood floors. We still haven’t decided on that yet either! So we’re glad that we put that temporary vinyl flooring in because we’re still using it to this day!
Nate made a template from cardboard and cut out spacing for the plumbing pipes so that the vinyl flooring could fit over them. Just a little temporary vinyl flooring, as cheapy as it kinda looks, went a long way. It certainly did look a lot better than the plywood floors that is for sure!
The fake temporary vinyl flooring looked really good after Nate finished installing it. At this point, it was nice to see any other type of flooring besides plywood! It looked really pretty and was definitely much better. We were both in agreement with that.
Now he was working on dry fitting the clawfoot tub with the plumbing. Previously we did dry fit it into the space to make sure we had the right dimensions that it would fit in. Now we wanted to make sure we had all the plumbing connected right. And well, yea, we ran into a hiccup! Of course, renovations never seem to go as planned so when you are renovating, plan for the unexpected! At least as best as you can!
Facing challenges installing our antique clawfoot tub for the first time was really surprising, but we made it work somehow.
UNABLE TO ATTACH CLAWFOOT TO BROKEN BRACKET
We are actually on our third clawfoot tub right now. We’re going to go through all the details of that throughout our progress. But, the first one we bought was from a local business on Facebook Marketplace. They find antique clawfoot tubs and restore and refinish them. We found the perfect one at their shop. So we thought.
But, when we brought it home and worked to install the actual feet, we noticed that one of the four brackets on there was broken off. It was something we obviously didn’t do. First of all, it would be hard to break off a chunk of cast iron anyway. But it was painted, so we knew that when it was restored and refinished, it was just painted over and not repaired properly. The guy that sold it to us said he would come out to weld it for us.
What Nate did so that we could at least dry fit the plumbing and try out the clawfoot tub, was he built a wooden block to hold up the fourth leg. He was hoping it would be pretty close to the actual height of the clawfoot so that we could use it.
I have a tip for you if you are on the market for purchasing an antique clawfoot tub. If you find someone that purchases them and restores and refinishes them so that you don’t have to do all that work. Just make sure that you check all of the sides. I mean, I think you should know that because it’s obvious to check all of the sides, but I think when that clawfoot is on those brackets, you may not really notice. Make sure to give it a good look so that you don’t run into the same issue that we did with that.
CLAWFOOT TUB PLUMBING
Nate had to also rework the plumbing so that our clawfoot tub could fit properly against the wall like we intended for it to. But for the time being though, we had it placed at an angle because that’s where the plumbing was lined up before we could push it back and get the plumbing right.
The plumber knew the type of tub (clawfoot) that we would be using and worked on the plumbing for that and did the measurements for where the plumbing should go through the actual tub. But that was something that Nate had to go back and redo though.
The plumber didn’t account for the extra space (about 7 inches) from the main plumbing pipe to the actual drain pipe in the tub. Hence the need to place it at an angle at first. The main plumbing pipe really should have been placed further back and closer to the wall.
Good thing Nate was learning how to get down into the plumbing and reconfigure things. This may come in handy for us in the future, especially since he would be able to handle this on his own. That way if we ever need to move things around, we at least have the knowledge and ability to do so.
In any case, it was so exciting to finally get the clawfoot tub in the bathroom so that we could have a real bath like a normal person!
Facing challenges installing our antique clawfoot tub for the first time helped us gain some very valuable knowledge for our future renovations!
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us, And establish the work of our hands for us; Yes, establish the work of our hands.
CHECK OUT OUR VIDEOS
Thanks for joining us on this journey! We hope that you will find inspiration watching us learn as we go while we’re attempting to renovate and rebuild this old small historic cottage mostly on our own. Stay tuned for more progress updates ahead!
You can also watch a video about this here.
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