Clawfoot Tub Restoration

Restoring Our Clawfoot Bathtub For The Solar Cottage

When we started designing the Solar Cottage, my dream bathroom was to have a clawfoot bathtub. This worked out perfectly for our cottage, since we wanted a farmhouse design, something easy to install, and would work with pier and beam foundation.

I asked my antiquing buddy, Cheryl, to keep an eye out for a clawfoot tub. She found one, and these are the pictures she text me:

clawfoot tub
clawfoot tub before
clawfoot tub exterior before
clawfoot bathtub-feet before

My first thought was, you’re out of your mind! That’s junk! Why are you bothering to even send me these pictures?! But Cheryl showed me some before and after pictures of the tub she had refurbished, and since she usually knows her stuff, I decided to give it a try. The good thing was I paid very little for the tub and there were no large dings in the porcelain, except for a few minor ones around the rim. Here’s the mess  I had to deal with once the dirt and leaves were removed:

Rust stains in the bottom of the clawfoot tub were the hardest to remove

Rust stains in the bottom of the clawfoot tub were the hardest to remove

More rust spots and crazy plumbing

More rust spots and crazy plumbing

Old plumbing Joe helped remove from the tub

Old plumbing Joe helped remove from the tub

Once the weird plumbing and debris were removed, it took a lot of hard work to clean the inside. I used Gojo Natural Orange Cleaner and Heavy Duty Pumice Scouring Sticks to clean out the dirt, stains and rust. After hours of scrubbing, I was pleasantly surprised how it shined up. Cheryl was right!

After working on the inside of the tub for many hours (over the course of several days), I transferred the tub outdoors to start on the exterior. The outside had lots of rust and peeling paint. I thought about having it sandblasted, but paying 200.00 for sandblasting was more than I had paid for the tub, and moving this big boy wasn’t easy. So, dressed in my makeshift hazmat get up, I started sanding with a belt sander and used sanding blocks where I couldn’t get with the belt sander. It was a tedious process, but I think it worked well.

Sanding away on the clawfoot tub-round 1

Sanding away on the clawfoot tub-round 1

Sanding on the clawfoot tub-final sand

Sanding on the clawfoot tub-final sand

Once it was nice and sanded, it took several cans of primer to give it a good coat . I used Rustoleum Professional Primer. I taped around the rim to keep the paint off the interior porcelain.

Final primer on the clawfoot tub-lookin good already!

Final primer on the clawfoot tub-lookin good already!

Year the clawfoot tub was made

It wasn’t until we moved the clawfoot tube onto the back deck of the solar cottage that I painted the exterior with the final coats of paint. I used Valspar Duramax for the exterior. The color was Cream In My Coffee. I wish I had gone a little darker on the paint color, because I wanted there to be more of a contrast between the interior porcelain and the exterior paint color. But all in all, I was happy with the paint. It went on with a sponge brush very smoothly. I probably did two, maybe three light coats.

The clawfoot tub on our back porch, covered from the elements. It stayed on the porch about 2 months before we were ready to install it.  Once we were finally ready for the install, it ended up looking like this:

The clawfoot tub on our back porch, covered from the elements. It stayed on the porch about 2 months before we were ready to install it.

Once we were finally ready for the install, it ended up looking like this:

Installing the Signature Hardware plumbing

Installing the Signature Hardware plumbing

clawfoot tub and bathroom complete!

clawfoot tub and bathroom complete!

I love my plumbing fixtures from Signature Hardware!

I love my plumbing fixtures from Signature Hardware!

bathroom+and+tub+complete
clawfoot tub side view

I’m super happy with the way the tub turned out! A big shout out to Cheryl for finding the tub and encouraging me to purchase it! The outcome was well worth the time and work it took to restore it.

If you’d like to see more of the solar cottage, click here to see our YouTube Channel!

Greetings from the Solar Cottage!

Karin