The claw foot tub - old fashoned comfort or impractical romantic notion? Discuss

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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We have two claw foot tub bathrooms.  

We had plans to demolish and replace the claw foot tubs with "real" modern showers.   Not too trendy, just modern fiberglass.

Over the past few weeks, (and two summers) I've observed many people exclaim with delight upon seeing the claw foot tub.

So now we are faced with the question - keep it because people love it and you do, after all, have a Victorian era house so go with it - OR - don't kid yourself, they are nice to look at but people really want a clean, new shower.  

Thoughts?

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I love a tub full of bubbles esp. when inn-ing.  Usually don't have time for them back home in the real world.

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Arks's picture
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Old time looks are great. I love it. But I want a modern bathroom, with a shower.

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Well, seeing as someone resurrected this thread, I'll tell you what we decided.

We are getting rid of the clawfoot tub.  A few reasons.   1. The inside is not in great condition.   2. More than once, someone has grabbed the shower curtain to help them climb out of the tub and ripped the curtain down.  That just sounds like an accident waiting to happen, so, it's gone.

3. A shower in that room will make it very luxurious.   It's a big bathroom.   "Down the hall" so people are always disappointed when they see it.   But if it is the prettiest, biggest bathroom in the house, maybe not so bad.

I am switching out the wall mounted, antique marble sink with a Victorian style porcelain console sink.   Antique look, but won't fall off the wall.

gillumhouse's picture
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When my claw foot was the ONLY option (had a "telephone " shower attached), I did not have a shower curtain for just that reason. Himself would have used it to steady himself - although he could never have gotten in it - and I looked at a suspended from ceiling shower curtain rod as a disaster in waiting. I just put towels on the floor behind it and hoped people would be accurate with the spray.

seashanty's picture
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since someone decided to pull up this old thread to talk about what they sell ... let me mention that I use ringless or hookless shower curtains in all showers. Hard to explain, just look them up online. They have an opening that runs along the top that allows you to pull off a shower curtain even just moving slow in under a minute, same with putting them back up. Washing shower curtains between guests (yes) makes this so easy. And the ease of hanging them up in weird configurations is great.

 

 

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So you thought that it would be acceptable to SPAM? Makes me question the ethics of the company behind the product.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Lovely to look at but hell to get out of as one ages - then it moves to impossible.

Anon Inn's picture
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We have one in a bath attached to a bedroom we used to use on occasion, for overload guests.  Although the clawfoot is charming, fitting a shower is a real pain, cleaning the shower curtains very time consuming (taking off, cleaning, replacing - due to height), guests tend to splash water, and the floors are wood, plus, and this is most important, some older people have a very difficult time getting in and out of the tub.  

For liability reasons alone, I would consider replacing the tubs.

We have stand up showers only in our inn rooms, one fiberglass and one tiled with fiberglass base.  Both fairly easy clean.  Both shower curtains low enough they're easy to take down, wash, replace.  High mineral content in our water made glass doors a nightmare to clean. (we had glass in one of our own showers, not anymore!) 

oops - just noticed date of post! oh well, still my 2 cents.  Smiling

Tom
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OP was February 2016.  TBH, tell us what you decided to do!

TheBeachHouse's picture
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It's still on the table but on hold.  We decided for now that another bathroom needs our attention more immediately.

I don't like the tub.   But it's our cheapest room, so no apologies.  I really wish we could keep the tub and add a separate shower, but I can't make it work.

We have one room on the first floor and we rent it often to people who can't do stairs.  So we are ripping out the (regular) tub to put in a handicap access shower.  

gillumhouse's picture
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IF and when you decide to get rid of a claw-foot tub, contact and antique dealer first. Some places those things bring $$$$ IF you have as Granny put it - 2 men and a little boy to lift it.

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For me personally it would be a real chore to get in and out of a claw foot tub anymore much less clean one. So the final decision is yours. For me..I'd get rid of them..but that is meSmiling

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you can get claw foot tubs with shower screens which I personally think is safer for guests and we have a grab rail on the other side - but it is high for the room attendant to get into to clean.

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My husband loves our claw-foot which fits in this style house.  It has a floor to ceiling grab pole in the middle of the front side and he made a step, that slides under the tub.  We hung the curtains so they would open from the pole to each end of the tub.  Plenty of room to move, reach for towels, and something to hold while getting in and out.  We'll see if guests find it easy or too difficult.  

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Good solutions!  Forgot to mention that my dh also installed extra support brass chains at either end of the overhead brass shower ring that attached to a hook that was in a solid beam in the ceiling. We could picture someone grabbing the curtains for support and pulling the whole shower assembly down. Yikes! 

We couldn't find a grab bar that would work well in our bathroom situation.  We did have a narrow, sturdy table between the shower and the sink which folks could use to stabilize themselves as they stepped out of the tub.  That also works very well.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I like what he did. That would make all the difference in the world - something to steady oneself is wonderful.

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We kept only one of the 3 claw foot tubs and had it refinished when we renovated our house, but it does have the old brass shower ring with a stand up shower.  The large porcelain shower head is fantastic! We had many guests comment on how much they loved it since it delivers a shower much like the popular rain head showerheads. (But we did have to replace it as guests monkeyed around with the tilt and at some point it gave up.)  And, soaking in a deep claw foot tub is wonderful as it retains the heat better than modern tubs. (And my toddler granddaughter loves "swimming" in it. haha)

However, it is a challenge for older people to step up into it, and even with the shower curtains and liners, there's more risk of water on the floor because the curtains encircle the tub. Sad 

I stayed at a B&B and my room had a stunning bathroom with a claw foot tub.  It was very narrow with a handheld shower. Not my favorite bathing experience.  Also, stayed at another place with a claw foot tub with overhead shower and the bathroom had the original wood floors. Signs everywhere about avoiding water on the floor, etc. Also, not my favorite bathing experience.

I would say if one of the draws is to stay in a historic property for your place, then keep it. If you get a lot of the Senior crowd or folks that need easier access, you might want to re-think it.

 

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I think as well it depends on how many rooms you have ie  we have 11 rooms and only 1 has a tub so lots of choices for the less mobile 

gillumhouse's picture
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For 10 years the claw-foot with the hand-held shower was the ONLY option - it was in the only bathroom and was original to the house. In 2006 we created the new bathroom and moved the claw-foot to that private bathroom. it was replaced with a 60 inch fiberglass shower. The new bathroom, in addition to the claw-foot, has a 48 inch shower stall. IF you can possibly fit a separate shower stall into the one bathroom I would do that. IF not possible, I would suggest adding grab bars at the claw-foot walls. Even regular tubs are interesting to get out of these days. I was in a hotel on city business recently and getting out of the tub after my shower was a challenge - wet feet, slick floor (even with bathmat), and nothing to steady myself while one leg is getting out.

This is something young, agile people do not think of. I know I did not until I reached the bad knees - brittle bone stage. Shower curtain rod is too high and do not want to pull it down on me and the strength of the towel bar they put IN the shower is uncertain.

Re the claw-foot - this is good for when we have families because they can bathe the kids in it. Also, our tub is the large size, big enough for 2 as long as they do not put too much water in it (displacement causes over-flow disasters).

Morticia's picture
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Who's your market? Oldsters are going to want that easy shower.

We stayed at a place that had a claw foot rub that had so many directions for use and nothing to hold onto to climb in and out that even 8 years ago we were stumbling around trying to get in and out.

The hotel we usually stay at in NY just ripped out the standard tubs and put in tub size showers. So much nicer!

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TheBeachHouse's picture
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Ha, ha. My family had a claw foot tub with hand held shower in our only bathroom as a teenage.   I'm afraid I  carry a prejudice because I really REALLY wanted a shower in the house!

The market is the cheapies.  This is our least expensive room.   So, generally younger people.  The elders go for either first floor or the view of the third floor.

 

seashanty's picture
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I love claw foot tubs. Love a tub really of any kind. I had one clawfoot tub and had the shower attachment with piping surround and shower curtain. There were people who loved it. I had one tub with shower that had a huge tile base built around it and you had to step up and in. I suspect there's an old clawfoot tub underneath.

IF it has not condemned the guestrooms to plague room status, and might even have a following, I'd leave them. Or is the hand held shower an issue?

I'd definitely leave the one with the standup shower alone that is in good condition. I'd make sure there is a grab bar for ease of getting in and out. 

 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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The best part is, by realizing that the tub can stay, we are saving probably $10,000.  Instead of a full bathroom gut and rebuild, we will just replace the sink, toilet, mirror and paint and it will be easy(er).

The sink is an antique.  Real marble attached to the wall.   It has stains and I don't like wall hung sinks - they scare me.   So we will replace it with a sink that only LOOKS like an antique.

Our best guess is that this is the original bathroom to the house - put there as an addition when plumbing came to the world.   the original kitchen is beneath it.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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P.S. One has a hand held shower and is under a roof line, so no room for a stand up shower.  The other has the stand up shower attachment and it is in good condition.

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