Old Stone House

Installing the Tub – Part One

August 10, 2006

Filed under: Master Bathroom @ 9:28 am

First let me note that when installing a cast iron tub, it is important to note that the tub is made of CAST IRON. As such it is heavy. Dissuade yourself from wearing flip-flops and smoking cigars before you lug the tub up the stairs and sideways through the bathroom door, as you may encounter some obstacles. We, and my dear friend Rudy, speak from experience.

Soon after the pipes froze, we started trolling ebay for a set of faucets for our future tub, and with due diligence were awarded with a nice telephone-style fixture set (new) for $45. Ignorantly, I presumed the greatest expense was over.

It seems that our faucet set had 6” centres; however our tub had been pre-drilled for about 4”. The solution was in the purchase of a set of offset adapters – worth $55. On the upside, the adaptors did raise the fixture about 2” higher then originally projected, allowing for just a little more wiggle room in the tub. On the downside, they were worth more then the actual taps…

After buying the adaptors, we figured we were in the clear. That is until we started looking at the price of supply-line hardware. I was staggered to find that if I wanted to water to flow and drain, we would be spending upwards of $300 for pretty chrome pipes. There was no way we could afford to install chrome pipes at the present, so we agreed that it was unlikely that original tub installations of 80+ years ago used such pretty things, and as such there must be another way.

We never found any information. Seems everybody who installs a clawfoot tub does so with the aforementioned chrome plated pipe. Discouraged, I grabbed the offset adaptors, drove to the hardware store and played with copper and brass fittings for about an hour. Eventually, I won. The resulting collection of brass, copper, flexible piping and chrome shut-off valves cost $36. They aren’t very pretty, but affordable. As well, it is important to note that most of this plumbing is hidden from view, lodged in a narrow 3 inch cavity on the far side of the tub. The only way you actually would see the plumbing is if you are sitting on the toilet and craning your neck to see behind the tub. In which case, might I remind you that you are sitting on my toilet? Judge not.


  1. We were just given a clawfoot tub and are beginning the adventure of getting it refinished and ready for our bathroom. Our house is not that old, built sometime in the 1920s, as part of a railroad town. Your experiences have given me great courage to begin our project and provided some good words of wisdom to (hopefully) prevent any serious mistakes. I love history and historic buildings, so it is fun to see your heart in restoring your home.

    Comment by marchauna — May 7, 2007 @ 7:13 pm

  2. Marchauna,

    Glad that we could inspire – the more we do this the more we discover that there are very few things we need be worried about. And heck, if we screw something up, we just start again…

    Comment by Oldstonehouse — June 1, 2007 @ 2:10 am

  3. From what I can tell, the tub looks great. I and a friend took my old, rusty claw-foot tub out of the house (We made it to about the front porch) Where I sanded stripped and painted the bottom. Then we moved it back in, it is quite possibly one of the hardest things I have done, renovation wise. Moving a claw-foot tub is a 4 person job, problem is only 2 people can maneuver through doors and up stairs

    Comment by BWill — December 4, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

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