Monday, February 21, 2011

Refinishing the Clawfoot Tub

When we were originally looking to buy a house, Dave had one item on his wishlist - a clawfoot tub. We were quite happy when we found our house with its original clawfoot tub - even if it had suffered some horrific refinishing attempts in the past. At one point the inside of the tub had even been painted with wall paint! (One day I will take the time to dig up photos of the original bathroom including its pea green walls, peeling lino floors, wisteria vine shower curtains and grey cabinets...)

We attempted to refinish the tub when we renovated the bathroom the first time 5 years ago. We found a electroplating company to restore the chrome on the tub feet. Dave spent days sandblasting the old paint off the outside of the tub and re-painting it with a black marine enamal. At this point the tub was turning out amazing. While stripping the paint Dave even uncovered the original date stamp on the tub from 1910!

Then we hired a contractor to refinish the inside of the tub with an epoxy enamel product and this is where things went wrong. Long story short, after Dave and the contractor were unable to agree on the quality of the finish after three attempts (the contractor refused to fully remove the old chipped finish before applying the new finish), the contractor kindly offered to fully refund our money so that he would never have to hear from us again.

Needless to say the finish on the tub did not last more than 6 months and we are once again faced with refinishing the tub. This time we have done extensive research and believe that a shop-applied baked porcelain enamel product is the answer. We have found a contractor who has been refinishing tubs for over 10 years, provides a 5 year written warranty and has promised to remove ALL the old finish before applying the new porcelain.

The tub will leave this week for three days of sandblasting and two days of baking in the oven. Hopefully when it returns we will have a shiney new 101 year old tub!


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