Monday, March 30, 2015

The Bathtub Saga

Last summer, we bought a claw foot tub off of Craig's list.  It had been used as a watering trough for horses for 20 years, but they didn't need it any more . . . for whatever reason.

I took a "before" photograph, but can't find it.  This is after lots of paint removal.  Like hours of paint removal.  I was told not to use a chemical stripper because it is nearly impossible to remove entirely off of cast iron.  So, I, and some of my helper children (in fancy church dresses, of course) used a wire brush to sand and sand and sand away the layers of rust and white, pink and lavender paint.

Eventually, we got it looking like this.  Whew!

You can see that there were lots of rough issues with the iron.  There were also some extra holes I didn't want in the tub any longer.

 I patched them up and sanded and sanded and sanded some more!

Then I sprayed on some primer to stop the rust!

The exterior doesn't hold water, so restoring the outside wasn't intimidating, just tedious.

 It was after we flipped it over that I began to sweat about my project.
Those holes that I patched from the outside, now needed to be beautified on the inside!

There were also some issues from being over 100 years old and living in a barn for the the last 20+ years.

 All of the nicks and scratches and rust spots needed to be carefully filled and sanded.
Then it sat because it was too cold to spray it outside and it would have been in the way inside the new house.

After the mud/tape/texture was done, my strong boys and a couple of their friends hauled the tub inside . . . where it has been sitting for a couple of months, pleading with me to get brave.

I'm not usually intimidated by DIY projects.  It may be hard, it may stretch my stamina or learning, send me to experts for advice or have me reading forums and watching YouTube videos, but this project was definitely intimidating!  
Everything I read or watched, every person I talked to, told me to forget it.  This was a job for professionals (very expensive professionals), not a girl who didn't know what she was doing.
But, alas, it had come down to the wire and I needed to bite the bullet and do it.
With borrowed tools and expensive paint, I began.

I used an epoxy primer and did several light coats until I thought it looked beauteous.

More deep breaths and it was time to paint.
I bought acrylic urethane automotive paint, which is what the internet suggested.
Everyone told me painting with auto paint is hard.
With a great deal of trepidation and a furrowed brow, I began.

And I did it!
A new (old) claw foot tub for less than 20% of the cost of a brand new one.

A restored claw foot tub will be so pretty in my new bathroom and it is deep enough to actually soak in the water.
WaaHoo!!  I did it!!

Now, no one ever gets to take a bath in it because I will bawl if it starts to flake or peel once it has water inside. ;)


  1. looks incredible! enjoy it, but if it does start flaking, know that whatever needs to be done, you CAN do it!

  2. Wow!! That is all. I am so impressed, and amazed- it looks super expensive!! My grandma had a deep tub like that, I'm pretty sure it was a claw foot tub, but it had been encased (weird). I remember as a child being a bit afraid because it was so deep- I'd love a tub like that now!

  3. Okay, WOW! Just wow. You are so brave and so talented! I am seriously impressed.