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M. Borders
Connecting Plumbing of Claw-Foot Tub

I have a couple of questions regarding connecting the fixtures of a claw-foot tub to modern plumbing:

1) How do you connect the 3/8" plumbing on the claw-foot tub to modern plumbing, which is either 1/4 or 1/2"?

2) How do you cap the shower line on the faucet that previously attached to an oval shower rod, which was removed during renovation? The inner circle of this line is 3/8" and the outer circle is 3/4".

Re: Connecting Plumbing of Claw-Foot Tub

Are your connections threaded or non threaded? Also, it would help to see what type of faucet you have.

Re: Connecting Plumbing of Claw-Foot Tub

The adapters and plugs you will need can be had at any plumbing supply house. Don't even ask at a big-box store; they will not have a clue and they will direct you to the galvanized fittings section as they run away. If the water supplies are exposed and you're picky, most fittings can be had chrome plated too but you have to ask for that or they will hand you plain brass fittings. Best is to take the faucet with you and tell them what you are wanting to do. Have them check the faucet washers and seats while you're there- many will do that for free and sell you washers and a seat grinder if you need that which you probably will with original faucets. Maintain these and they will last another hundred years at very little expense.

The real problem with these old tubs is the drain system which is an old 1 3/8 inch size that is no longer used. Be careful to not damage it, the replacement assembly is about $70 and not the best quality either. Better ones can be had at much higher prices. To tie that into your existing drain system is going to require another adapter fitting as well. Just because it can be done doesn't mean it's a cake-walk like modern plumbing.

One more thing to look for is that all that weight rests on 4 very small points so be sure your floor system is up to that kind of load. Full of water you're easily approaching 150+ PSI (not the PSF which most floors are rated with) on the flooring under those stylish feet and that is the main failure point I've seen with these other than the plumbing itself. Without adequate support, tiles will break and feet will poke through the floor causing much cussing to be heard!

Other than their being cold till warmed with water in the wintertime, these are some of the most comfortable tubs ever made and I love them. I'm not alone in that since there are now many replicas being made which are fitted with more modern fixtures but will also put a big dent in your budget when an old one won't. Just make sure the old drains and fixtures can be rehabbed and you're good to go!


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