Home>Discussions>BATHROOMS>Is it safe to put a cast iron claw foot tub in a second story bathroom?
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michellehelenec
Is it safe to put a cast iron claw foot tub in a second story bathroom?

We purchased a 3 story 1905 Foursquare in Tacoma, WA. The house was "updated" probably in the late 70's stripping the historical integrity away from many of the rooms. The worst rooms are the bathrooms, and I'd like to restore them back to period finishings. (On the second floor)

I recently found a claw-foot tub, and pedestal sink set, in great shape for a great price. Seller says the tub is 400-500 lbs. I know that there had to be a iron tub in the house at some point, but it is not clear where the old tub originally was because I believe the floor plan has been modified.

How can I find out if the tub can be supported? Where do I start?

Thank you for any suggestions ahead of time!

HoustonRemodeler
Re: Is it safe to put a cast iron claw foot tub in a second story bathroom?

The John Bridge Tile Forum has a floor joist deflection calculator which will tell you if your floor system is stout enough for tile. If it can hold tile, it can most likely hold the tub too.

Have you ever lived with a claw foot tub? Or is this a romantic idea. I think they are horrible to take a shower in. Just my 2 cents.

keith3267
Re: Is it safe to put a cast iron claw foot tub in a second story bathroom?

When you calculate the load, don't forget that the tub holds between 30 and 40 gallons of water at 8 pounds per gallon (240-320 lbs.) plus the occupant (bather).

Mastercarpentry
Re: Is it safe to put a cast iron claw foot tub in a second story bathroom?

I'd be concerned with two things:

1- Are the joists intact and strong enough? Plumbers have been known to hack away lots of wood to make room for pipes so a good inspection is in order which may require opening up that floor to do.

2- Will the feet be located near joists? I've seen localized sagging of the flooring/subflooring when legs were in mid-span and the floor structure had gotten wet at some point (likely in a bath).

It's a personal preference thing, but for a period-correct restoration this would probably have been the original type of tub, though copper tubs were still used in '05. Yes, stepping over the side can be an issue but for a long hot soak after work they still haven't matched the comfort of these, a fact which a lot of folks are now rediscovering. If you buy used be sure everything is rock-solid as getting new legs or welding cracks are very major headaches you don't need.

Do be aware that a lot of the originals take an oddball 1 3/8" drain system and may have weird faucet spacing and thread sizes. They were made to old standards which aren't standard anymore. You can still get all this stuff but only on the web or at plumbing suppliers- asking at big-box stores will only get you bewildered looks from the floor sales help or the wrong parts :p

Phil

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