Friday, November 1, 2013

DIY - Refinishing the Clawfoot Tub, Part 1

One of our biggest goals for updating the farmhouse
was fixing up the main bathroom upstairs.  We wanted to stay 
era appropriate, so we were thinking of a clawfoot tub.  But the bathroom isn't large enough for a shower AND a tub and I've heard that clawfoot tubs are inconvenient to shower in.  Conundrum.

In the end, we decided that maintaining the farmhouse
aesthetic and the charm of this 1911 home was worth the possible
shower inconvenience.  And it would look great.
(And isn't that what's most important??)

Looking online to buy a new clawfoot tub, I saw that
they are ridiculously expensive.  Somewhere in the ballpark of 1500-3000 (or more!), after you get all the hardware you need such as the shower conversion kit.

So naturally, I started looking on craigslist and
found an AWESOME American Standard clawfoot tub from 1914!
More specifically, August 17, 1914!  How cool was that??
And it was only 125 dollars.  Score!

the interior had some rust stains

the exterior really has some rust,
and the paint was chipping off
Although it wasn't in bad shape considering the age,
it was clearly going to need to be refinished before it would
go into the bathroom.  We started with the exterior.

We began by stripping the paint.  After extensive online research, we got a really eco/human friendly paint stripper called 'SmartStrip'.  You paint it on, leave it for a long time, and then remove it.  After we stripped the paint off, Clint took the power-sander to the tub to smooth it out.

 It was a bit of work (have I mentioned how much I love Clint, the best husband in all the land??), but finally the tub was prepped and ready for priming!

the tub, in all of it's natural cast iron beauty
For priming, we went with the RustOleum Professional Rusty Metal Primer and I slapped 2 coats on - just to make sure we didn't miss any spots that could potentially rust out at some point. I kind of really liked the color of the primer.

The next day, it was finally time to actually paint the exterior!
We had debated if we wanted to go all white or do some color, 
and we decided that we actually really liked the black and white look and stuck with that.  It has actually inspired our renovation ideas for the whole bathroom.

We chose the RustOleum Stops Rust Hammered Spray.
Needless to say, I was really looking for rust prevention!
I really liked the way it turned out - it has a cool finish that
isn't too flat, isn't too shiny, and is perfect for covering
not perfectly flat surfaces such as cast iron clawfoot tubs.

For some reason the picture quality really sucks
on this interface.  See a better copy here.
Even though it's the bottom of the tub (and thus will
not be visible once the tub is installed in the bathroom),
Clint thought it would be cool to highlight the brand
stamp, so I used some metallic chrome spray paint
left over from painting the tub feet.

I am really happy with the way the exterior turned out,
I cannot wait to get the tub in the bathroom.
That's it for now - stay tuned for posts on refinishing the inside of the tub, and fixing up the claw-feet!