A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

About a claw-foot tub

I'm sorry we don't have 'before' pictures... it never occurs to us until halfway through a project, and 'during/after' is so much less satisfying than a decent 'before/after' pair - it's the directly opposite sentiment of getting the very first 'how much longer?' as we are slowing to turn into the destination's driveway.

Joanne asked for a tub for her birthday. It seemed like a reasonable request - we had two showers, and no tub. The older girls were unhappy about showering, and M had to wait for the dishes to be done before getting bathed (or 'sinked').

Step 1 - find a tub. We wanted something that fit the feel of the house, and a claw-foot tub seemed most right. After scouring buy'n-sells and Kijiji, we ended up finding a new acrylic model from the Sears catalogue (delivered right to 150 Mile House!) and sold ourselves on the benefits of acrylic over the classic porcelain-on-cast-iron: way lighter to move, won't stain, won't scratch as easily, doesn't retain the cold. (Conversely, it doesn't retain the heat the same way iron does., and we'll never be able to build a fire under it.) It was delivered within a few weeks, and I was able to carry the box (with tub and hardware) without help - only ~70lbs. The lightness made it very easy to install.

Step 2 - remove the shower. Sounds easy. Wasn't. Actually had to use my circular saw a few times.

Step 3 - move the toilet. Sounds hard. Wasn't. There were, admittedly, some unpleasant moments in the crawlspace.

Step 4 - sand and varnish the floor. This was necessary because the shower walls left visible footprints, and the holes for old plumbing had been filled. Then, a lesson was learned. Our floors had been coated with a satin clearcoat. I bought a satin clearcoat, gave it a stir (as indicated) and applied. It came out glossy, but only in some spots. I applied another coat - less patchy, but still glossy. Then the third coat went down, and when it dried, it was nice and flat -
by the door. It now graduates to a glossier sheen as it approaches the wall. Apparently (I went to the 'net of course - afterwards, of course) varnishes are naturally glossy, and the flatness is provided by a silica particulate. When they say stir, they mean stir. Not a once through like sugar in coffee, but truly stirred so the particulate is evenly distributed. (FYI - Not shaken either - puts bubbles in it). Only the most observant, nit-picky folks would even notice the gradual-glossiness effect, and I'll attribute it to floor-wear due to tooth brushing.

Step 5 - plumb in the tub. This was pretty straightforward, but I have some details worth sharing, if you ever plan on doing this yourself. There are several types of fittings for tubs like these: some mounted outside the tub, some on top of the rim, and some inside the wall at the foot (typical). Our tub came with pre-drilled holes in the wall of the foot, so we had to find a matching faucet set. (Joanne scored a huge find on eBay, and we payed maybe 25% of what it would go for in the stores.) The critical characteristic: the mountings were adjustable, allowing the faucet to be mounted on holes drilled with spacings from 3 3/8-inches to 8 inches. I had to improvise a bit - the faucet came with some hardware, and the tub with hardware, but neither included anything to support the back-end of the faucet so it could be held fast against the tub. I found some large washers to do the trick.

We now have a tub. We are absolutely buoyant!

1 comment:

  1. Looks lovely. I bet that first bath felt sooooo good. I've always wanted a clawfoot tub, I didn't know you could get them in acrylic. Sears catalogues are pretty handy when you live in a small town. ;-)