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Thread: What do I do with this old bathtub?!

  1. #1

    Default What do I do with this old bathtub?!

    Hi Everyone,

    I am finally getting ready to redo the bathroom in my house. It's the original, and boy, does it need some help!

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    So I've finally picked out a toilet (Go Toto Drake!), fixtures, new vanity, new countertop, and new tile for the floor and tub/shower.

    The big problem I have now, and what I need your advice on, is what to do with this old tub?

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    It is a 5 foot tub. It's cast iron. It's in great shape. A new cast iron tub seems to be about $500-$700 in that size. It doesn't leak at all -- do I keep it or refinish it? There's a company in the area that does acrylic coatings, and I have seen their work -- it looks really, really nice. In fact, they guarantee their finish for 10 years.

    Sooooo having said all that, any suggestions? I know you need to take a sledge hammer to the tub to get it out -- I'm more concerned about getting the new one in! Those babies are HEAVY.

    Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Chris

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Depends on what you want to do with the rest of the bathroom. It doesn't look like it is in bad shape at all, but colors are outdated. If you were going to redo the whole bathroom, I would not settle for a refinished tub. The 10 year warranty in my opinion is a "tail light warranty" in reality.

    But refinishing can give you a fresh appearance on the tub ( and they can refinish the tiles as well) and get a few possibly several years good service...go ahead.

    If you do a major remodel, one option is to remove the tub, take it to a place that redoes the porcelain. But that tub is not such a gem that it is worth the cost of that.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    While a tub is easier to carry out in pieces, you don't HAVE to break it up to take it out, it's just often harder. You have to remove the wall tiles and substrate down to the studs, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #4
    One who lurks Basement_Lurker's Avatar
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    If you have seen that local refinishing company's work and are pleased with it, then it might be a real option for you if it's reasonably priced. Your tub looks to be in excellent condition, and unless you didn't like the aesthetics of it versus a fancier acrylic tub, you could put the money you would spend on a new tub + installation towards nicer fixtures than you were originally planning. The drake is a very basic looking toilet, but Toto makes some other very nice looking units as well as lav sinks. Or you could put in a sun tunnel and really get some natural light in there. Just something to consider as exotic fixtures can really make a bathroom reno stand out.
    Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me? -Jack Handy


    www.blackbirdkitchenandbath.com

  5. #5
    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    A tub refinish will be the same as a new tub, but the finish does not last as long.

    If you are the replacing tile surround at this time, then remove the tub and replace with the right color.

    If you are leaving the tile in place, then it may make sense for the moment to recolor the tub.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    As Terry said, what you do with the tub depends on your plans for the rest of the room. I have NEVER broken a bathtub to remove it, and I can usually take it out, by myself, faster and cleaner than it would have taken to break it up. In addition, by removing it in one piece, I KNOW how to get the new one in because you just reverse the process. A refinish only makes sense if you want to keep the old tile AND faucet. You do not have to install a cast iron tub, there are other options, as long as you do not buy a porcelain steel one.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimbo View Post
    Depends on what you want to do with the rest of the bathroom. It doesn't look like it is in bad shape at all, but colors are outdated. If you were going to redo the whole bathroom, I would not settle for a refinished tub. The 10 year warranty in my opinion is a "tail light warranty" in reality.

    But refinishing can give you a fresh appearance on the tub ( and they can refinish the tiles as well) and get a few possibly several years good service...go ahead.

    If you do a major remodel, one option is to remove the tub, take it to a place that redoes the porcelain. But that tub is not such a gem that it is worth the cost of that.
    Hey Jimbo!

    Thanks for the response. I am indeed going to redo the whole thing -- new sheetrock is going up, the tile on the floor is being ripped up, and all of the plumbing is going to be redone. It lasted 40 years, so it served it's time :-)

    Having said that, I think you are right, it's probably best to replace the tub.

    Can I ask you a quick question? I'm going to put marble up on the shower/tub walls, and the tile store suggested cement board in front of new sheetrock, and then install the tile onto the cementboard. Could I get away with waterproof sheetrock?

    Chris

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    While a tub is easier to carry out in pieces, you don't HAVE to break it up to take it out, it's just often harder. You have to remove the wall tiles and substrate down to the studs, though.
    Good point! I helped my neighbor demo his bathroom, and boy, that cast iron tub didn't come out easy, but we got it out in about an hour with a very heavy sledge.

    Chris

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Basement_Lurker View Post
    If you have seen that local refinishing company's work and are pleased with it, then it might be a real option for you if it's reasonably priced. Your tub looks to be in excellent condition, and unless you didn't like the aesthetics of it versus a fancier acrylic tub, you could put the money you would spend on a new tub + installation towards nicer fixtures than you were originally planning. The drake is a very basic looking toilet, but Toto makes some other very nice looking units as well as lav sinks. Or you could put in a sun tunnel and really get some natural light in there. Just something to consider as exotic fixtures can really make a bathroom reno stand out.
    Thanks! Those are some very good points! I'll check out the other Toto toilets.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    A tub refinish will be the same as a new tub, but the finish does not last as long.

    If you are the replacing tile surround at this time, then remove the tub and replace with the right color.

    If you are leaving the tile in place, then it may make sense for the moment to recolor the tub.
    Thanks Terry! I agree, it's probably best if I replace the tub. The drain system is probably out of code and could be updated in the process as well.

    I know this is from Home Depot (gulp), but any thoughts on the American Standard Americast tubs?
    Last edited by Terry; 03-28-2010 at 11:13 AM.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    As Terry said, what you do with the tub depends on your plans for the rest of the room. I have NEVER broken a bathtub to remove it, and I can usually take it out, by myself, faster and cleaner than it would have taken to break it up. In addition, by removing it in one piece, I KNOW how to get the new one in because you just reverse the process. A refinish only makes sense if you want to keep the old tile AND faucet. You do not have to install a cast iron tub, there are other options, as long as you do not buy a porcelain steel one.
    Thanks HJ! Thats a great point about getting it OUT of the house. Fortunately this one is only 5 feet, so getting a replacement in is do-able by standing the tub up on end to get it in, but otherwise there would be problems maneuvering in the hallway.

    Any thoughts on the Americast tub I replied to Terry with? I know it's from Home Depot and I know they usually don't carry good stuff.

    Thanks for your time.

    Chris

  12. #12
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    You don't put the cement board on top of the sheet rock, you use it instead of the sheet rock. Then you put a waterproof on top of the cement board, at least on the joints. When I did mine I waterproofed the whole enclosure.

  13. #13
    Plumber Winslow's Avatar
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    Americast is not very durable. I put one in then returned later (couple of years) to do a plumbing repair and the tub had scratches from the tennants putting a stool in for an elderly person. For durability cast iron is absolutely the best, it also retains the heat of the water better that fiberglass tubs. Americast are supposed to have a heat retaining quality. Although cast iron is a lot harder to install it is by far superior to americast and fiberglass. Don't even consider using a pressed steel tub.

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