Dream of Soaking in a Clawfoot Tub in an Old House? Refinish It! But Check for Water Damage First

For people who like old houses, finding an old house that is in disrepair on the market can be like finding a diamond in the rough, especially when the house has a classic clawfoot bathtub. If you are one who prefers the charm and quaintness of an old home, your dream home may need some work in the bathroom before you'll be able to use the tub, especially if there has ever been water damage.

Restoring an old house back to the charming condition it was in when it was newly built can be one of the most thrilling yet monumental undertakings you may ever experience and well-deserving of a long soak in the refinished clawfoot bathtub. Here's what you need to know.

Hire an Expert to Refinish the Clawfoot Bathtub

Classic clawfoot bathtubs were made of cast iron and coated with porcelain. Over the year, the porcelain has likely rubbed off in some areas, exposing the cast iron underneath. If this has happened, there will likely be some rust to contend with before the bathtub can be refinished. Because of this, it's a good idea to hire a bathtub refinishing contractor to do the restoration for you instead of attempting to do it yourself. However, before getting the bathtub refinished, it's important to make sure the flooring is in good condition and the drain is free of leaks.

But First, Repair Water Leaks & Water Damage 

The most important part of restoring an old bathroom, especially when a heavy clawfoot tub is in the room, is to find out whether or not the flooring, subflooring, and joists have been damaged by water. There's no way for you tell just how many times water has infiltrated through the flooring and to the subflooring and joists from too much water splashing out of the tub or if the bathtub has a slow leak.

One tell-tale sign of water damage to joists is when there are water stains in the ceiling directly below the bathroom. However, the previous homeowner(s) likely painted the ceiling to prepare the home to be sold. Another obvious sign of water damage, such as from a slow leak under the bathtub drain, is if the bathroom floor has buckled or is sloping.

If this in not annotated on your home inspection report, hire a leak detection service or a water damage contractor to determine if there is water damage in the subflooring and joists and make repairs, if necessary, before moving forward with your bathtub refinishing. That way, you won't have to worry about the weight of the water-filled tub affecting the structural integrity of the bathroom flooring.