There are plenty of options for bathtubs nowadays. There’s chromotherapy, hot zones, whirlpool, and Japanese soaking tubs to name a few. But if “less is more” is your practice when choosing furniture and fixture, then a cast iron tub might just be your best option.
Designer Leanne Ford says soaking in a cast iron tubs give a warm feeling and a classy bathing experience, so those you find in old homes are worth keeping. Just a little modern fix and refinish will make it more beautiful and functional. Besides, refinishing them will actually cost lesser than replacing them.
Retaining these vintage tubs also preserves the story of a home. Brent Hull, a historic preservationist, makes sure he keeps the story of each home he works on, so he has extensive experience when it comes to working on cast iron tubs. He says that almost all of the houses he worked on have cast iron tubs, which were very common in the 1880s until the 1950s.
Cast iron tubs are made of pure iron and covered with porcelain enamel. They usually weigh at around 300lbs. They are thick and heavy, so installing and maintaining them is not easy. Though these tubs last for decades, Hull points out that the most challenging thing about these tubs is their susceptibility to rust. He suggests refinishing the tub with epoxy when the exterior becomes worn and cleaning it with products that don’t contain bleach or other harsh chemicals when they’re restored, as such cleaners would damage the epoxy.
A vintage cast iron tub, just like any other antique find, would, of course, be a bit heavy on the pocket and hard to find. Amazon, eBay, and craigslist would be your definite sources for the tub you’ve always wanted to have in your own home.