Plumber: Old-style tub for new bathroom

Ed Del Grande
Tribune News Service

Dear Ed: We’re building a new master bathroom and my wife wants a freestanding cast-iron bath, like the old claw foot tubs. I have been checking the Internet and it’s getting a little confusing. Plus, I really would like to see some tubs in person to help decide. Can you please point me in the right direction with some thoughts on choosing a traditional-type tub?

John, Ohio

Dear John: I receive a lot of questions on traditional cast-iron tubs. The choosing process can be hazy because of all the design variations out there. So, I like to break down the choices to three basic categories. Once you know the type of freestanding cast-iron tub you like, focusing on that one category.

Here are three basic types:

■Actual refinished vintage baths. These are very old claw foot-type tubs that have been refinished. If these tubs could only talk …

■New copy of a traditional tub. These tubs have copied the older designs, but they are brand-new, fresh from the factory.

■Modern type freestanding. These are vintage-looking cast-iron tubs with modern design twists. A bottom base in place of feet and a slip-resistant floor lets the past meet the future.

Final note: Even though we’re talking about freestanding tubs, these fixtures can be pricey.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit or write