Thursday, December 22, 2011

Clawfoot Refinishing Pt. 1 (of 40 I'm sure)

Who's got two thumbs and has been a bad, bad blogger lately?
This girl.
In my defense though, we've been working really hard on the bathroom but the stuff we've been doing (read: grouting, cleaning grout, etc.) just didn't warrant taking a bunch of pictures. Sorry but I like you guys too much to put you through that. I mean, you've seen one grout line, you've seen 'em all. Also, my Christmas to-do list rivals the Iliad or some other really, really long book I've never read.

This was the dining room table today and it has been this way for an embarrassingly long amount of time.

Maggie doesn't mind, though. She says keep the boxes coming!

But seriously, I wanted to wait until I had some actual news to share and pictures to go along with it so, without further oblig. "cat in box" pics, I give you:

The completely, totally, 100% tiled and grouted shower!

It needs a little caulking and a little cleaning and then it will be ready for the door and fixtures!

We've also been working on grouting the floor of the bathroom a little bit at a time and as I cleverly cropped out of this picture, we've also been popping up tiles left and right that weren't completely stuck to the floor and having to go in and painstakingly scrape out the mortar that's still on the floor so they will sit level and then re-apply the individual tiles back to the floor. It's a mess but hey, better now than after everything's grouted, right? Right?

And now, for something completely different:

See that? That, my friends is a clawfoot tub, sans claws that has been sitting in our driveway since, let's see....March? It makes me laugh a little to think that we were so sure of ourselves, we ran out and bought the tub about 9 months before we actually needed it. Sigh...home improvement.

Yesterday, my mom rigged up a little dolly out of some 2 x 4s and four wheels so she and I could pick it up and sit it on there and hopefully roll it to the back porch steps where Conan would help us move it inside so I could start working on refinishing the outside.
It worked like a charm.
It also gave us some much needed encouragement about moving this thing up two flights of stairs to the bathroom which, let me assure you, we were not looking forward to AT ALL. But now, seeing how relatively easy it was with just my mom, myself and Conan, I think we will be able to do it when the time comes. So, here where all of these words are is where a picture of that mighty feat would be if I knew how to properly operate a camera. Instead, I have a bunch of pictures so washed out they look like they belong on some teenager's myspace page. Psh, whatever cameras! And that's right, I just referenced myspace. I'm bringin' it back y'all!

Anywho, we got it inside with some pushing, pulling and taking one (only one) door off of its hinges.

Welcome to the laundry room my little footed friend!

As you can see, it's pretty rusty on the outside but all in all, I'm pleasantly surprised at how well this thing stood up to at least 9 months outside (it was outside at the place we bought it for who knows how long).

In case you're wondering, and I'm sure you are, the numbers on the underside of the tub are for the date it was made (5/17/1935), the length of the tub (5 feet in our case) and that last one, that's anybody's guess. Seriously, if someone reading this knows, please feel free to share with the rest of the class.

So, I got my plastic put over the door to the kitchen, got some handy dandy face masks and my even handier dandier orbital sander attachment I got from ACE Hardware and got to work.

I got most of my info about how to re-finish the outside of a clawfoot tub from someone's flickr account strangely enough. Even stranger, for some reason that person has made those photos and that information private so I'm just sort of going on a wing and a prayer now. Basically, it went something like
1) Sand til' smooth-ish with orbital sander (look at me, using an attachment, breakin' all the rules!)
2) Paint on one coat of Rust-Oleum High Performance Protective Enamel (my bad) instead we used Rust Oleum Rusty Metal Primer 
3) Repeat steps one and two until it's a smooth enough finish for your liking
4) Put final coat of whatever color you want on it

Yesterday, I began step 1. Here's how it looks now:

Maybe not a ton different but boy howdy, does it FEEL different. It's nice and smooth almost everywhere. I was even able to get that sanding attachment down into the lip a little bit so hopefully, aside from the feet, I won't have to do a whole lot of sanding by hand! Yay!

Next up, I finsih sanding and put my first coat of primer on. I can't wait to get a coat or two on there so I can see how smooth it's going to be. I had planned on painting it white but if I can't get it smooth enough, I'll probably go with a darker color that won't show the imperfections as well. Not sure, would a charcoal tub be too much black with the grout and the tile border? Thoughts? Suggestions?


  1. It should be pointed out that Katherine and her mom lifted the tub onto the dolly all by themselves and had it half-way up the porch stairs by the time I made it home for lunch. Guess that gym membership is paying off.

  2. Conan should do a little illustration to try out some tub colors.

    "Tub Colors". For some reason that rings like a damn bell!

  3. Just saw this re: painted clawfoot tubs and immediately thought of this post. I had no idea this was even a thing, let alone that it could look so good. Also, I now want to refinish a clawfoot tub in my NYC apartment. Thanks a lot.

  4. Thanks Jen! I hadn't seen that and in the past few days, I've been leaning toward black so that helps a lot to see so many different finishes. And regarding refinishing a tub in an apartment...ummmmmm...good luck? Seriously though, the hardest part is moving it around, the actual refinishing part isn't that bad.


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