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What are the Pros and Cons of Using a Cast Iron Bathtub?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 November 2016
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A cast iron bathtub can add elegance and heat retention efficiency to a bathroom, and it is an extremely durable and heavy duty unit that will last years, if not decades. Like other types of tubs, the cast iron bathtub will be good for some homeowners, but not the best choice for others. These tubs tend to be extremely heavy, so if the tub is going to be installed upstairs, getting the tub in place can be a difficult issue. The floor of the bathroom may also need to be reinforced to handle the weight of the tub.

The weight of a cast iron bathtub is perhaps the most significant drawback, and it can make installation, maintenance, and durability of the bathroom floor a problem. These issue can be resolved, though the process can be difficult. Installation, for example, should only be done after the floor has been determined to be strong enough to support the cast iron bathtub, which may mean a new floor may need to be built. Moving the tub can be a difficult task that will require several people, though once the tub is in place, there is little chance of the unit moving or shifting during use. If, however, plumbing issues arise and the tub needs to be moved, the repair efforts will be more significant.

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The advantages of the cast iron bathtub go beyond just durability. The classic look of a cast iron bathtub, especially a claw foot model, is highly sought after, especially to fit the aesthetic of older homes. Claw foot tubs feature ornate feet that support the tub, keeping the bottom of the tub off the ground and improving the overall appearance of the tub. Claw foot tubs do tend to be more expensive than other cast iron tubs, however, and like other cast iron bathtubs, a claw foot tub is susceptible to chipping when the enamel that coats the iron is impacted.

When chips form in the enamel, the black iron beneath will be exposed. Iron is generally susceptible to rust, and since the tub is likely to be wet much of the time, rust can become a problem on tubs that are excessively chipped or damaged. Using a high-quality shower curtain can help prevent chipping and rusting, though hanging such a curtain around the tub can also be difficult, as the tub itself features no uprights or rods that can support a curtain.

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