Friday, November 19, 2010

When Picking the Right Clawfoot Tub Shower Enclosure, It is All about Location, Location, Location

Clawfoot tub shower enclosures not only add another facet of bathing functionality but also transform a solitary clawfoot tub into an item of vintage industrial art. The typical clawfoot tub shower set includes a tub faucet with shower diverter, shower riser pipe with shower head, shower ring and brackets to secure the shower ring to the bathroom’s ceilings and/or walls. It may seem odd but clawfoot shower curtains and curtain rings are generally not included within clawfoot shower sets and must be purchased separately. Purchasing and installing a clawfoot tub shower enclosure can be a rather daunting endeavor. The old real estate adage regarding the importance of “location, location, location” applies to the fundamental first steps of selecting the proper shower enclosure for your clawfoot tub.

Location Rule #1: The Shower Set You Choose Must Adhere to Local Plumbing Codes

The location of your residence may be the first consideration that narrows your clawfoot tub shower search. Plumbing codes are not universal across the United States. Plumbing codes are dictated by locally established ordinances. It is wise to consult the codes in your area, but some of the more common plumbing code requirements that may affect your selection are listed below.

Certified Lead-Free Faucet Laws
Arnold Schwarzenegger the actor may have saved the world by filling aliens, gangsters and terrorist full of lead in his movies but he has taken an anti-lead stance as the governor of the State of California. This year he passed a law banning lead from the construction of faucets and showers sold or installed in the state. The lead-free code has already been passed in Vermont as well and it is likely that similar laws will be adopted throughout the country over the next few years.

Anti-Siphon Plumbing Codes
Anti-siphon ordinances may require the tub faucet’s spout to be above the tub’s rim to prevent bath water from being drawn back into supply lines, possibly contaminating the water supply. Gooseneck faucets are popular because the mouth of the spout extends above the rim of roll top tubs, satisfying code in most areas.

Pressure Balance and Anti-Scald Plumbing Codes
Some locations may require pressure balance and anti-scald systems. Thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets are required to meet these code requirements. Thermostatic faucets have a feature that controls the flow of hot and cold water to ensure that the mix of hot and cold water flowing to the faucet’s spout and shower does not exceed a set temperature.

Location Rule #2: The Placement of Clawfoot Tub’s Faucet Holes, or Lack Thereof, Determines the Shower Set’s Faucet Type

Clawfoot tubs have either faucets holes drilled along one of the walls of tub, in the tub’s rim, or have no faucets holes at all. Clawfoot tub faucets are offered to fit each of these three configurations. There are, therefore, three basic designs of clawfoot tub faucets: rim mounted, tub wall mounted, and free standing. The sales of clawfoot shower sets are typically organized by these same groupings.

Clawfoot Tub Wall Mounted Shower Sets
The most common location for faucet holes for original as well as reproduction clawfoot tubs is within the tub’s wall. The distance between the faucet holes is also important and is often referred to as centers or center-to-center. Some faucets are designed rigid to accept only a specified center-to-center measurement whereas others are designed to accommodate a given range of centers.

Clawfoot Tub Rim Mounted Shower Sets
Double ended and slipper style clawfoot tubs often have faucet holes along the tub’s rim or deck. Faucet drillings along the tub’s rim is also a more common option for modern variations of clawfoot tubs. This option is popular today because faucets mounted along the tub’s deck do not extend into the bathing well. As with tub wall mounted shower sets, the distance between the tub’s faucet holes must also be considered with rim mounted shower sets.

Freestanding Clawfoot Tub Shower Sets
Many clawfoot tubs, particularly reproductions, are available without faucet holes. Freestanding faucets and showers are the most common options for these tubs. Freestanding clawfoot shower systems mount outside of the clawfoot tub which allows the beauty of vintage style plumbing to be on full display.

Location Rule #3: The Location of the Clawfoot Tub Determines the Required Shower Ring Mounting Brackets

Clawfoot shower enclosures are not capable of standing on their own and therefore must be supported by mounting them to bathroom walls and/or ceiling. Adjustable wall and ceiling braces are typically included within clawfoot shower sets. These brackets are intended to address common shower enclosure installations. Please email our technical staff at if your tub’s location adds unique wall and ceiling support mounting considerations.

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