Friday, December 30, 2011

Add Vintage Flair to Wall Coat Hook Racks and Coat Hook Trees with Black Cast Iron Coat Hooks

For the DIYer, creating a list of New Year’s resolutions often also results in them adding to their already long list of home projects. For example, resolving to stay more organized in the New Year can add any number of projects to their DIY project list. While the project may be as simple as adding a conveniently located garment hook in a closet, it may also be more involved like creating a unique wall mounted coat rack or freestanding coat hook tree from scratch.

Whether the project is simple or complex, cast iron hooks should be considered when developing the project’s shopping list. Cast iron coat hooks are an attractive and typically more affordable alternative to solid brass and bronze coat hooks. Cast iron hooks are also available in styles that range from simple single and double utility hooks to large and highly decorative Victorian coat and hat hooks. Most cast iron coat hooks on the market have vintage designs based upon original antique hooks and are, therefore, excellent choices for DIY projects that have a period theme. A negative of cast iron hooks is that, unlike solid brass hooks that are offered in a wide array of finish options, cast iron coat hooks are commonly only offered with either a durable black powder coat finish or offered with natural or antique iron finishes.

Just in time for the New Year, Shop 4 Classics has added the latest selection of cast iron hooks from Antique Revelry. Antique Revelry’s cast iron hooks have vintage designs and have durable black powder coat finishes. Below, is a sample of Antique Revelry’s current selection of cast iron hooks along with a few ideas on how each hook can be used to help maintain organization in the New Year:

With a simple design common to antique coat hooks found in classrooms throughout the country, Antique Revelry’s School House coat hook is sturdy and affordably priced making it an excellent choice for wall mounted multiple-hook coat racks located in mudrooms and changing rooms.

In contrast to the School House hook, Antique Revelry’s Grand Victorian cast iron coat and hat hook is an extra large hook featuring an elaborate antique design. The Grand Victorian coat and hat hook is designed for display as well as utility. This antique coat and hat hook will add eye-catching vintage flair whether it is mounted individually on front foyer walls or used in sets to complete a DIYer’s custom-made coat rack tree.

Antique Revelry’s Fleur de Lis coat rack hook is the perfect decorative cast iron hook for the DIYer wanting to create a prominently displayed wall mount coat rack. This black cast iron coat hook features an ornate twisted double hook attached to a sturdy base cast in the shape of the ever-popular Fleur de Lis symbol. Enhancing the look, the Fleur de Lis coat hook mounts with machine screws from behind the base rather than with wood screws from the front. Mounting from behind conceals screw heads from view resulting in a refined look.

For DIY projects that call for a ceiling hook, Antique Revelry offers a truly unique rotating triple ceiling hook. This cast iron ceiling hook is an ideal solution for applications requiring items to be stored overhead like utility and laundry rooms.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Shower Enclosure Support Braces: A Thrilling Look At Shower Curtain Ring & Rod Support

Brace yourselves! Today, we are discussing shower enclosure supports. It is a thrilling subject that is sure to have you on the edge of your seat.

A shower enclosure brace usually consists of two or three pieces:
  1. The flange that attaches the brace to a wall or ceiling is called an escutcheon.

  2. The brace bar is a straight bar that is usually offered in an assortment of lengths.

  3. Depending on the shower enclosure, the brace may include a clamp to attach the brace to the shower curtain ring. Other shower enclosures assemble with the use of tees. Braces for these enclosures thread into tees at the ends of the enclosure and, therefore, no clamp is included with these braces.

The shower enclosure brace bar is designed to be cut with a tube cutter. The position of the shower curtain ring is adjusted by modifying the length of this bar. The brace bar is threaded at one end. Always cut from the end that is NOT threaded. Depending on the manufacturer, the bar may thread into the escutcheon or it may thread into the tee/clamp. The opposite end (unthreaded end) of the bar is secured with a set screw. Again, it will depend on the manufacturer whether the set screw is part of the escutcheon or the clamp.

Shower enclosure kits usually include two or three braces with the kit. Shower curtain rods may not include any additional support. If greater stability is desired, additional shower enclosure braces are available for most shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods.

The first thing that you should know before purchasing additional shower enclosure braces is that not all shower enclosure braces are the same. Shower curtain rings and rods are not governed by a universal standard that guarantees that all tubing is the same. If shower enclosures and rods aren't subject to industry standards, it then reasons that the braces required to support them also are not standardized.

Extra braces attach to the shower ring or rod with a clamp. Shower enclosures that assemble with tees include braces without clamps (as described above) but any additional braces for even these enclosures attach with a clamp. The clamp allows the brace to install almost anywhere along the length of the rod. Because the clamp attaches to the curtain rod and curtain rod tubing comes in different sizes, it is important to make certain the clamp fits the shower rod diameter. The most common tubing for shower curtain rods is 1" outside diameter. The tubing for clawfoot tub shower curtain rings is typically 7/8" outside diameter or 3/4" outside diameter.

While additional supports provide stability, it comes at a price. Their financial expense generally isn't significant but each additional brace clamped to the shower curtain rod creates another obstruction for the shower curtain. Shower curtain pins won't slide past a shower enclosure brace. If the enclosure only has two braces, the curtain can be hung split around one brace so that both ends of the curtain can then be pulled around the perimeter of the shower curtain ring to the opposite brace. If more than two braces are used, there may be sections of the curtain that do not move. Multiple shower curtains can also be used but this can result in gaps. Your goal should be to use as few shower enclosure braces as possible to prevent interference with the shower curtain yet still provide adequate support for the shower enclosure.

If all this talk about shower enclosure braces did not provide the adrenaline rush you anticipated, we still have not addressed irregular shower enclosure installations. Tall ceilings, vaulted ceilings, the absence of adjacent walls, skylights, windows, and other engineering predicaments can complicate the installation of shower enclosure braces. Many shower enclosure manufacturers offer adapters to solve shower enclosure brace installation problems. Angled ceiling adapters replace the shower enclosure brace's escutcheon to allow for vaulted ceilings. Couplers can be used to join two brace bars end-to-end to create a longer shower enclosure brace. Wall braces can be converted to ceiling braces (and vice versa) with the use of elbows. The thing to remember when solving shower enclosure brace installation problems is that there is no uniform code to ensure that every adapter will work with every shower enclosure brace. Check specifications and instructions carefully.

Shop 4 Classics offers shower enclosure braces and brace adapters for shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods from Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, Elizabethan Classics, and Cheviot Products. Visit Shop 4 Classics for our complete catalog of shower enclosures, shower enclosure braces, and shower enclosure brace adapters.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Floor Mount Freestanding Tub Fillers and Showers by Sign of the Crab

As another the New Year approaches, it is clear that freestanding bathtubs are one of the hottest trends in bathroom design and distinctive floor mount tub filler faucets and shower enclosures are freestanding tubs’ crowning jewels. Freestanding bathtubs are nothing new as for years antique inspired clawfoot bathtubs and pedestal bathtubs have been a stylish alternative to common built-in bathtubs. Evolutions in freestanding bathtub design, however, are making this style of bathtub so much more popular. A wide array of truly unique modern adaptations of the freestanding bathtubs is now being offered alongside clawfoot and pedestal style freestanding bathtubs. New modern style floor mount tub filler faucets and floor mount shower enclosures are also being offered in addition to vintage style clawfoot faucets and shower enclosures.


In keeping with the times, Sign of the Crab’s 2012 product line includes a greatly expanded collection of floor mount freestanding tub filler faucets and shower enclosures. Their 2012 freestanding faucet and shower line-up includes both vintage and modern designs. Their vintage collection of floor mount tub fillers and floor mount shower enclosures feature traditional designs inspired by original antique clawfoot tub faucets and showers. Sign of the Crab's vintage-inspired faucets and showers have porcelain accented lever and cross faucet handles and are available in all of their faucet finish options including oil rubbed bronze. For modern and Art Deco themed baths, Sign of the Crab added the Deco line of floor mount tub filler faucets. Featuring more angular designs and Art Deco style metal faucet handles, Deco faucets and shower sets are offered in all finish options except oil rubbed bronze.

Since inception nearly forty years ago, Sign of the Crab has been committed to quality and reliability. Every Sign of the Crab faucet is tested under water with air at twice the household pressure to ensure that they are of the highest quality on the market. Quality was a key reason why Shop 4 Classics began offering Sign of the Crab’s faucets and fixtures almost ten years ago. Shop 4 Classics now proudly offers Sign of the Crab’s complete catalog of kitchen and bath fixtures and plumbing products.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Repairing Faucet Leaks and Replacing Faucet Handles: Clawfoot Tub Faucet and Bathroom Sink Faucet Maintenance

In a tight economy, we think about making do with what we already have for just a bit longer. We might have replaced a leaky clawfoot tub faucet in a thriving economy but now we look to repair it. In better times, the wear and tear on an old bathroom sink faucet might have convinced us to replace it with a shiny new antique reproduction sink faucet. In today’s economy, we budget more conservatively. We appreciate the charm and warm patina of a vintage faucet. If only it weren't for that persistent drip or broken handle, the current faucet would be just fine.

Repairing an antique faucet can be financially rewarding as well as a source of pride. Finding faucet repair parts, however, can lead to frustration and a great waste of time and money if not prepared. Faucet parts are not universal. Although they may superficially appear to be the same faucet, the internal parts aren't necessarily interchangeable. The mechanical differences can make locating parts to repair an old faucet a challenge.

The most common cause for leaks is a worn out valve. Most antique faucets employ compression valves. Gradually, manufacturers switched to lower maintenance ceramic disk valves. Some faucet manufacturers, such as Strom Plumbing, offered compression valves and ceramic disk valves simultaneously. With the exception of the valves, the faucets are identical. However, the valves are not usually interchangeable; at least not without a conversion performed by the manufacturer. To determine if a valve is a compression valve or a ceramic disk valve, uninstall it from the faucet and inspect it. Compression valves have a hard rubber washer at the bottom of a stem assembly. When the washer wears out, the valve leaks and the faucet drips. Replacing the rubber washer is frequently the only repair required for a compression valve. Ceramic disk valves rely on rotating ceramic disks inside a cartridge. Replacing the cartridge will remedy drips for a faucet with ceramic disk valves. There is no single compression valve or ceramic disk valve design however, so determining the type of valve employed is only part of the equation.

Recognizing which valve requires repair is another piece of the puzzle. The valve for the hot water handle and the valve for the cold water handle are not always the same valve so it can be important to know which valve is leaking. Determining if a faucet is dripping hot or cold water isn't always obvious. One at a time, turn off the water at the supply to determine which valve is leaking. If a clawfoot tub faucet has two outlets (i.e., tub filler and shower), it will also have a diverter valve to switch between functions. If the clawfoot tub faucet no longer switches between tub filler and shower, or if both are engaged simultaneously, replacing the diverter valve should solve the problem.

In some cases, the direction that the faucet’s handles turn can be a factor in locating a replacement valve. Generally speaking, faucet manufacturers offer a choice of handles for the same faucet. Lever handles usually turn in opposite directions but, depending on the manufacturer, cross handles sometimes turn in the same direction. If your faucet looks identical to another faucet but the handles are different, there may also be a difference in valves. Replacing a valve while ignoring the difference in handle styles could result in a handle that turns in the opposite direction after repair (e.g. counter-clockwise vs. clockwise). See "Vintage Faucet Soap Opera: As The Handle Turns".

The valve stem holds several useful bits of information that are important to locating a replacement part. Like Lucky Charms cereal, valve stems have many shapes. Square, star-shaped, and gear-shaped stems are common. The points on a star-shaped or gear-shaped stem are referred to as "splines". The number of splines can vary. The diameter of the stem can also vary so measure this as well. Often the stem is partially visible so it is finished to match the faucet. Check the size and shape of the valve stem, number of splines, and finish to help ensure a match.

Valves are the part most frequently repaired or replaced but faucet handles can also be replaced to restore a faucet. If valves aren't universal it would figure then that the faucet handles that fit it also are not universal. Installing a faucet handle with a gear-shaped opening on a square valve stem defines the old axiom of fitting a square peg in a round hole. Assuming that the handle fits the stem, there may still be an issue if you switch from cross handles to lever handles or vice versa. As described above, the handles on a faucet with lever handles turn in opposite directions but the same rule of thumb does not always apply to cross handles.

Knowing your faucet's manufacturer and model number will provide a huge advantage. It may not be enough for antique faucets but it certainly provides a great start. Faucet manufacturers don't typically print their name or model number on the faucet. If you can't recall this information, didn't record it, or can't locate the original documentation, identifying a faucet online that looks similar can help but provides no guarantee. The clues provided above can be used in addition to (or in lieu of) the manufacturer name and model number to help identify repair parts.

Shop 4 Classics offers Strom Plumbing by Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, and Elizabethan Classics clawfoot tub faucets, antique reproduction bathroom sink faucets, and parts to repair them. Visit Shop 4 Classics for discount prices and great selection that should make the tough times a little easier to take.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Reviving Your Tudor Revival Home: Home Hardware & Plumbing Choices for Your Tudor Home Restoration

The Tudor Revival architecture, which drew inspiration from original English Tudor architecture of the 1500’s, emerged in England during the late 1800’s and quickly spread to the United States. Popularity of Tudor Revival style in the United States reached its peak during the 1920’s and ended as the Country entered World War II at the start of the 1940’s. Much of Tudor Revival architecture’s appeal in the United States was the style’s connection to England, which was considered the leader in intellect, wealth, and sophistication of the day. This desire to be connected to England was particularly keen during this time as many wished to separate themselves from the wave of new immigrants from the rest of Europe. Tudor Revival architecture was a mark of elevated status and therefore was popular for homes of the upper and upper-middle class and buildings of prestigious science and educational institutions.

Hallmarks of Tudor Revival architecture include steep gabled slate roofs and facades constructed of a mix of brick, stone accents, and decorative half timbering. Prominent chimneys topped with decorative chimney pots, narrow windows featuring a pattern of diamond panels, and a stone Tudor archway above the front entry are also common Tudor Revival architectural elements.

The interiors of Tudor Revival homes in many ways are a reflection of their exteriors. Heavy wood beams on the ceilings, dark wood paneling along the walls, and wide-plank wood floors are contrasted against the Tudor home’s surrounding white or light colored plaster work. However the focal point of most Tudor Revival homes is their large stone hearths, which are just as grand as the home’s exterior chimneys. Decorative carving in the home’s wood and stone work include stylized images of English flora and fauna including the Tudor rose, thistle, deer and other woodland creatures. Tudor home's of the truly wealthy also include elaborate carvings and art work of famous characters from English history and family crests that conveyed the home owner's English lineage. Richly colored accents including tapestries on their walls, ornate rugs on their floors, and stained glass accents on exterior windows were added to help brighten Tudor home's otherwise dark interiors.

Shop 4 Classics has all the hardware that you will need to complete your Tudor home renovation. Below are just a few ideas of hardware and plumbing products that you may wish to consider for your project:

Tudor Revival Door Hardware and Door Knockers from Brass Accents

Brass Accents' line of door hardware includes the Oxford door hardware series which is a reproduction of Sargent & Company’s Belfort pattern circa 1894. The backplate takes the shape of the Tudor arch and includes accents resembling patterns found on Tudor wood paneling and half-timbering. Consider pairing the Oxford backplates with Brass Accents’ Maltesia knob which features a design resembling the Tudor rose. Brass Accents also offers a lion head door knocker with a uniquely English twist. The stately lion head door knocker’s drop ring features a bust of a Shakespearean character.

Old European Inspired Solid Bronze Door Hardware and Accents from Coastal Bronze

Coastal Bronze manufactures a variety of solid bronze door and gate hardware cast with rustic textures resembling that found on old European cast iron hardware. In particular, Coastal Bronze’s Euro series of door hardware and gate hardware features accents inspired by old world designs.

Early 1900’s Reproduction Baseboard Heat Registers by Mission Metalworks

Mission Metalworks produces replicas of the classic single-damper slanted baseboard heat register that were so common in homes of all types constructed in the early 1900’s. Their reproduction baseboard heat registers are available with Grid and Cathedral style grille patterns and in the two most common baseboard register sizes of the period.

Cast Iron Tudor-Inspired Heat Registers from Antique Revelry

Decorative black cast iron heat registers by Antique Revelry are an ideal upgrade for wall heat vent covers found in Tudor Revival homes. The diamond grill work pattern resembles geometric designs found on stone and wood work of English Tudor style homes. Their Tudor heat registers are also available with white and black cast aluminum grilles that are lighter in wieght making them perfect for wall and ceiling vents.

Tapestry Holders, Curtain Tie Backs, and Carpet Holders from Brass Accents

Elaborate tapestries and ornate carpets added rich colors to Tudor home interiors. Decorative tapestry hangers and carpet holders by Brass Elegans help keep them all in their place and looking good.

Period Reproduction Faucets and Fixtures from Sign of the Crab

The kitchens and baths of the early 1900’s contained a unique set of faucet and fixtures. Sign of the Crab specializes in period reproduction plumbing products. Sign of the Crabs product line includes cast iron tubs, clawfoot tub faucets and showers, vintage sinks, and antique reproduction kitchen and lavatory faucets.

Check out Shop 4 Classics’ Tudor Style Guide for more information and ideas about Tudor Revival style homes.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Bakelite Cabinet Knobs & Handles: Depression Era Hardware in the Recession Era

Bakelite Cabinet Knob
Bakelite was invented by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland in the early 1900s. Recognized as the first synthetic plastic, Bakelite is hard, moldable, electrically nonconductive, and heat resistant. It was also inexpensive at the time. Its inexpensive quality made it especially popular during the cash strapped Great Depression of the 1930s. It was used to produce everything from bowling balls to small appliance housings to jewelry.

Beaded Bakelite Drawer PullOne of Bakelite's many uses was to produce Bakelite cabinet knobs and Bakelite drawer handles for waterfall furniture. Like Bakelite, waterfall furniture surged in popularity during the Great Depression. Named for its rounded horizontal edges that are reminiscent of water arching over a ridge, waterfall furniture featured cheaply produced wood veneer surfaces and diecast drawer handles and cabinet knobs with yellow ochre Bakelite inserts. The economically producedWaterfall Bakelite Drawer Handle waterfall furniture and Bakelite cabinet hardware was a match made in Depression era heaven.

By the 1940s, the US economy was in recovery. Economical waterfall furniture was fading in popularity. Bakelite was replaced by even cheaper and easier to produce plastics. But as the old saying goes; what goes around Deco Bakelite Drawer Handlecomes around. In what seems to be an era of recession, there has been a renewed interest in antiques in recent years. The restoration of antique furniture is a popular hobby today. Fueled by television shows such as American Pickers, Antiques Roadshow, and Pawn Stars, the restoration of antique waterfall furniture can be a rewarding experience. No restoration Bakelite Drawer Pullof waterfall furniture is complete without Bakelite cabinet hardware however. Antique Revelry offers authentically reproduced Bakelite cabinet knobs and Bakelite drawer pulls that are a perfect fit for waterfall furniture. Antique Revelry's depression era hardware is recession era bargain priced at Shop 4 Classics!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gothic Door Hardware Rich With Gothic Architectural Elements

America’s Gothic Revival Period began in the 1840’s and lasted through the remainder of the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Churches, hospitals, academic buildings, and grand estates built in the Gothic Revival style featured decorative architectural elements borrowed from European castles and cathedrals built from the 12th through 14th centuries. Many of these same Gothic decorative elements also embellished furniture and hardware of America's Gothic Revival Period. Gothic door hardware in particular was not only rich in the style’s architectural elements; it also took on the grand form of Gothic buildings.

The Gothic series of antique reproduction door hardware by Brass Accents is a faithful reproduction of Yale & Towne Company’s 1910 Colburg collection of Gothic Revival door hardware. The doorplate of this series is rich in ornamentation inspired by Gothic architectural elements. Below, we take a closer look at this doorplate in order to identify Gothic architectural elements that were the inspiration of some of its unique ornamentation.

Finial
In architecture the finial is a top or finishing stone of pinnacles. The pinnacle, which is the pointed summit of steep gable roofs of Gothic buildings, was often crowned with a decorative finial. Gothic finials are often stylized representations of foliage.

Ogee Arch
The ogee arch is a pointed arch with “s” shaped curves forming both sides. The Ogee arch is a hallmark design element of Gothic architecture.

Crockets
Crockets are decorative elements similar to finials except that they project from the sloping angles of pinnacles. Crockets also typically represent stylized foliage.

Tracery
Tracery is ornamental work consisting of an open pattern of interlacing ribs. Tracery is commonly found supporting window glass of Gothic buildings.

Trefoils within Lancet Arches
The trefoil is an architectural ornament in the form of three arcs arranged in a circle. The lancet arch is an arch that is narrow and pointed like the head of a lance or spear. Lancet arches and trefoils are common features of Gothic windows and molding.

Columns with Capitals
Capitals are the cap or crowns of columns. Depending on the period and location, Gothic columns and capitals were simple or highly decorated in design.

Foliage Ornamentation
Stylized foliage ornamentation was a common decorative element throughout Gothic buildings.


Friday, November 11, 2011

An Antique Perspective On Baseboard Heat Registers

Baseboard heat registers are, without a doubt, a success! So proclaims William Snow in his 1915 book Furnace Heating: A Practical And Comprehensive Treatise On Warming Buildings With Hot Air. The book is 276 pages of technical information primarily concerning furnaces and ventilation. It is a comprehensive study (as its title suggests) and no thorough examination of furnace heating would be complete without mention of heat registers. In particular, Mr. Snow discusses baseboard heat registers of which he says; "possess the advantages of the floor register and common wall register without having their disadvantages". Today, we take a look at baseboard heat registers from the perspective of this book.

At the time the book was written, the baseboard heat register was a rather new concept. In fact, Mr. Snow refers to baseboard registers as "modern types" of registers. Nearly a century later, we now frequently call them "antique style registers" or "vintage style registers". The book also refers to baseboard registers as "side wall registers". We don't often here that term today. Instead, baseboard registers are frequently called "gravity baseboard registers" because they were initially used with gravity furnaces.

Because the baseboard heat register was relatively new when his book was written, Mr. Snow describes them for his readers. The author states that "the face of the register near the floor projects some distance in front of the baseboard, which is cut away to make room for the register body". The register box (or stackhead) behind antique baseboard registers was usually made of tin or galvanized iron. The register box was "set partly in the wall and partly on the floor". While this was innovative at the time, it does make antique baseboard registers difficult to replace with anything but a reproduction such as the authentic reproduction baseboard heat registers from Mission Metalworks.

Mr. Snow attributes the popularity of baseboard heat registers to their efficient use of ductwork. For example, two baseboard registers placed back-to-back in a single register box could be "utilized to heat adjoining rooms on the same floor". Better yet, baseboard registers allowed a single flue to be used to heat two rooms, one above the other, without being obstructed by the register. The damper on the baseboard register "serves as a deflector, insuring the proper discharge of air". "Otherwise," the author continues, "the upper floor is apt to 'rob' the lower one".

In addition to moderating air flow through the baseboard register, the damper "throws air away from walls thereby avoiding discoloring them". Recall that the book was written in 1915. At the time, heat was provided by a wood burning or coal burning furnace and not the cleaner gas or electric variety found in most homes today. Although we call it a damper, it is called a "deflector plate" or "shutter back" in Mr. Snow's book.

Baseboard registers have two other important advantages over floor registers according to Mr. Snow; baseboard heat registers required no carpet cutting and they allow for more freedom in arranging furniture. However, the author does admit that floor registers have one benefit not provided by baseboard registers. According to Mr. Snow, "old people of the house will be quick to appreciate the advantage of being able to warm the feet over the floor register."

When it comes to furnace heating, William Snow literally wrote the book. When it comes to vintage baseboard heat registers, visit Shop 4 Classics for Mission Metalworks' genuine antique reproduction baseboard heat registers.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Shopping for Oil Rubbed Bronze Floor Registers: Not All Bronze Heat Registers are Made the Same

Oil rubbed bronze is one of the most popular hardware and plumbing finishes today. As noted in a recent blog entry, there is a wide variety of bronze finishes on the market. Understanding different types of oil rubbed bronze finishes is particularly important when you are shopping for bronze floor registers. There are three basic types of floor registers marketed as being oil rubbed bronze. As we discuss below, there are important advantages and disadvantage of each type of oil rubbed bronze floor register:

Floor registers with solid cast bronze grilles usually have dark brown or black patina finish that has been treated, or rubbed, with a special type or oil or wax. A patina is a chemical that penetrates and reacts to the bronze surface of the grille and darkens its surface. Oil or wax is then applied to protect the patina surface. Wax or oil treated patina finish is the truest form of oil rubbed bronze. Oil rubbed bronze floor registers with solid bronze grilles are more expensive than registers with brass or steel grilles but they are heavier and durable. Bronze grilles' patina finish is considered a living finish because its color can change over time and exposure to the elements. Living finishes have an advantage over faux bronze finishes. The finish can scratch but scratch marks will fade over time as the exposed bronze darkens through bronze’s natural
patina process.

A less expensive alternative to solid bronze grille floor registers are floor registers with solid brass grilles that have faux oil rubbed bronze finishes. The faux oil rubbed bronze finishes used on brass grilles are often a baked-on powder coat finish. Floor registers with cast brass grilles with faux oil rubbed bronze finishes are usually heavier than floor registers with pressed steel grilles. Brass grilles, like bronze grilles, will not rust like most steel floor register’s grilles. It is possible, however, that the faux oil bronze finish will scratch and, unlike bronze, the exposed yellow brass will likely not patina dark enough to blend in with the surrounding faux
bronze finish.

Steel floor registers with oil rubbed bronze finishes are the least expensive option. Their grilles are typically made of pressed steel and either have a painted or a baked-on powder coat oil rubbed bronze finish. Their grilles are much thinner than cast brass or bronze grilles. Their faux oil rubbed bronze finish can scratch or wear off. Scratches or wear marks will expose the steel grille to the elements and could rust. Because the faux oil rubbed finish on steel registers is less durable, oil rubbed bronze steel registers are less likely to retain the initial beauty present
when purchased.

Shop 4 Classics has chosen not to offer steel floor registers but does offer a wide variety of oil rubbed bronze floor registers with solid cast bronze and brass grilles. Shop 4 Classics offers solid bronze grilled floor registers from Hamilton Sinkler, Classic Grilles and Brass Elegans. Hamilton Sinkler’s bronze floor register collection includes registers with contemporary linear grilles and traditional scroll pattern grilles. Classic Grilles’ bronze floor register collection includes registers with their popular Craftsman and Arts & Crafts grilles, Renaissance scroll grille, Victorian grille, and a grape vine themed grille. Brass Elegans offers its Victorian and contemporary linear floor registers with both solid bronze and solid brass grille options. Brass Elegan floor registers with solid bronze grilles feature a dark brown patina while their registers with solid brass grilles have a near black powder coat finish.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vintage Doorbell Buttons & Doorbell Chimes: Replacing Doorbells In Period Homes

Doorbell season is upon us. Over the next few months, doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes will be busy announcing the arrival of guests to our homes. It all starts with trick-or-treaters at Halloween but the parade of guests continues through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and culminates with revelers at New Years. If your doorbell is a dud, doorbell season is a good time to consider replacing it.

A traditional wired doorbell is a system of three components; a doorbell button, a transformer, and a doorbell chime. The three components are connected by low voltage bell wire. Doorbell buttons work like a switch that when pressed completes an electrical circuit between the transformer and the door chime. The transformer is required to reduce the electrical current from the level of normal outlets in your home (usually 120 volts) down to the level required to operate the doorbell chime (usually 16 volts). Although each component is sold separately, all three parts are necessary to complete a doorbell.

Installing a new doorbell system in an old home can be challenging if it is not already wired for a doorbell. The low voltage wire can run through attics, basements, and crawl spaces but eventually you will likely be required to fish the small gauge bell wire behind a finished wall. The complexity of installing a new doorbell system will vary but will almost certainly be more difficult than simply replacing a previously wired doorbell button and door chime. Replacing a cheap doorbell button or doorbell chime with a more attractive and better functioning option is a relatively easy project that only requires reconnecting wires and fastening the new button or chime to the wall. Even though doorbells use low voltage power, always turn off power at the electrical panel before proceeding. The ghosts haunting homes at Halloween should not include a former homeowner who neglected to use proper precaution when working with electricity.

Transformers are usually installed in the basement where they are out of view. They can be purchased at most large hardware stores. One transformer looks and works pretty much like the next but be sure to choose a transformer that matches the voltage required by the door chime you choose.

Unlike the nondescript transformer, doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes are important architectural accents. In addition to their functionality, they are high visibility items that contribute to the overall appearance of your home. The combination of an Arts & Crafts hammered copper doorbell button paired with a wood doorbell chime not only reports the arrival of visitors but also demonstrates your appreciation for the handcrafted style of Craftsman period homes. When replacing doorbell buttons and doorbell chimes in an old home, consider an antique style doorbell button and doorbell chime that coordinate well with the architectural period of your home. A vintage doorbell button can impress guests at the front door before they even step into your period home. Doorbell chimes are typically installed in a central location where they can be heard throughout the house. Their position in high traffic areas offers the perfect opportunity to make a bold period statement. Prepare your period home for the holidays by upgrading to vintage style doorbell chimes and doorbell buttons from Shop 4 Classics.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Vintage Kitchen Sink Buyers Guide for the Modern Lifestyle

Of all the rooms in the average American home, the kitchen was affected most by the dramatic change in daily lifestyles of the American family over the past 100 years. Women entering the workforce and the hurried lifestyles of all members of the family have greatly reduced the amount of time spent in the kitchen preparing meals. According to surveys, the average woman at the turn of the 20th century spent over 40 hours in the kitchen preparing and cleaning up after meals, however, the amount of time was cut in half by the 1950's. Although the kitchen design's primary design focus is still on the function of food preparation, aesthetic qualities is becoming ever more important consideration. This is a reflection of the changing role of kitchens as a gathering place for family and friends. Thus, today's kitchen appliances and fixtures represent a balance between function and form.

The basic form of the kitchen sink has changed very little over the past 100 years but they are now offered in a variety of materials, configurations and style. Vintage style kitchen sinks are a popular choice for today's buyer, however, just because they are designed to resemble antique sinks does not mean that they are available with only a limited number of sizes and configurations. In fact, the same criteria for purchasing a modern kitchen sinks apply to the purchase of vintage kitchen sinks.

Material

Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Stainless steel has been a popular choice for kitchen sinks for decades due to its cost and durability. For many, however, stainless steel sinks look too utilitarian. Although invented in the early 1900’s, commercial stainless steel sinks were not widely available until the later half of the 20th century and therefore they look out of place in vintage themed kitchens.

Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Porcelain coated cast iron kitchen sinks were commonly used throughout the first half of the 1900's and they remain a popular choice for vintage themed kitchens today. Cast iron sinks are heavy. Their glossy white porcelain coating is durable and easily cleaned with a soft cloth and water. Abrasive cleaners should not be used to clean porcelain enameled cast iron sinks.

Fireclay Kitchen Sinks
Fireclay kitchen sinks are also highly durable and are often available in array of color choices. Like cast iron sinks, fireclay kitchen sinks are available in a variety of vintage as well as traditional decorative styles. Fireclay sinks should be cleaned with a soft cloth and water. Abrasive cleaners should not be used to clean fireclay sinks.

Copper Kitchen Sinks
In recent years copper kitchen sinks have become popular. Developing a fundamental understanding of the qualities of copper sinks is an important first step in selecting a copper kitchen sink. Copper kitchen sinks are handcrafted and are produced by an array of manufacturers and importers. Unfortunately, quality can vary greatly among copper sink brands. The gauge of copper used is especially important for kitchen sinks. The lower the gauge the thicker the copper used. Also, be wary of bargain priced copper sinks as the craftsmanship and quality of construction may be inferior. Beyond variation in quality, it is important to know that most copper sinks have living finishes which means that there is no protective coating on the copper. A patina is normally applied to living finish copper sinks to darken its color and provide a warm aged look. Patina surfaces can scratch revealing the natural lighter tone of copper but these scratches will darken over time as the copper patinas naturally. If you have hard water, copper sinks should be cleaned with a soft cloth to remove hard water spots. Abrasive cleaners will scratch the surfaces of copper sinks and therefore should always be avoided.

Configuration

Number of Bowls

Most vintage style kitchen sinks have either one or two bowls. Two bowl sinks are advantageous if the sink is used for washing dishes as the second bowl can be used for rinsing and drying. A third bowl used for food preparation is a modern amenity. If your vintage sink is not available with three bowls, installing a separate small prep sink is an attractive alternative.

Mounting

Topmount Sinks
Topmount kitchen sinks, also known as drop-in or self rimming, simply rest within a hole cut into the kitchen countertop and are therefore relatively easy to install. Faucets usually mount to the rim of topmount sinks. It is important that the sink that you choose matches the number of holes required by your kitchen faucet. Topmount sinks are often less expensive but also lack the eye-catching style of other types of sinks.

Undermount Sinks
Undermount kitchen sinks install underneath a hole in the kitchen counter top. They offer a sleek look compared to topmount sinks because they have no exposed rim. Another advantage of undermount sinks is that meal prep messes can wipe unobstructed directly into the sink. Undermount kitchen sinks however are more difficult to install than topmount sinks.

Apron Front Sinks
Apron front, or farmhouse, kitchen sinks add instant vintage style to kitchens. Apron front sinks are typically undermount sinks that have a decorative exposed front. Apron front sinks are available in cast iron, fireclay and copper. Their installation requires a notch cut from the top to side of the counter top. Installation and the cost of the sink are often much more expensive than undermount and top mount sinks.

Garbage Disposals

If you plan to install a garbage disposal to your sink, it is important that you confirm that the kitchen sink that you choose will accept a garbage disposal.

Shop 4 Classics collection of vintage sinks includes country style kitchen sinks from American Standard, cast iron and fireclay apron front kitchen sinks from Kohler, fireclay and copper kitchen sinks from Belle Foret, cast iron Farmhouse kitchen sinks from Strom Plumbing, and copper kitchen sinks from Brass Elegans.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Antique Garage Door Hardware: Overhead Garage Doors That Reproduce Antique Carriage House Doors

When Henry Ford introduced the Model T automobile in October of 1908, he didn't just revolutionize transportation, he created a need for garages and garage door hardware. Automobiles replaced horse-drawn carriages and Americans began converting carriage houses to garages to protect their prized automobile. Within a few years, garages became a standard feature of house designs.

Like the Model T, early garages were mostly simple and utilitarian. The first garages were usually single car. If a garage had multiple bays, each bay would have its own doors. Garages of the time were detached from the home because gasoline stored in the garage created a fire hazard. The fire hazard was eventually alleviated by the propagation of filling stations that eliminated the need to store gas in the garage. By the 1920s, garages were connected to the home by covered breezeways or pergolas and today are fully integrated into the floor plan.

The swinging carriage house doors found on carriage houses of the Victorian era continued to be the most popular door for garages of the early 20th Century. Swing out carriage house doors have two hinged doors that open outward like a pair of French doors. Carriage house doors were constructed of wood, which made them quite heavy. Strap hinges were required to support the weight of the door. Each carriage house door had a door handle to open it. A slide bolt or tower bolt may also have been used to secure the garage. Antique carriage house door hardware and garage door hardware usually coordinated with exterior door hardware and exterior lighting. Black hand-forged iron carriage house door hardware was popular for Victorian, Mission, and Tudor style homes while handcrafted copper and bronze garage door hardware was favored for Arts & Crafts bungalows.

The sectional overhead garage door (or "roll-up" garage door) began to appear in the 1920s. The overhead garage door was popular because it eliminated space constraints caused by door swing, operational problems caused by imbalanced hinges, and the need to remove obstructions (such as snow) that prevented the door from swinging open. Sectional overhead garage doors also eliminated much of the hardware that was required for carriage house doors.

While sectional overhead garage doors still dominate today, garage door builders started integrating carriage house details into overhead garage doors around the turn of the 21st Century. Decorative rails, stiles, and diagonal braces were added to roll-up garage doors to mimic vintage carriage house doors. Garage door hardware such as door handles, slide bolts, and dummy strap hinges (or "hinge fronts") lend authenticity to give modern sectional overhead doors a swing out carriage house door appearance.

Shop 4 Classics offers a complete catalog of antique reproduction strap hinges, dummy strap hinges, slide bolts, tower bolts, and door handles to complete the restoration of vintage carriage house doors or to replicate their look on a modern sectional overhead door.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Oil Rubbed Bronze vs. Venetian Bronze vs. Tumbled Bronze vs. Antique Bronze Faucet Finishes: What is the Difference?

Over the past ten years, bronze has become one of the most popular finishes for kitchen faucets as well as bathroom sink and tub faucets. In plumbing, bronze is a faux, often powder coat, finish applied over solid brass faucets. Where as once oil rubbed bronze was the only widely available bronze finish option, there are now numerous variations and product names given to the bronze finish. Although more options to choose from is always a good thing, variety can also create confusion for the consumer. This is especially true when it comes to bronze finishes. Color and other aesthetic qualities of bronze finishes can vary among manufacturers.

Most manufactures offer kitchen and bathroom faucets in oil rubbed bronze. Today's oil rubbed bronze faucets is typically black in color, however, this was not always the case. When oil rubbed bronze finishes were first introduced, many manufacturers’ oil rubbed bronze finishes were a very dark chocolate brown. This is still the case with some hardware and lighting manufacturers. Consumers should still be aware of the variations in oil rubbed bronze finishes among faucet manufactures that exist today. They must take added care if they wish to closely match their faucet’s finish with other plumbing or hardware items within their kitchen or bathroom.

Antique bronze is another popular variation of the bronze finish. Generally speaking, antique bronze finishes feature darker shades of brown in recessed areas and lighter shades on raised and flat surfaces. There is, however, even much more variety in antique bronze finishes than oil rubbed bronze finishes. Faucet manufacturers have added to the complexity by creating unique marketing names for their antique bronze finish. For example, Sunrise Specialty’s Old Bronze bathroom faucet finish features light and dark shades of chocolate brown and therefore fits the commonly thought of definition of antique bronze finish. Cheviot’s Antique Bronze faucet finish includes brushed surfaces exposing copper undertones in addition to antiquing. Some manufacturers refer to Cheviot's type of brushed bronze with copper undertones finish as a Venetian bronze finish.

A less common variation of the bronze finish is burnished or tumbled bronze. Faux tumbled bronze finishes feature rich brown surfaces flecked with contrasting copper tone light brown speckles resulting in a burnished appearance. Belle Foret tumbled bronze kitchen faucets feature a unique and slightly rustic look.

Shop 4 Classics makes shopping for the right faucet finish more clear with its “Help Me Choose” link on its faucet product pages. The Help Me Choose feature provides a detailed image and description of each of the manufacturer’s available finishes. Shop 4 Classics also provides more general guidelines in selecting the right finish for your faucet on its Finish Tips page.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pocket Door Edge Pulls: Livin' On the Edge With Sliding Pocket Door Hardware

Not all doors swing on hinges. More adventurous doors swing in special nightclubs in California. But today we'll discuss doors that do not swing at all; sliding pocket doors. Rather than swing, pocket doors slide. They usually hang on rollers in an overhead track that allows the door to slide in and out of a pocket in the wall.

Because a sliding pocket door retracts into the wall, it can not have door knobs that would prevent the pocket door from sliding into its opening. Instead, pocket doors utilize surface pulls that install virtually flat with the side of the door to eliminate any obstruction by door hardware as the door slides into the pocket. Once recessed into the pocket, a pocket door edge pull provides a handle to pull the door back out. Pocket door edge pulls are mortised flush into the outside (exposed) edge of the sliding door. They have a lever handle that swings away from the door's edge to provide a grip on the recessed door. When not in use, the lever handle drops flush with the edge of the door.

Pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls for antique pocket doors are generally separate components. Around the mid 1900's, pocket door hardware manufacturers began combining pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls into a single piece of hardware. The single unit combination pocket door pulls provide a choice of passage or privacy functions. Pocket door hardware is available in popular finishes such as brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze to match other home hardware.

Shop 4 Classics offers pocket door edge pulls and pocket door surface pulls for antique pocket doors as well as combination pocket door pulls for sliding pocket doors from more modern eras. In addition to pocket door hardware, Shop 4 Classics offers antique reproduction door hardware for swingers, uh, hinged doors also. Shop 4 Classics has plenty of vintage door hardware for all types and tastes.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sign of the Crab’s American and Madeira Antique Reproduction Kitchen Faucets: True to the Past yet built for the Future

There is a wide variety of kitchen faucets available today marketed as being vintage or antique, but most are really modern inspirations with an antique theme. Sign of the Crab’s American kitchen faucets and Madeira kitchen faucets are much more faithful to original early to mid twentieth century kitchen faucets. For example, their faucet bodies are designed after antique original faucets. They are also only offered in chrome, polished nickel and matte nickel. That's right, these Sign of the Crab faucets are not available in wildly popular oil rubbed bronze, which is really a modern finish creation. Further, unlike other vintage themed kitchen faucets, Madeira and American kitchen faucets are true to antique originals in that modern sprayers are not available with either of the series.

In other ways, however, Sign of the Crab designed their Madeira and American kitchen faucet series to accommodate the demands of modern consumers. For example, American and Madeira faucets are offered in a wide variety of configurations. Sign of the Crab offers both series in wall mount faucet and deck mount faucet designs. They are also offered with a variety of swiveling spout options including high-arc spouts, swing arm pot filler spouts and extended reach spouts. Sign of the Crab did not ignore advancements in technology when creating their Madeira and American lines as all of these faucets use modern ceramic disk valves which are much more reliable than the old compression valves of the past.

If a vintage kitchen remodel is in your future, consider remaining true to your kitchen’s past by including a Sign of the Crab Madeira or American antique reproduction kitchen faucets

Friday, September 16, 2011

Forged Iron vs. Cast Iron: Simple Iron Offers Two Unique Choices for Cabinet, Door, and Other Home Hardware

Understanding the differences between forged iron and cast iron is one of the first steps in the process when shopping for decorative iron door, cabinet or other home hardware products. The processes for creating forged iron and cast iron hardware are very different and the differences in the processes results in distinctive differences in the types and qualities of iron hardware products that they produce.

In this blog entry, we will explore the differences in how the two types of iron hardware are created. We will also provide an overview of the types of hardware products that are made from forged iron and those made from cast iron. Additionally, we will point out the differences one should expect in the aesthetic qualities and cost of forged iron verses cast iron hardware of the same type (i.e. a forged cabinet pull verses a cast cabinet pull).

I’ve been fortunate enough to witness and, to a degree, participate in the process of making both forged hardware and cast hardware. Forged iron hardware is handcrafted by a blacksmith. The particular blacksmith that I worked with had been honing his skills for over twenty years. I’d say that the guy looked pretty ordinary except that he had unusually large Popeye-like hands and forearms, the product of years of hammering and twisting wrought iron bars and iron sheets into shape. The blacksmith uses his muscles, hammer, anvil and a blow torch in creating each piece of hardware by hand. Cast iron hardware is created at a foundry. The foundries that I’ve worked with operated on manpower rather than automation but were designed for mass production. The foundry melts raw iron inside an industrial strength melting pot called a crucible and pours the molten iron into molds. Once the iron cools, the molds are removed revealing a nearly completed piece or pieces of hardware. Thus, cast iron hardware can be mass produced where as each piece of forged iron hardware is handcrafted one at a time.
There are many types of hardware products that are made from both forged iron and cast iron.  Some types of hardware products, however,  are only offered in cast iron. Here is a summary of the various forged and cast iron products offered by Shop 4 Classics:

Forged Iron and Cast Iron Cabinet Hardware
Cabinet hardware is offered in both forged iron and cast iron, however, there are many differences in the types and styles available in forged and cast cabinet hardware. Forged iron cabinet hardware primarily consists of bar, bail and ring style drawer pulls. Since forged iron hardware is handcrafted, manufacturers like Acorn Manufacturing and Artesano Iron Works are able to offer a wide variety of forged iron cabinet pull styles. Generally speaking, forged iron cabinet hardware is more expensive than cast cabinet hardware due to the amount of time, labor and skill required to create each piece. Cast iron cabinet hardware consists of cabinet knobs and cup pulls in addition to bar, bail and ring style pulls. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron cabinet hardware from Antique Revelry, John Wright and Copper Mountain. Cast iron cabinet hardware is not only less expensive than forged iron cabinet hardware, it is also typically less expensive than other types of cast metal hardware because iron is cheaper than bronze, brass and copper.

Forged Iron and Cast Iron Door, Shutter and Gate Hardware
All sorts of exterior home hardware are offered in both forged and cast iron. All styles of entry and interior door hardware, gate hardware and shutter hardware are available with forged or cast iron door handles and back plates. Generally speaking, however, the internal mechanisms, like latches, are made of brass. Forged iron door and gate hardware can become increasingly more expensive compared to similar cast iron hardware depending on how complicated or large the piece of hardware. Shop 4 Classics offers forged iron door, shutter and gate hardware from Acorn Manufacturing and Artesano Iron Works. Shop 4 Classics offers door, gate and shutter hardware from Acorn Manufacturing and the John Wright Company.

Cast Iron Vent Covers
The grilles for vent covers have to be fairly thick in order to withstand foot traffic and accommodate optional louver assemblies. Therefore, all iron vent covers grilles are made exclusively of cast iron. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron floor registers and cold air return vent cover grilles from Acorn Manufacturing and Reggio Register.

Cast Iron Clawfoot and Pedestal Bath Tubs
Cast iron has been used to create bath tubs for a couple hundred years. The inside of cast iron clawfoot bath tubs and cast iron pedestal bath tubs have a porcelain coating that makes them smooth to the touch and easy to clean. Shop 4 Classics offers cast iron bath tubs by Sign of the Crab, Sunrise Specialty, Elizabethan Classics and Cheviot Products.





Friday, September 2, 2011

Shower Curtain Ring & Shower Curtain Rod Roundup

Today, we discuss shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods. We tend to use "rod" and "ring" interchangeably but there is a subtle difference between a shower curtain ring and a shower curtain rod. We'll get into that soon but whether it is a ring or a rod, its purpose is the same; to hang a shower curtain.

Shower Curtain Rods

Shower curtain rods have an open ended bar. At each end of the bar is a bracket that attaches to an adjacent wall. Shower curtain rods are typically used with built-in tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed by one or more walls. In older homes, the enclosing wall is usually lined with tile or marble. Tile and marble are still used today but cultured marble, acrylic, fiberglass, and other water resistant materials are also common in contemporary showers. Choosing the correct shower curtain rod will depend on the bathtub or shower pan installation and the number of enclosing walls.

Straight Shower Curtain Rods - Straight shower curtain rods are most common. The ends of the straight bar mount to parallel walls. Straight shower curtain rods are used with built-in alcove tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed on three sides. The shower curtain rod is used on the open side of the tub.

L-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - L-shaped shower curtain rods take a straight bar and add a 90 degree elbow. They are often used with built-in corner tubs and shower stalls that are enclosed on two perpendicular sides.

Neo-Angle Shower Curtain Rods - Neo-angle shower curtain rods are similar to L-shaped shower curtain rods but rather than a sharp 90 degree angle, the neo-angle shower curtain rod has two 45 degree elbows separated by a length of straight bar. The middle section of straight shower rod softens the outside corner. Neo-angle shower curtain rods are used with triangle corner tubs and neo-angle shower receptors that are enclosed by two perpendicular walls.

C-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - C-shaped shower curtain rods have two 90 degree elbows. C-shaped shower curtain rods are typically used with drop-in tubs that have only one adjacent tiled wall.

D-Shaped Shower Curtain Rods - Like a C-shaped shower curtain rod, a D-shaped shower curtain rod has two 90 degree elbows. A D-shaped shower curtain rod adds a straight rod across the back to close the loop created by the C-shaped rod. The extra straight rod allows for a shower curtain to wrap the entire shower area. D-shaped shower curtain rods are typically used with drop-in tubs that lack an enclosing wall that is tiled or otherwise lined for water resistance. The extra shower rod along the wall allows D-shaped shower curtain rods to also be used with freestanding clawfoot tubs that are place against a wall.

Shower Rod Couplers - If these shower curtain rod options weren't enough, Strom Plumbing offers shower rod couplers that can be used like Tinkertoys to connect straight bars into any number of configurations. Straight couplers can be used to connect two straight bars end to end. Ninety and 45 degree elbow couplers can be used to create corners.

Shower Curtain Rings

Shower curtain rings are close ended. The ring has no ends and, therefore, has no brackets on the ring itself. Instead, shower curtain rings have braces that clamp on to the ring or thread into tees along the ring to provide support. Shower curtain rings provide a self enclosing 360 degree rod. Shower curtain rings are used with clawfoot tubs and freestanding drop-in tubs and shower pans. These tubs and showers have no enclosing walls so a shower curtain hangs on a 360 degree shower rod that envelopes the shower to keep water in the tub or shower receptor. Shower curtain rings are also sometimes called shower enclosures, shower surrounds, or shower curtain frames. Shower curtain rings are available in three common geometric shapes.

Rectangle Shower Curtain Rings - Rectangle-shaped shower curtain rings are frequently used with traditional clawfoot tubs or drop-in tubs when the faucet and exposed shower riser are installed at one end of the tub.

Oval Shower Curtain Rings - Oval-shaped shower curtain rings are most often used with double-ended clawfoot tubs and pedestal tubs. The faucet and exposed shower riser are centered on the side of double-ended tubs.

Round Shower Curtain Rings - Round shower curtain rings are used with shower pans and small clawfoot tubs.

Armed with this roundup of shower curtain rings and shower curtain rods, you are now ready to plan your shower project. Save some of your hard-earned cash this Labor Day with a shower curtain ring or shower curtain rod from Shop 4 Classics.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cast Iron and Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages: Clawfoot Tub Shopping Made Easy

Clawfoot tub packages are collections of clawfoot tubs and complimentary plumbing products that retailers bundle together and offer as a single product. The purpose of creating clawfoot tub packages is to make clawfoot tub shopping easier for consumers who are unfamiliar with the unique plumbing components required for clawfoot tub installations. Unfortunately, many retailers create so many package offerings that shopping for clawfoot tub packages is just as confusing as buying the components individually. Conversely, some retailers limit selection by offering only a few clawfoot tub packages that include the most basic faucet and plumbing options.

Shop 4 Classics takes a sophisticated approach towards creating clawfoot tub packages that makes shopping easy while offering a wider selection of options to choose from. Shop 4 Classics organizes its clawfoot tub packages by two key selection criteria, type of tub construction and location of the clawfoot tub's faucet holes. Clawfoot tubs are constructed of either heavy cast iron or lighter weight acrylic. Most consumers have already determined whether they want a cast iron or acrylic tub before they begin their search. For those undecided, however, Shop 4 Classics provides a comparison of the two types in their Clawfoot Bathtub Tips section of their website. Similarly, consumers normally know the desired, or required, location of their tub’s clawfoot faucet holes. Clawfoot tubs can have faucet holes drilled in the wall of the tub, drilled in the rim at one end of the tub, drilled in the rim at the center of the tub, or have no faucet holes at all. Generally, the clawfoot tub’s faucet hole location and spacing should matchup with the bathroom's plumbing rough-ins for the tub. Shop 4 Classics provides a concise overview of the clawfoot faucet selection process in the Clawfoot Tub Faucet Tips section of its website. Since clawfoot tubs are available in two material options and four faucet hole location options, Shop 4 Classics has eight groupings of clawfoot tub packages:

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with End Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Freestanding Mounted Faucets
Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Side Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers

Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub Packages with Wall Mounted Faucets

Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with End Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Freestanding Mounted Faucets
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Side Rim Mounted Faucets and Showers
Acrylic Clawfoot Tub Packages with Wall Mounted Faucets


Even the most basic of Shop 4 Classics' tub packages include multiple tub leg and plumbing finish options, three or more faucet and/or shower options, and several clawfoot tub drain options. All of these options are logically presented on a single page and selection is a simple point and click exercise.

Shop 4 Classics clawfoot tub coupon, “TUB10”, entered at checkout applies a 10% instant discount to your total order of products from a single manufacturer when the order includes a tub, faucet or shower, supply lines, and drain from the same manufacturer. The TUB10 coupon applies in addition to our already discounted prices. All Shop 4 Classics tub orders also include free crate, freight, and residential lift gate service.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Decorative Brass Floor Register Covers: Heat Registers That Go Beyond Builders’ Grade

Upgrading unsightly builder’s grade floor registers with decorative brass heat registers is an easy and economical opportunity to add style throughout your home. Most brass grille floor register covers are offered in a variety of finish options beyond polished brass. It is common for manufacturers to offer their brass floor registers in five to six finishes including antique brass, chrome, polished nickel, brush nickel, faux bronze, black and pewter. Manufacturers also often offer their heat registers with both contemporary and traditional grille pattern options. Additionally, they offer all of their brass grilles without attached louver assemblies for use as air return vent covers and with screw holes for wall installations.

In most cases, installation of solid brass grille floor registers is a simple process. First, measure in inches the length and width of each vent duct opening. The dimensions of the opening will determine the “inside measurements” of the replacement register. Registers, as well as air return grille covers, are typically organized and described by their inside measurements. Older homes can have odd size vent duct openings while newer homes typically have vent duct openings with dimensions that fall within a set of nine standard vent cover sizes with widths of 2 ¼, 4 and 6 inches and lengths of 10, 12 and 14 inches. Once your register order is delivered, installing floor registers is a simple matter of placing the register into the vent duct and adjusting the louvers to allow for the desired air flow.

The picture at right shows the dramatic difference that replacing builders’ grade floor registers with decorative floor registers can make. Note that the builder’s grade steel floor register is rusting in addition to inherently lacking any attractive aesthetic qualities. The Hamilton Sinkler Strathmore floor registers with their solid brass grilles will not rust like most builders’ grade register covers.