The curious thing about freestanding clawfoot tub faucets is that most freestanding faucets require support. You are not alone if you find yourself asking, "Just how freestanding can a faucet be if it requires support?" Although it may seem like a misnomer initially, the term "freestanding" is defined relative to the clawfoot tub. Freestanding clawfoot tub faucets do not mount through faucet holes in the tub wall or tub rim. They stand free of the clawfoot tub on tall rigid supply lines. They are free of the clawfoot tub but not necessarily independent of support.
Most often, freestanding supply lines are supported by braces that are anchored to an adjacent wall. Wall braces are a perfectly suitable solution for supporting a freestanding faucet if the faucet end of the tub happens to be near a wall. This isn't always the case in old homes and is becoming increasingly more unlikely in new homes as designers use clawfoot tubs as a centerpiece in the middle of large bathrooms.
Last year, Cheviot Products introduced a self-supporting freestanding clawfoot tub faucet that eliminates the need to brace the faucet to an adjacent wall but there is yet another solution that often gets overlooked. Most clawfoot tub manufacturers offer brackets that allow freestanding supply lines to be braced to the tub drain instead of a wall. The brackets install on the clawfoot tub drain's overflow tube. Rather than brace to a wall behind the faucet, the braces can be swung around and attached to the overflow brackets. Overflow brackets allow freestanding faucets to be installed without the need for wall braces. Even if the faucet is near a wall, the overflow brackets may still be preferred over wall braces. Bracing to the drain eliminates additional holes in your bathroom wall caused by wall brackets. Personally, I prefer the overflow brackets because they link the faucet, supply lines, and drain into one neat integrated package.
There are a few caveats with overflow brackets however. First, the freestanding faucet must be near the drain to utilize overflow brackets. Clawfoot tub faucets, even freestanding clawfoot tub faucets, are traditionally centered with the drain so this usually isn't a big deal. More significantly, overflow brackets for freestanding clawfoot tub faucets generally should not be considered universal. Sign of the Crab, Elizabethan Classics, and Sunrise Specialty all offer overflow brackets for their freestanding faucets. However, the Sunrise Specialty overflow brackets only fit their tower drain. The Sign of the Crab overflow brackets and Elizabethan Classics overflow brackets require braces that are included with their freestanding supply lines. There is no industry standard that defines braces so it isn't safe to assume that one manufacturer's overflow brackets will accept a brace from another manufacturer's supply lines. The potential for compatibility issues tends to make overflow brackets difficult to shop for and is likely a significant reason they are overlooked. Choosing a freestanding clawfoot tub faucet, tub drain, and overflow brackets from a single manufacturer will reduce problems with compatibility.
Shop 4 Classics offers the complete vintage plumbing catalogs of Sign of the Crab, Elizabethan Classics, Sunrise Specialty, and Cheviot Products. Visit http://www.shop4classics.com/ for help with your freestanding clawfoot tub faucet project. Our experts can help you identify the correct overflow bracket for your project.