Friday, September 28, 2012

Clawfoot Tubs vs. Pedestal Tubs: A Heavyweight Bout of Freestanding Cast Iron Tubs

Recently, a Shop 4 Classics customer wrote to say that she was considering switching from a cast iron clawfoot tub to a cast iron pedestal tub.  Estelle had grown tired of cleaning under clawfoot tubs and figured that a pedestal tub would eliminate that chore for her next project.  Before committing to her job cutting strategy, Estelle wanted to know why a person would choose a pedestal tub verses a clawfoot tub and vice versa.  Today, we consider Estelle's question more closely.

Sunrise Specialty Cast Iron Pedestal Tub
Appearance Is Everything

Personal preference is the number one reason people choose one style of freestanding tub over another.  Just as there are dog people and there are cat people, there are pedestal tub people and there are clawfoot tub people.  Some folks prefer the traditional look of a clawfoot bathtub while others appreciate the streamlined aesthetics of a pedestal bathtub.

Occasionally, historical relevancy becomes part of the equation.  Pedestal tubs peaked in popularity during the Art Deco period of the 1920's.  While pedestal tubs look perfectly at home in the bath of a house built in the first half of the 20th Century, clawfoot tubs have a broader appeal.  A clawfoot tub is as natural a fit for a 19th Century Victorian as it is for a 20th Century Arts & Crafts bungalow.

Sunrise Specialty Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub
Blinded By Science

Cast iron pedestal tubs are heavier than same sized cast iron footed tubs.  For example, the Sunrise Specialty traditional 5' rolltop cast iron clawfoot tub weights about 275 lbs.  If the feet are replaced with a cast iron pedestal, the weight of the tub increases over 75 lbs.  The difference is even more dramatic for larger tubs.  Having said that, the additional weight of the pedestal typically isn't any more significant to supporting the tub than the difference in weight of the people using the tub.  Getting the tub from the driveway into your home, however, is where its weight may become important.  Navigating a pedestal tub and its additional 75 lbs. or more through narrow doorways can be an adventure.  Sure, the pedestal can be separated from a Sunrise Specialty cast iron tub but this is usually discouraged.  The tub is leveled and bolted into the pedestal.  A bead of caulk seals and conceals any gaps between the pedestal and the tub.  Installing the pedestal is a project best left to an experienced professional.  Other pedestal tubs, such as Sign of the Crab cast iron pedestal tubs, are cast as a single piece so the pedestal can't be separated from the tub.

Sign of the Crab
Clawfoot Tub Coasters
Related to weight is the transfer of weight.  Pedestal tubs transfer the weight of the tub across the entire footprint of the pedestal while weight transfer for clawfoot tubs is centered on four legs.  The larger area of weight transfer for pedestal tubs can be helpful on a tile floor where you may not want a quarter of the tub's weight focused on the center of a single tile, especially a large tile.  Clawfoot tub coasters can also help provide a larger footprint for footed tubs.

Correcting for a floor that is out-of-level is another reason a clawfoot bathtub might be favored over a pedestal bathtub.  Particularly in an old home, floors may have some minor grade to them that causes water in the tub to be higher on one end (or one side, depending on the tub's orientation).  Some clawfoot tub manufacturers incorporate levelers in tub feet.  The levelers can be adjusted so the tub is level.  Pedestal tubs do not have levelers.  Also, not every clawfoot tub has levelers so check first if this is the reason you choose a clawfoot tub.

Cleaning Philosophies

Finally, we return to Estelle's justification for choosing a pedestal tub.  Clawfoot tubs expose the floor under the tub whereas a pedestal tub conceals it.  The pedestal eliminates the need to clean under the tub but it also makes it more difficult to clean behind it.  The area between the tub and the bathroom wall will be out of sight and, for most of us, out of mind.  We might worry about our children, our jobs, the economy, replacement referees, and what have you but not the dust between our pedestal tub and the bathroom wall.  Neat freaks reason that although the dust is hidden from plain view, it does exist and therefore must be tended to.  Let your own cleaning inclinations be the judge.


Whatever your reason for choosing one style of tub over another, you'll find a great selection of brand name cast iron clawfoot tubs and cast iron pedestal tubs at Shop 4 Classics.  All tubs include discount prices and free freight within the continental US.  Plus, choose a freestanding tub, clawfoot tub faucet or shower, clawfoot tub supply lines, and a clawfoot tub drain from the same manufacturer and use the TUB10 coupon code to save an additional 10% off your order total.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bungalow House Numbers: Unique Numbers for Your Unique Home

Bungalow House Numbers
Looking up the definition of “bungalow” in any dictionary will provide a pretty precise definition as a small one story home. However, a much broader definition of the term bungalow seems to be more commonly used to describe any style of small house in today’s jargon. The more liberal definition of what is considered a bungalow is likely a function of the renewed popularity of small homes. Whether due to the after effects of a crash in the excessive real estate market, desire to reduce one’s carbon footprint, or simply a new found appreciation of the unique charms of smaller homes; the bungalow is once again an extraordinarily popular choice for today’s home buyer.

Classic American bungalows of the early 1900’s best fit the style’s common dictionary definition. Entire neighborhoods of what is now often referred to as Arts & Crafts bungalows were constructed throughout the country during the building boom that followed World War I. The basic layout of these one or one and a half story homes may have been similar from coast to coast but their facades typically reflected the unique style and building materials of the region. In the decades that followed and leading up to the introduction of the ranch style home during the 1950’s, a variety of compact styles of homes were popular. The style of each of home was given their own unique name but they are all often now considered, or at least marketed, as being a bungalow.

Choosing a new set of house numbers for your bungalow should blend your personal sense of style with the home’s unique style. Bronze and copper house numbers with an Arts and Crafts font are ideal for classic Craftsman style bungalows. Similarly, bronze and copper house numbers with a rustic font look right at home on rustic bungalows. If your bungalow is actually any one of the small home styles of the 1930’s through the 1940’s, consider a unique scroll font house number to add a distinctive accent to the home’s charming exterior.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Window Hardware: Keep Old Windows Open Without Losing Your Head

Double hung windows have two sashes that slide up and down inside two channels in the window frame.  With the exception of famed architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright who called them "guillotine windows", the venerable double hung window has been popular with home builders for well over a century.

In the early days, these windows were also called "rope and pulley" windows because they featured a system of ropes and pulleys inside their wood frame.  The rope and pulley double hung window was first introduced in the middle of the nineteenth century.  It remained popular until the middle of the twentieth century when the rope and pulley system was replaced by spring suspension systems.  Rope and pulley double hung windows can still be found in many old homes today and the conscientious homeowner will make every effort to restore them.

One of the biggest problems that homeowners encounter with old wood double hung windows is that the lower sash will not stay open.  To understand why this happens, we first need to understand how the rope and pulley double hung window functions.  At the top of the window, on each side of the frame, is a pulley.  A rope loops over each pulley.  One end of the rope is attached to the sash.  The other end of the rope is tied to a cast iron weight that hangs inside a pocket hidden behind the window frame.  Equal to the weight of the sash, the cast iron weights act as a counter balance to the sash's weight.  When the rope and pulley system is in tune, the sash will lift effortlessly and will stay in place when let go.  Unfortunately, the ropes tend to break over time.  The cast iron weights crash to the bottom of their pocket.  Without their counter balance, the sash is heavy to lift and will no longer stay open.

Restoring antique rope and pulley double hung windows is a noble cause but it can also be a tedious and expensive endeavor.  Replacing a broken sash cord requires removing the sashes, window stops, and window trim.  An old home can have many windows and repairing each window can add up quickly.  Instead, homeowners often find themselves cutting off the end of a broom and using it to prop open windows.  Fortunately, there are economical alternatives.  Attractive options that don't scream, "I'm too broke to repair this window" include the following:
Window Stop

A window stop attaches to the window frame.  When the sash is lifted past the stop, the hook end swivels to catch the bottom of the sash and hold it open.  Simple but limited, the John Wright Company window stop only allows for one open position.

Side Sash Stay
A side sash stay also attaches to the window frame.  When the lever arm is lifted, the plate on the side of the stay extends; pushing the sash against the parting stop (the thin piece of wood that sits in the channel and separates the top sash from the bottom sash).  Unlike a window stop, an Antique Revelry side sash stay allows the sash to be locked in any open position.  On a warm breezy day, a side sash can keep a window wide open.  On a cool rainy day, it can hold the window only partially open.  Side sash stays can also provide a marginal measure of security.  While they won't discourage a harden criminal, the pressure on the sash can be just the deterrent that causes a petty thief or Peeping Tom to give up on a partially open window and move on to easier prey.

A rope and pulley double hung window that won't stay open can be a source of great aggravation but don't lose your head over "guillotine windows". Instead, visit Shop 4 Classics, your source for window stops, side sash stays, and other antique style window hardware for double hung windows.