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.

Conclusion

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.

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