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How to Choose a Clawfoot Bathtub

4 important considerations for choosing a new clawfoot bathtub

How to Choose a Clawfoot BathtubMillions of clawfoot bathtubs were made between 1890 and 1940, when this style of tub was the de facto choice for every American home. Clawfoot tubs are enjoying a renaissance these days, with modern manufacturers offering new design twists on this classic fixture. Here are the 4 most important factors you’ll need to consider when picking out a clawfoot tub for your bathroom.

Tub Size

The very first factor you are going to want to consider when choosing a clawfoot bathtub is the size. While the original style of clawfoot tub typically measured 5 feet long, today you have many more options to choose from. If you are a tall person or have a lot of space to work with you may want a 6-foot-long tub, and if you are trying to fit a clawfoot tub into a smaller bathroom you might want to size down to 4 or 4.5 feet.

Tub Shape

There are actually several different shapes of clawfoot bathtubs to choose from. The most traditional shape is often known as a “roll rim” tub and has one flat end (typically placed into a corner) and one rounded end for the bather to lean back against.

Slipper clawfoot tubs are also a very traditional shape. This tub has a high back at one end to make it more comfortable to sit up in the tub while bathing.

If you like more symmetry in your clawfoot tub shape, consider either a double-ended clawfoot tub or a double-ended slipper tub. With both of these tubs, the bather can face either way comfortably—or even share the tub with another bather without anyone getting stabbed in the back by a faucet.

Plumbing Placement

You will also need to think about where you want the faucets and drain to be placed when picking out your clawfoot bathtub. With a double-ended tub, the holes for the plumbing (aka “drillings”) will always be on the side of the tub, and with a traditional roll rim tub they will always be on the flat end.

However, you can still choose whether you want the faucets to be mounted on the tub itself or on the wall or floor beside the tub. If the faucets are to mount on the tub, you may be able to choose between having them run through holes drilled in the side of the tub or through holes in the rim of the tub.


One final consideration for picking out your clawfoot bathtub will be whether you prefer a cast iron tub or an acrylic one. Cast iron with a porcelain finish is of course the traditional choice, and while it does tend to look and feel more historically authentic, if you chip or scratch the porcelain it will be difficult to fix. Acrylic tubs are actually a bit easier to scratch, but any scratches need not turn into permanent blemishes because it is relatively easy to sand and polish them away.

To see our selection of clawfoot tubs in person, come visit our showroom.