Pedicure Day for the Bathtub

Well, dudes and dudettes... I have some good news and some bad news.  The good news is that my new claw foot tub has been delivered to the house to the tune of $325 (which included delivery).  The bad news is, this sucker is going to take a lot more than a weekend to finish.  I was so wrong about how much it would take to get chubby tubby into shape.  But, in the meantime, here's our progress. We're starting on the bottom of the tub since it obviously requires the most work.  All of the feet were bolted into the bottom, so all we had to do was unscrew them to free them from the bottom of the tub.  (Although it sounds easy, they were pretty rusted in there, so it took some man power.)  We're definitely going to have to replace those bolts when we put the feet back on.  They were so rusted that there was no way to salvage them. I had this brilliant idea to use a paint remover/de greaser to get the first coat of paint of of the feet.  I found this one at Lowes and purchased it since it was water based and low VOC.  Sounds promising, right?

So, I coated the feet with the gel using a paintbrush and let it sit.

While the feet were "soaking", the husband and I got started on the main part of the tub.

The biggest problem was the side that will eventually be facing us when the tub is installed.  (Of course, right?)  The previous owners had caulked it into the wall, so it had a thick layer of white mess all over it.  When they pulled it out of the wall, it even took a baseboard with it that was still attached.

Luckily, once we scored the caulk with a box cutter, we were able to peel off most of it.

Once we peeled off all that we could get, we were left with this:

As you can see, there was still quite a bit of caulk left on the top of it, but it was too thin to peel.  So, I took 80 grit sandpaper and started sanding until my hands went numb.  Then I was left with this:

Vast improvement.  Now, back to the feet.

After they had been sitting in the paint remover for a while, I took a Scotch scrubber pad and went at them.  And, the results weren't that great.  The next tactic was to sand the crap out of them.  That was much more effective.

Once they were sanded down, I dumped them into a bucket of CLR to remove some of the extra rust that was on them.

I bet you guys can guess the next step.

More scrubbing!  This time, cleaning off all of the CLR and the rust.  We went through a rotation with the feet... CLR bucket, scrub, back to the CLR bucket, scrub some more... until we were finally convinced we had gotten all of the muck off of them and the surface was smooth.

Then, it was time for painting.  I used two coats of Rustoleum's Metallic Spray Paint in Satin Nickel, making sure to spray really lightly to not get any dripping.

Here's a close-up so that you can better see the finish and the cute little claws.

So pretty, sparkly, and new (looking).  It amazed me how much detail was in the feet once we were able to get through the mess.  There is one foot that's not in amazing shape... it has a giant hole on one of the "toes", so we'll just put that one in the back corner when we're reassembling the tub.

With the feet done, we moved back to the tub.  We've been rotating through almost the same process that we used on the feet on the outside of the tub.  But, instead of CLR, we're using diluted bleach.  So, we're sanding, then scrubbing down with bleach and steel wool, then sanding again, and then bleaching, and then... you get the point.  We're just trying to get the smoothest possible surface so that we don't have any weird bumps or peeling paint in the future.

Here's where we ended up on Sunday night:

It's getting there... slowly.  BTW, here are the before pictures one more time so that you don't have to scroll all the way back up:

When you look at the "before" and the "in progress", it definitely looks like we've made some headway... right?  I had no idea what a big project this was going to be when we took it on - but I can't wait to see the final product once it's all painted with its pretty new claw toes on.

Side note, this thing is an amazing work out!  I was sweating bullets scrubbing this sucker.

What did you guys do over the Cinco de Mayo weekend?  Anyone else take on a project that turned out to be bigger than imagined?  Anyone lucky spend it drinking Coronas by the pool?  (If so, I am incredibly jealous.)  Either way, hope it was a great one!

6 Replies to “Pedicure Day for the Bathtub”

  1. So excited to see the final results for this project! Nothing beats a great before & after. 🙂 It’ll be quite the addition to your current bathroom.

    Also: Thrilled to see you updating more, Shane! I’ve missed you on the interwebs. Will you finally have more free time now that THE DICTATOR is opening?

    1. Thanks, Stac! I’m excited, too! It’ll be nice to get some fun, youthful blue into that ugly bathroom and get rid of all of the ugly. Slowly but surely…

      I’ve missed you on the interwebs, too! I get so excited when I see a Sleepy Peach update. Yes, I should be a lot more available now that The Dictator is over. The problem was that in addition to doing almost 200 shots on that show, we were also working on Chernobyl Diaries, another film project I can’t mention yet, and 3 other large commercial spots. It was madness. March and April completely disappeared off the map for me.

      PS – So excited for you to move here! We have so much building that’s going to happen in our near future. I can feel it.

  2. Wow, that’s a huge amount of work! We have an old claw tub we’ve been thinking about refinishing, and while it isn’t nearly as rough as your ‘new’ one the sheer time and effort needed to do it is daunting. Kudos to you guys for tackling this project, I know it’ll turn out amazing when you’re finished. 🙂

    1. Thanks, Martina! So great to hear from you! Yes, getting started is always the hardest part, isn’t it? Let me know if you decide to take it on!

  3. What a job, but it looks fantastic in the after shots! We have an old claw foot bathtub at our family cottage and I must say it is the only place I ever take a bath –not to say I never bathe, ha ha! I just take showers. But that thing is so deep and comfortable. Can’t wait to see the finished product, and so glad I found your blog!

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