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26 Main St.
Windsor, VT 05089

802 227 0008

Pure. Fresh. Vermont

That's what we offer at the Snapdragon Inn. Join us for a  relaxing getaway and explore the Upper Valley of Vermont and New Hampshire. 

Snapdragon Inn blog

Refinishing Cast Iron Claw Foot Tubs

The Snapdragon Inn

We hope this post is a quick summary of your options when finishing cast iron claw foot tubs. After a lot of research and dead ends, we have decided on a refinishing process developed by a company called Miracle Method.

There are a couple large companies with franchises operating in the tub refinishing market. The two largest are Permaglaze and Miracle Method. They each have their own proprietary methods, but the general process (for all tubs) is:

  1. Clean bathtubs and remove old caulking and sealants.
  2. Mask around the bath tub and cover areas not to be refinished.
  3. Remove fixtures and overflow cover.
  4. Set up ventilation fan to vent overspray and odor outside.
  5. Lightly sand entire bathtub.
  6. Depending on the service you choose, the tub may also be etched with acid to help the coatings adhere (Miracle Method does not etch.)
  7. Vacuum bathtub.
  8. Fill chipped, scratched, or worn areas, then sand smooth. If there is extensive damage, the restorer may charge nominal extra fees for this.
  9. Put down drop-cloths and covers over cabinets, sinks, fixtures, toilet, etc.
  10. Spray-paint up to 3 coats of a primer; let dry.
  11. Between 3-4 layers of top coat mixture are spray-painted.
  12. Miracle Method comes back a few days later for a final buffing. Permaglaze does not do this because they say that their process does not lead to imperfections that would necessitate buffing.

With a claw foot tub there are some variations as you are actually dealing with the entire tub and not just the facing or "liner" as some people call it. So stripping and priming he exterior and the feet of the tub may also be part of the process.

In addition to these two companies there are a number of independent operators out there, but they seem hard to find and really word of mouth reference is the only way to check their work. With one of the large firms there is a guarantee of training, a franchise evaluation, and usually a guarantee on the final product. Miracle Method offers a five-year guarantee, but with proper cleaning, it should not have to be redone.

Doug Painter, who is the Miracle Method franchise owner in Vermont, came by the Snapdragon Inn to inspect all three of your antique claw foot tubs. While exact dating on all the tubs is hard to pin down, we know at least one of them was manufactured in April 29, 1925. That is an 84 year old tub.

The other two tubs have the following markings:

Doug provided us with three options on the antique tubs. We could finish the inside only, finish the inside and outside with some labor on our part, or have Doug complete the entire job.

Due to time restrictions and other projects underway, we chose to have Miracle Method complete the entire job. The quote is approximately $850 per tub including refinishing the interior, stripping the exterior, and priming the exterior--which will allow us to paint them as originally intended when they were constructed.

By comparison, a new cast iron tub of high quality is about $1,400, plus fixtures, plus shipping. We have purchased a beautiful new one for the third floor, so we know.

Everything kicks of Tuesday so we will provide before and after pictures along with out thoughts on the process. We know these tubs meant a lot to the Perkins clan and their extended family, so we are happy to restore them.