Antique Fixtures and Tubs: What You Need to Know

By Chantel Simmons


Antique Fixtures and Tubs: What You Need to Know

One of the hottest trends in bathrooms is incorporating antique fixtures. Here’s how to mix old-world charm into your new bathroom style. Paula Velez, project designer with LUX Design offers these tips.

  • Antique tubs can be a great feature piece in a bathroom, and the history and craftsmanship can also be appealing to the seasoned eye,” says Velez. “Before you get too attached to the idea, there are a few things you should take into account.”
  • Make sure that your bathroom can take the weight of an old tub. Antique tubs (anything more than 50 years old) are generally much heavier and take up more space than their modern counterparts. Get a contractor to approve the quality of your floorboards before purchasing a tub to ensure you and the tub don’t end up on the dining room table one floor below.
  • If you’ve already bought an antique tub but your floorboards won’t support it, a contractor can reinforce the floorboards to take more weight.
  • Do your homework before you buy. There are many different types of antique tubs, and the price can vary dramatically. To save, buy an unrefurbished tub and fix it up yourself.
  • If buying online, take shipping and freight into consideration — they can often be more expensive than the piece itself.
  • Shop locally. You’ll be able to see the condition of the tub and also save money on shipping.
  • An antique tub can take up more floor space than a regular tub—especially in length, so be sure to measure your space and the longest part of the tub before buying. Claw-foot tubs look best with a lot of space around them, so make sure sure you won’t have to wedge the tub between three walls.
  • Buying antiques for mirrors, sinks, cabinets and hardware is a great way to give your space some history and style. Their unique qualities will turn your bathroom into a more inviting and interesting space.
  • Make sure the size of faucets, sinks, vanities and other fixtures is right for your space. Standard sizes have changed over the years, so be sure to measure twice and buy once.
  • When buying faucets, ask your plumber to give you measurements before you buy to ensure the fixture will fit with your current pipes. Wall-mounted faucets are the best choice since they’re most likely to fit plumbing.
  • If you’re looking to incorporate an antique vanity or cabinet in your bathroom, choose a vessel sink (the type that looks like a bowl sitting on top of your counter) as it will work with almost any vanity or cabinet.
  • If you love the look of an antique sink, but it doesn’t fit into your current vanity, build an encasement around it to custom fit. A gorgeous way to show off an antique sink with copper piping is to build a glass case around it. This way you can also custom fit the unit to your sink. 
  • If you’re repurposing a cabinet for the bathroom, remember that you’ll need to protect it from humidity and moisture. Painted (rather than stained) wood can chip and expose the fibres beneath, which can then swell in a moist environment. To prevent this from happening, apply a good sealer to prevent water damage. Or, replace the wood top with stone or marble. To really make items last, it’s best to seal all surfaces — both inside and out — to prevent wood from swelling and drawers from sticking.
Other Tips:
Antiques can cost multiple times more than buying new, so be sure you have it in your budget before you start your renovation.

If you love the look of Victorian or Elizabethan, but cannot afford actual antique fixtures, you can opt for a reproduction. Often it’s difficult to see the difference but, in the case of taps and sinks, the new pieces will have a warranty and are guaranteed to function properly.

Topics: Antiques, Fixtures, Bathroom, Bathtub, Furniture, Mirror, Decorating

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