How I Moved & Refinished This Clawfoot Tub (And Lived To Tell The Tale)

published May 25, 2016
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

There are two groups of people when it comes to cast iron tubs: those who believe in their preservation, and those who believe in the almighty sledgehammer. If you’re the latter, this post is not for you. For those of you who believe in preservation and love a good soak in a nice, deep tub, we think that tub should look its best. Here’s how we took ours from an eyesore to eye candy.

If you missed the eariler posts in this renovation series, first read:

  1. Inside Ashley’s “Wes Anderson Meets Worst Nightmare” Bathroom Renovation
  2. How Ashley Turned Her Pinterest Dreams Into Actual Design Decisions
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Our lovely tub was kind of worried about its trip down the stairs — as were we! Had our staircase been a few inches wider and a straight shot down, my muscly man-helpers would have been able to take it down with ease. Since we had those hurdles ahead of us we did some research to see just how people went about carrying a beast of a tub down a narrow flight of stairs. Our findings were a bit overwhelming in all directions: one person made a pulley system, one person made a slide of sorts, and many suggested it just wasn’t worth the effort. But it was to us, so at the end of the day we decided to muscle through it and get it done the ‘ol fashioned way: with sheer will and stubborn strength.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

What You Need


  • Rust-Oleum Gray Auto Body Low VOC Primer from Home Depot
  • Rust-Oleum Black Gloss Protective Enamel Paint from Home Depot


  • Painters tape
  • Paintbrush and roller
  • Sanding blocks


Our tub had many battle wounds and looked to have been painted many, many times. Because we didn’t know if we were dealing with lead paint under one of those layers we decided not to scrape it down ourselves and took the tub to a local company to have it sandblasted. It came back in the condition below —which we were very happy with! The total sandblasting cost: $125.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Step 1: Start by taping off all areas of the tub you don’t want painted. We taped all around the edge where the paint would meet the porcelain, and around the holes on the end where the faucets would eventually be installed.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It isn’t really a huge deal if you get a bit of paint on the porcelain- it scrapes off with ease once it’s completely dried.

Step 2: We started by priming our tub with Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover premium latex primer from Home Depot. This specific paint is great for metal surfaces. Apply 2-3 coats, allowing each to dry completely before starting the next, being careful to smooth out any streaks or runs in the paint.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Step 3: For the topcoat we used Rust-Oleum Black Gloss Protective Enamel Paint from Home Depot and ended up applying 3 coats. As you can see in the photo below, your tub won’t necessarily look brand new- you’ll still have a few bumps and ridges, but it will look a heck of a lot better than what you started with!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Step 4: For the legs we used Rust-Oleum 2x Ultra Cover spray paint. I wasn’t sure if brush strokes would show up, so we opted for the spray paint and were very happy with the results!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

There is no photo of the tub going back up the stairs because I was hiding out in another room with a friend who was staring into my eyes, reassuring me that everything was going to be alright and no one would get hurt (including the tub!) on its journey back to the bathroom. To my delight and glee, the guys made it back up the stairs with the tub, completely unscathed, in less than 5 minutes.

Want to see what the tub looks like in its newly remodeled home?