Antique Tubs and Sinks

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 12, 2012

If you have an older home, you will likely want to maintain most of its character even when renovating. A great home improvement option in older homes is to maintain or upgrade the antique fixtures in the bathrooms.

Antique Tubs
Antique bathtubs may be stained, peeling, need new claw feet or new plumbing and fixtures. A number of bathtub refinishing companies exist but be sure to find out if they are experienced at working with cast iron tubs before you sign on the dotted line. These companies can strip away all of the old finishes and then coat the tub anew. While tub refinishing can be relatively inexpensive, know that the new finish will not last indefinitely and, depending on your tub, it may be difficult or expensive to find the right hardware to upgrade and connect your bathtub.

Alternatively, there are modern bathtubs available with the styling of antique tubs, right down to the claw feet.

Antique Sinks and Vanities
Pedestal sinks were quite common, particularly in the 1930s. Refurbishing your existing sink or installing a new pedestal sink is an excellent nod to the era.

If, rather than a pedestal sink, you are using an antique vanity, a new sink can be added to the vanity. When repurposing an older cabinet into a vanity, one option would be to use a vessel sink on top and a wall-mounted faucet. This would reduce the modifications required on the original piece. And don’t forget, this is old wood that you are putting in a humid environment, be sure to take the proper steps to protect it from damage.

One fixture that you surely will want to upgrade is the toilet. Toilets today use considerably less water than the toilets of yesteryear and are therefore much easier on the environment and on your pocketbook. With a bit of searching, you should be able to find a toilet with similar lines to your tub and sink.

A number of manufacturers offer modern plumbing fixtures like taps, faucets and showerheads with classic, antique styling. The Quentin Collection from American Standard is an excellent example of traditional fixtures. If you are keeping your antique tub and sink, you will have to ensure that the new taps and faucets are the right size for your existing permanent fixtures since standard sizes and spacing have changed over the years.

Finishing Touches
Finishing touches can most certainly help you attain the look you are trying to achieve. Adding wainscoting on the walls, antique mirrors and cupboards and vintage-inspired lighting fixtures can help add old-warm charm to your bathroom.

Inspiration: HGTV and This Old House

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