Antique Bathtub Refinishing: Restoring Atlanta’s History


In metro Atlanta, areas such as Midtown, Buckhead, Morningside, the Virginia Highlands, Little Five Points, Inman Park and Decatur all have one thing in common: a vast selection of historic homes. Depending on who has owned these properties will determine whether you may experience the charm of the original architecture or find a more contemporary design. As these homes have aged, it is not uncommon to find renovations have been done at least once. However if you are fortunate enough to have purchased one in its old-world glory, then you have the power to choose the outcome of the remodel. Those with an appreciation for tradition choose restoration over renovation; this includes every component from the front porch to the bathroom. And in the event that you find your bath equipped with an old dull footed bathtub, this can be preserved as well. Using the method of bathtub refinishing will return the look of this antique fixture to its original era.

Before deciding whether bathing refinishing is the right choice, you must first consider the overall condition of the bathtub. Most footed bathtubs found in the bathroom will likely have only suffered from the elements of normal bathing and harsh cleansers. These are generally the best candidates as they are in place and ready to be refurbished with the rest of the house. There are cases though where these tubs have been removed; giving your home the feel you desire then requires obtaining an antique tub from somewhere else. Fortunately, antique bathtubs can be found in abundance if you know where to look. Atlanta has several flea markets, antique stores and shows where they can typically be located and at very reasonable prices. If you choose to purchase one however there are several things you should look for. Remember the bathtub refinishing process is only as good as the bathtub that is being refinished.

First, examine the exterior; if it appears that several layers of paint are flaking off and it’s extremely rusted underneath then take caution before buying. The outside is a cast iron finish, unlike its inside counterpart which is baked with porcelain. A good way to keep the cost down is to refresh the paint on the exterior yourself as it requires much more preparation than the interior. Second, determine stability of the bathtub; be sure it has the original feet and that they keep the bathtub secure. If it is missing the original feet, be certain the ones provided will fit and lock tightly in place. Third, inspect the interior thoroughly and completely; use not only your eyes but your hands as well. Sometimes extreme wear may not be visible and it requires feeling to verify its presence. Also look for chips in the porcelain or deep scratches. The less preparation work needing to be done to the inside the better, as with refinishing any antique you are subject to unfixable flaws. Finally, assess the bathtub as a whole; decide whether it meets the criteria for bathtub refinishing overall. Keep in mind that finding a perfect bathtub is improbable. Some of these antique bathtubs date back to the end of the 19th century and have been exposed to everything from weather to physical mistreatment. It may be that you have to deal with some minor imperfections in order to obtain a solid and sturdy bathtub that will suit your needs. Once you have found the perfect antique bathtub the refinishing process can begin.

As with any renovation project in Atlanta, restoring an old home can be an immense task. Oftentimes you may be lucky to even find reproductions of materials used to fabricate the original look and feel. When it comes to your antique bathtub, you can rest assured that bathtub refinishing provides a quality synthetic to replicate an appearance of yesterday.