Clawfoot Tub Shower – You CAN have it both ways

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So you’ve seen a few clawfoot tubs and have began appreciating this kind of classic vintage look and believe that including one of these beauties in your bathroom redesign is a great idea. Hey I’m with you; I think they’re awesome so let’s talk about some of the considerations and how to make this happen.

If you’re like most people reading this you probably have limited floor space in your bathroom. So a bath and a separate shower are out of the question. Well, thanks to a lot of innovation faucet design and plumbing over the last 20 years adding a clawfoot tub shower is easier that you may believe.

Clawfoot Tub shower with an enclosure

A traditional Eurpean Bathroom with a Clawfoot Tub Shower

Measurements and Size does matter
Before getting started there are a few things you should think about. First, take measurements of the space your tub is going to occupy. Take that number and start shopping for the largest tub that space can handle. The most common measurements for clawfoot tubs are 48”, 54”, 60”, 66” and 72”. You may chance upon larger tubs and quite possibly smaller ones as well but take my advice (and the advice of countless others) on this important point. Acquire the largest tub your budget and space can afford. The main reason is that tubs on the small end of the scale can make showers claustrophobic once the shower curtain is added. Also don’t forget that along with being a clawfoot tub shower, this is a LUXURY SOAKING TUB and stretching out in a 66” tub is nothing like soaking in a 48” or smaller.

Clawfoot Bling
Now that you’ve picked your clawfoot tub it’s time to really make it shine by picking amazing faucets and plumbing. Many American tubs will come with pre-drilled faucet holes. European tubs usually don’t which is why you will see more bathroom wall mounted faucets and showers there. For tubs that already have holes drilled you have a few different options for mounting the faucets: Deck Mounted Faucets which are usually installed at the end of the tub but in the case of double slipper tubs are sometimes mounted on the site. The other option for pre-drilled tubs is to have the faucet mounted on the wall of the tub.

If you have a tub without holes for a faucet then you’re going to have a lot of fun… seriously.  I think freestanding faucets are THE most beautiful option available.  You can read more about freestanding clawfoot tub shower faucets here.  You may not have as many options available but with this style faucet it’s difficult to go wrong.

Since this is going to be a clawfoot tub shower you are also going to need to purchase a riser (that’s the pipe that carries water to the shower head). Additionally you will need to get a showerhead as well as making sure that the faucet you pick has a diverter which will allow you to change over from the tub filler to the showerhead… just like a regular shower bathtub combo. All of that may sound daunting but don’t worry, you can often buy all of these items in a package. If you still want to do your own thing and have questions feel free to drop me a line or just contact the company you’re purchasing from.

Let’s keep it clean – Clawfoot Tub Shower Enclosures

So now that you have everything you need to make your clawfoot tub shower work you’re going to need to make sure that as you’re showering you don’t soak the bathroom in the process.

There are so many great clawfoot tub shower enclosures out there and the good news is that most of them have been manufactured by the same companies that make clawfoot tub faucets so the finishes will match exactly.

There are a few different shapes of enclosures.

Many owners with clawfoot tub showers that have a long side against the wall go with a D shaped enclosure. If you have a little more room on each side though I’d suggest going with an oval shaped enclosure. It’s going to provide a much roomier feel as well as adding a greater degree of overall elegance.

Clawfoot Tub Shower Curtains
Traditional shower curtains and clawfoot tub shower curtains are similar in all of the ways that you would expect such as material choice, mildew and water resistance with there being one BIG difference. Rather than closing off one side of a tub these curtains will need to close off all sides. Think long and hard on this one since this curtain will often times hang as the backdrop to showcase your beautiful clawfoot tub and faucet choices. Many people go with a high contrast color so that all of the hardware stands out. That’s my choice but you many people also go with complimentary colors while attempting to reproduce a vintage look or time period. It seems like I say this on everything but it’s also true with your clawfoot tub shower curtain… do it all the way! This curtain is going to be like a canvas for everything else you’ve done with your clawfoot tub shower. It will be worth it.

Be Bold
I’m sure that after reading all of this you’re ready to get started working on your ideas well get to it!! Just remember to take whatever you see out there, take the time to make it your own and BE BOLD!

7 Comments

  1. Mccaman

    those plastic shower curtains are very cheap and you can install it easily without sweat -~~

    • The Clawfoot Hunter

      They are indeed “cheap” and probably easy to install as well but as anyone who has ever “tangoed” with one of those thin curtains will tell you they’re not the best thing for the job. I always suggest going with a curtain that is at least .15mm thick which doesn’t always fall into the inexpensive category but will definitely improve your showering experience in your clawfoot tub shower.

  2. Jessica

    We are looking to redo our bathroom in our 1905 bungalow, I want to do a clawfoot, but feel completely confused about how the curtain works! There is a number of connectors to the wall, to the ceiling, to the shower head that would seemingly block the passing of the curtain. Can you help me understand? Also, we will have the tub up against a wall (length of tub) that has a window I love to look out of when I shower. Help me understand! Thanks!

    • The Clawfoot Hunter

      Sounds like a great house, maybe you can send me a picture of the bathroom when you’re done. Now, about the curtain… The curtain is confusing at first and there are a number of “blocks” as you put it along the way with the shower rod attachment points. This is where the multiple curtains come into play. So if you have two attachment points then you would need two curtains, one to handle each “section” that is blocked off. If you have 3 connector points then you will probably need 3 sections but depending on the spacing you may be able to make it with one small curtain and one really long one, you can see a 180 inch curtain in the Amazon ad at the bottom of this article: http://www.clawfoottubshowers.com/clawfoot-tub-shower-curtain/ – Well, I hope that helps and one last thing, if you look at the last image in the gallery on this page you will see a two curtain setup really clearly.. maybe that helps?? Let me know.

  3. Jessica Mason

    Hello again!

    We are well on our way of planning and starting to purchase the fixtures for our June renovation. We will be purchasing a 31×67 double ended clawfoot tub. My question is, what size enclosure do I buy? I really like the “oval” shape but am unclear functionally AND asthetically, do I go larger or smaller than the tub? Seems as though my choices are 32×72 or 30×60. What looks better, works better?

    Thanks,
    Jess

  4. Megan

    Hello! We are looking to renovate our master bathroom that has a small tiled shower with a shower door and no tub. Is it possible to take that shower out and place a claw foot tub in the area it was in and then use a shower head mounted from the wall of the bathroom instead of having to pipe something new since it is already there? Would that look odd? We are hoping to not have to do major plumbing work if its not necessary!

    Thank you!

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