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Why Buy a New Cast Iron Clawfoot Bathtub Instead of an Antique Vintage Tub?

Recent Customer Installation of New Cast Iron Clawfoot Tub

You’ve just purchased a Victorian Era styled house or wish to build or remodel based on the style and are looking for a tub fitting the period. In early America, when main bathrooms came in to style, the cast iron clawfoot tub became the standard. Known for their durability and temperature retention the cast iron bathtub became the hallmark soaking tub used through several generations.

Why did they fall out of favor?
in 1883, both the Standard Sanitary Manufacturing Company (now American Standard) and Kohler began the process of enameling cast iron bathtubs to form a smooth interior surface. For a time, only the wealthy could afford the cost of a cast iron bathtub but when they started mass producing the tubs it opened up availability to home owners of lower income levels. Which was great, however, the sheer weight of the tub limited the type of houses the tub could be put in and generally only on the first floor. In many cases, having a properly reinforced floor to accommodate a heavy tub may not have been in a homeowner’s budget or consideration when building or purchasing a home back then. Other materials and lighter weight options eventually began to enter the scene and take over the market. Slowly the beautiful and timeless cast iron bathtub disappeared as an option to purchase “new”.

Why did it take them so long to emerge back in to style?
Actually, the clawfoot tub never really lost its allure to home buyers and remodelers who cherished the look and the period of American history they represent. For many years it was nearly impossible to find a brand new cast iron bathtub and buyers started turning to the secondary market. Availability of new tubs in the U.S.A. was impacted by the amount of lead content in the tubs manufactured at the time as well as the fact that the American National Standard plumbing codes changed. The change in the code essentially prevented vintage cast iron tubs from passing plumbing inspections on new builds and bathroom remodels.

Take a look at the placement of the overflow and faucet holes on a vintage tub.

Now take a look at the placement of the overflow and faucet holes on the new cast iron bathtub.

The revised plumbing codes required the placement of the overflow to be at least on-to-two inches below the rim of the tub, where the incoming waterlines come through the faucet. This is a precaution against a drop in pressure in the water line, such as a break. With the faucet being above the rim the bathwater is prevented from being siphoned out, back through the lines, which would contaminate the fresh water supply. https://law.resource.org/pub/us/code/ibr/iapmo.upc.2009.pdf

In an online article, This Old House states, “For an average cost of $350 to $500-a fraction of the $1,200 to $5,000 expense of a new cast-iron or steel tub installed — refinishers can make an antique fixture look brand new.” This may be applicable to a homeowner who has an existing cast iron tub which requires refinishing to bring it back to life as the owner is not remodeling or building a new home. If the tub is not part of the original structure the story and estimates may prove significantly higher, perhaps even more costly than purchasing a new clawfoot tub and fixtures.

Essentially, an antique cast iron clawfoot tub found on secondary seller sites such as Craigslist would have to be retrofitted to accommodate modern plumbing so as to pass inspections. This would require, not only, a thorough refinishing of the inside and outside of the bathtub but also a significant cost in plugging the existing holes on the face of the vintage tub. Both the plugging of the holes and the refinishing or reglazing of the bathtub results in a tub that is now not original porcelain on the surface. Once a the tub has been refinished or reglazed the owner now has to be concerned with cleaning chemicals and sharp or heavy items which may damage or discolor the new surface. Inevitably the tub will have to be professionally resurfaced much more often than a new porcelain cast iron bathtub.

Here at Tub King, in Jacksonville, Florida, we routinely refinish vintage tubs, farmhouse sinks, and other items. We are also the only approved refinishing/resurfacing trainer in the entire United States for Midwest Chemicals. We have a great love for the antique cast iron tubs and thoroughly understand the allure of wanting to have that “feel” and “look” of the past, which is why we sell brand new cast iron clawfoot and pedestal bathtubs for new home builders and home remodelers. In the end, what you “think” is a higher cost saves money and headaches down the road when deciding whether to purchase a new or buy a vintage tub.

When pricing the purchase of a new tub or considering the expense of retrofitting and refinishing a vintage tub, consider the long term savings of buying brand new and visit http://www.tubking.com or calling us at (800) 409-3375.


Bathtubs: The Big, The Bold, and The Beautiful

Courtesy Wikimedia

by Alan Knight

Bathtubs have been symbolic of the so-called “good life” since the days of antiquity. Nero, the infamous Roman emperor who initiated centuries of Christian persecution, probably had one of the nicest bathtubs of them all. It’s on display at the Vatican Museum. Ricky J. McRoskey, who sometimes writes for the Catholic Business Journal, saw it during a visit to Rome. 

“This was no ordinary tub. Crafted at the emperor’s behest from some of the heaviest and most expensive marble in the world, the circular sculpture has a roughly 25-foot radius and weighs thousands of pounds.  Perched on curvaceous stone legs, it’s smooth, purple, and gorgeous, and essentially looks like a colossal birdbath,” McRoskey wrote. 

“When I looked at Nero’s tub, I couldn’t help but marvel at its intoxicating magnificence, its size, its opulence, and begin to imagine servants filling the basin with warm water for Nero to bathe in a sea of suds.  How amazing, I thought, would it be to clean off in a bathtub half the size of a bedroom?  How cool would that be?  It was so polished, so deft, so clean, so sleek… So… That’s when the word finally came to me: seductive.”

Luxurious bathtubs from Tub King.
Nero wasn’t trying to keep up with the Joneses. He was the guy other Romans wanted to keep up with but probably couldn’t.  According to McRoskey, “One could not take sight of this tub and not want to bathe in it, or at the very least show it off to his neighbors.  It was indeed beautiful.”

The tub was made of purple marble. Purple was the color of royalty, and this type of marble was very desirable for its regal appearance. Purple marble was the hardest available in ancient Rome, and it was prized for monuments and building projects. The dimensions of Nero’s bathtub are not available, but from the pictures it appears to be at least four feet in height. Nero must have had a small ladder to climb in and out of it. 

Extravagant bathtubs have symbolic value and people recognize that. Any man or woman who can spend money on something as frivolous as a fancy and expensive bathtub would have to be successful and prosperous. Because of their symbolic value, bathtubs have been used as props in movies for a long time. There are numerous memorable movie scenes which portray characters living large as they bathe in their beautiful tubs. 

Courtesy Wikimedia
In 1954, iconic sex symbol Marilyn Monroe was filmed taking a luxurious bubble bath in The Seven Year Itch. Somehow, she had gotten her big toe stuck in the spout. Happens all the time, right? The plumber who came to her rescue, a blue collar hero if ever there was one, nervously dropped his wrench in the tub. He was apologetic as he reached around in the water to retrieve it. “That’s alright,” Monroe told him. That scandalous bathtub scene was removed from the film by censors.

In 1964, Cleopatra featured the incomparable Elizabeth Taylor looking her best in a circular bath made of marble. Although the marble was probably not as rare and expensive as the purple marble in Nero’s tub, Cleopatra’s bathtub looked very nice. It appeared to be large enough to fit eight people or more. There was ample room for Cleopatra’s boat and her other floating toys. In one decade, the times, and the standards for censorship of bathtub scenes had changed. Unlike Marilyn’s scene, Liz Taylor’s bathtub scene was not deleted from the final cut of the movie. 

Nearly twenty years later, Al Pacino was featured in a memorable bathtub scene as the violent drug lord Scarface. The tub looked very similar to the one in Cleopatra. Scarface was smoking a cigar and seemed to have it all, including a beautiful wife and a beautiful home with a big beautiful tub. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to be happy with all that he had. While he bathed, he chastised his wife for sitting around all day and told her to get a job as a nurse or something.

A master bathroom in a typical home could never fit a bathtub like Nero’s, or Cleopatra’s, or Scarface’s. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a movie star or a despotic tyrant to take a luxurious bath in a glamorous tub. You don’t have to spend a fortune to install a beautiful and functional bathtub, which could be the centerpiece of your bathroom. A tub like the one Marilyn Monroe appeared in could fit in many bathrooms. You can live large in your own tub in your own home.  Tub King can help.

For example, a traditional rolled top tub can make a statement without breaking the bank.  It brings back the look and feel of the early to mid-twentieth century.  Tubs with cast iron exteriors and porcelain interiors are available in a wide range of colors from Tub King. Legs can be finished in chrome, brushed nickel, oil-rubbed bronze, or in colors to fit any décor.   The rolled rim version comes in lengths of 48 inches, 54 inches, 60 inches or 66 inches.  These tubs are affordably priced with models available for under a thousand dollars. 

Another popular tub that can add a touch of elegance to many bathrooms is the Dual Ended tub.  It has a gentle slope on each end of the tub with a center drain and center faucet holes. It provides perfect balance and comes with a pedestal base or legs in whatever finish the customer prefers. Finally, the Double Slipper tub is a sight to behold.  With a high back on each end of the tub, the Double Slipper hearkens back to a more glamorous era, perhaps the Roaring Twenties. At over 72 inches in length, it can easily accommodate two consenting adults. 
In this article, I discussed Nero’s bathtub, which is on display at the Vatican. I also discussed several other beautiful bathtubs that have been used in movies. Those movies include Seven Year Itch, Cleopatra, and Scarface. I’ve mentioned that a nice bathtub can be an affordable luxury for homeowners. A beautiful new bathtub can be very affordable with prices starting under $1,000.

Would you like to receive a FREE COPY of Tub King’s Ultimate Guide to Cast Iron/Porcelain Tubs, Walk-in Tubs & Safety Suite Showers, our new e-book? Fill in the form below and we will send it to you for free! It is also for sale and you can see/buy it on Amazon.com by clicking on this link.

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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Alan Knight is the owner of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville,  Florida
He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. In addition to providing superior products, Tub King has been honored with “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Awards” for four years running. If you would like to contact Alan Knight, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to alan@tubking.com.


By Alan Knight

Courtesy of www.flickr.com

You can find a lot of advice out there about home decorating.  Usually they will focus on a certain room or even a part of the room, but who has the time to find the whole package.  Extensive reading is a luxury few have.  Trying to piece together information on decorating the entire house is daunting.  So, why not look at all the parts in one complete article.  We will take it one room at a time.
The ENTRY way of your home may seem to be an insignificant area on which to focus.  But this is not the case.  This tiny area provides the visitor with their first impression of your house.  If a visitor comes through the front door and continues on to the next room without stopping to admire something special you have failed.  Your guest needs to be greeted with a positive and welcome atmosphere from the very first moment they enter.  This can be done in a number of ways.  One of the most popular ways is to add a side table, and one that is unusual.  About thirty years ago, we moved into an upscale neighborhood in Houston, Texas.  The neighbor just behind us was very cordial and offered assistance with the move-in.  On the second day, she had noticed that we had a foyer that was causing some decorator problems.  We had nothing to really complete it.  So, she went to an antique shop, found a long, tall and narrow oriental table and brought it over.  It was beautiful.  Made of mahogany with delicate imprints and sculptured legs, it seemed to be absolutely perfect.  I was ready to pay her any amount of money to keep it, but she insisted on giving it to us as a house-warming gift.  Tables like this one can perfectly accessorize an entry area.  Also consider purchasing some art or an antique mirror to go over the table and then add décor on top of it.  If your guest does not stop at your foyer to admire your work, you need to rethink the way it is decorated.
Courtesy of  www.flickr.com

The living room or family roomcomes in all shapes and sizes.  They are multi-purpose rooms and are one of the most used spaces in the home.  This is a great place to have fun with color, pattern, and accessories.   By the way, before you start buying decorator items measure your room, shelves, windows, and other elements BEFORE going shopping.  Items in a store will always seem smaller because the store is so big.  You will be sad if you get your items home and they are the wrong scale or too small or large for a wall or table.  In most homes the family room also serves as an entertainment center.  Instead of displaying a rather utilitarian flat screen TV or stereo system in the open, why not choose an antique armoire or manor cabinet where entertainment centers can be concealed when not in use.  Then decorate the areas around that piece of furniture.  Since they are typically tall, choosing tall plants on either side is an option.  Also make the seating look warm and comfortable.  Break up the usual couch and chair with some other pieces, like a chase or deep lounging furniture.  They come in all shapes and sizes.  Also end tables for reading and floor lamps are a good choice.  The key is to create a theme and find interesting pieces, not the usual fare.   If the family room is more of an entertainment room, choose wall decorations that are more fun than artistic.  I remember one home that decorated the family room New Orleans style.  There was jazz artwork on the walls, rote iron railings in key places and even a cool player piano.  A massive antique armoire housing the entertainment pieces and even an antique popcorn machine really defined it.
Courtesy of  pixabay.com

Because kitchens are designed 98% around function, it can be hard to know where to put the pretty things.  Kitchen decor should reflect what’s happening in the kitchen.  Start with selecting pretty jars, canisters, baskets, and greenery, even silk plants or plastic fruits or veggies can’t hurt.  For counter placements, start with the corners.  If you have the height, put the taller pieces in the corner and layer out in front of them.  The canisters that hold actual food can be placed more in the middle or near the stove top.  Again, less is more in the kitchen.  Keep those counters free of clutter and keep them as clean as possible so you have more room to cook and less places to collect dust and germs.  Above cabinets, keep it free of clutter.  Again, less is more.  Some people love to pack them full from corner to corner.
Courtesy of  www.flickr.com

Bedroom colors are important.  The wise will prefer to keep the tones and patterns subdued… to create a relaxing and restful place to retreat to.  Neutral colors with accents of pattern and lots of texture can create this comforting look.  If you have a head or footboard that is a great statement piece, let them speak for themselves.  Choose simple accessories that complement the focal point-furniture.  Floating nightstands are a good way to simplify.  Also, don’t be afraid of wallpaper.  The wallpaper of today is not your grandma’s wallpaper.  Adding a pattern to the wall behind your bed, whether with paper or a stencil, creates a beautiful finished look.  Gorgeous fabrics in a bedroom is what makes them feel lush and comforting.  Most people choose to hang decor above their headboard, which is totally fine, but don’t be afraid to be different and hang pieces over your night stands instead.  Another thing, you don’t have to buy “bedroom sets” (or living room sets) because when you do, you’re allowing some salesman or manufacturer to decorate your home.  Instead, choose furniture pieces that complement each other, but don’t necessarily match each other.  Paint your side tables a fun color and then repeat that color throughout the room.  Have your headboard be a bright color and then have neutral side tables.  The ideas are endless, and I promise if you break away from the “bedroom set” idea, you’ll have a more designer look in no time.
Courtesy of  Tubking.com
The bathroom is similar to the kitchen in the fact that they mostly exist for functional purposes. That doesn’t mean you can’t add a little decor to them.  For example, for the vanity add beautiful canisters or baskets that hold the everyday items like q-tips and towels.  Tall and thin vases with greenery and flowers bring the outdoors in and soften up the hard lines of a bathroom.  One way to really add a focal point to a bathroom is the addition of a clawfoot or pedestal porcelain bathtub.  There are a few specialized companies (Tub King, Inc. for example) that have brought back the old antique style with some more modern improvements.  The slipper tub, for example, made of thick, rich porcelain comes in various sizes to fit any bath and has the sexy lines of a slipper.  Instead of placing it in a corner, as with traditional bathtubs, you redesign the bathroom to have it in the center as a key focal point.  With draperies and towel to add color to this beautiful fixture, you can really make the bathroom come alive.
One last thing, unless architectural elements call for something different (mantels, wainscot, etc.) hang your art with the center of the piece just above eye level.  A good standard is about 5 foot 5 inches.  If you look around, most people hang their frames and mirrors way higher than this… bring them down where you can actually see them.
When you examine your home room by room, does it speak to you?  Is there a consistent pattern that shows someone took time and energy to make it special?  There is a lot you can do, even on a budget.
In this article I have provided sound advice on how to decorate your house room by room, including the kitchen and bathrooms. This advice includes design styles like contemporary verses antique and architectural elements like a claw-foot tub verses a modern pedestal bathtub.  
If you would like to see examples of porcelain, claw-foot, pedestal and contemporary bathtubs, visit our website at www.tubking.com. You will not be disappointed. We hope you visit soon.

Thanks again for visiting with us.  Until next time.

Would you like to receive a free copy of our eBook – Tub King’s Ultimate Guide to Cast Iron/Porcelain Tubs, Walk-in Tubs & Safety Suite Showers? Fill in the form below and we will send it to you for free, or you can buy it on Amazon.com by clicking on this link

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At TubKing.com

Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Visit TubKing.com today

Alan Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville,  Florida. He has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, the company is also multiple time award winner, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you would like to contact him, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at alan@tubking.com.

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Things to Consider When Remodeling Your Bathroom

Photo Credit: waucc.org

In addition to cleaning, many homeowners also begin remodeling projects in the spring. After all, ’tis the season for renewal, fresh starts and new beginnings, right? Spring is a great time to reconfigure and re-create and remodeling fits right in.

Before you set out to remodel your bathroom, take a moment to evaluate what you already have.  Are you content with the size of the bathroom?  If it seems too small, there are several options available. 
One option, of course, is to make it bigger by simply rearranging the contents.  That means making better use of the space by removing old, cumbersome fixtures that may no longer serve you.  Let’s say you have an out-of-date, fiberglass shower-surround that was installed when the house was built 40 years ago.  It definitely takes up much-need space.  However, with a little effort it can be expertly removed and discarded.  But now, what do we replace it with?  An excellent option is to bring in a freestanding tub.

Photo Credit: tourfactory.com

There are several popular choices in today’s market such as the elegant porcelain/cast iron Clawfoot or Pedestal soaking tubs.  It might be the Slipper Tub design, with its high back that resembles Cinderella’s slipper, or the Dual-ended tub that offers attractive, symmetrical slopes on each end of the tub.  The Pedestal tub is also a contemporary favorite as it replaces the Clawfoot designs with a cast iron skirt at the bottom.  These cast iron/porcelain tubs all come in various sizes and can easily fill almost any space.  The point is, they won’t look like the standard, run-of-the-mill combo fiberglass tub/shower you had before.  Far from it. You are adding elegance and making better use of space.  

Photo Credit: tubking.com

An alternative approach, one that’s very much in-demand today, is the Safety Suite Shower. Available in different configurations regarding drain orientation (left, center, or right) and numerous colors/patterns, Safety Suite Showers offer a very open design with either a low threshold (usually four inches high) or a zero threshold so you can safely and easily walk or roll right in.  This is indispensable if a person is wheelchair bound or has trouble getting into a traditional bathtub.  They are extremely attractive with high tile walls and matching floor. There are various options regarding what type of built-in seat one can choose as well (fold-down, molded, etc.) Along with the shower itself, you can also choose various bathroom accessories such as bathroom paper roll, towel rack, and self, all of which are equipped with handsome, yet sturdy safety grab bars. The shower itself includes several strategically placed grab bars as well. Safety Suite Showers come in sizes ranging from 48- to 60-inch lengths, so that they can accommodate any size bathroom.

Photo Credit: nwtile.com

Another way to make better use of the space you already have is to consider doing away with the old laminate counter top and drop in sink.  Again, if your bathroom is 40 years old, the sink is usually large and takes up way too much space.  The counter top is probably a laminate variety that is already showing wear on the edges and maybe some lifting of the laminate from the pressed board underneath.  You can take advantage of some beautiful counter top choices now available.  Take, for example “natural stone.”  There is organic beauty in every stone slab.  The variations in each slab are unique and will amaze you.  The colors are spectacular.  The polished granite is highly stain- and scratch-resistant.  Another interesting option, as seen in the photograph to the left, is a combination of stone, granite and wood. Talk about natural beauty.

Since I mentioned the sink, if you have a tiny bathroom, go for a porcelain pedestal sink.  There are some slim, silhouettes out there that are perfect for a powder room or diminutive bathrooms.   The only drawback is that they offer almost zero storage space and a small deck space.  To work around this, many homeowners are creating niches in the wall for toiletries and other necessities. Unlike clunky over-the-shower headorganizers, a recessed cubby in a tub or shower surround gives shampoo and soap a permanent home that doesn’t take up premium stall space. 

Photo Credit: wallpapertren.com

If the floor of your bath looks bad, tear up that linoleum and replace it with “no-regret” tile floors.  If you want an easy-care floor, go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles such as limestone.  Unless sealed it’s been vigilantly, limestone (and other porous stone) will absorb drips and spills and become stained.  If you want a non-slip floor, choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes.  Another option would be “small” tiles with lots of grout lines, as these offer better “grip” than the larger tiles.

When caulking around tubs, sinks or tiles, it’s best to choose an acrylic caulk. It can be removed without the use of harsh chemicals so that replacement is easier.  And make sure it is mold- and mildew-resistant.
Most homes that are 50 years old or older offer an antiquated wiring service in the bathroom.  Over the years, the circuit has usually been abused by years of high-power hair drying.  So don’t just swap in GFI outlets.  Replace the wiring, too, with dedicated 20-amp circuits and plenty of outlets for all the appliances you use, from electric razors, and toothbrushes, to hair-straightening irons, hair dryers, etc.
Photo Credit: gardnerfox.com

If your bathroom is simply too small for any changes except expansion, then consider the following:  In most cases, the homeowner is not going to be happy with anything smaller than a bath  that is 3 to 4 feet wide by 6 to 8 feet long.  (Make sure to check with local codes for additional requirements.)  Some homeowners have found that by just taking out an adjoining closet, they can garner precious space without really changing the footprint of the house.  But if you must expand, contact a remodeling expert who can give you some viable options. If your lot is large enough, the contractor might be able to add a bathroom without interfering with any property lines or set-backs.  It’s important that he keeps the natural flow and design of your home.  Look at the roof style that you have in your home.  Can a gable be extended?  As you might expect, “expansion” remodeling is not cheap.  Just like new construction, it will require several sub-contractors, such as framing, floor covering, sheet rock, plumbing and electrical.  Ask for referrals, shop around and get several estimates, and then decide what you can live with.  Establish a budget that you can afford before you ever begin.

In this article, I discussed several options for homeowners to consider when remodeling their bathrooms.  I talked about replacing their current fiberglass tub/shower with a standalone cast iron/porcelain Clawfoot or Pedestal tub and/or going with the Safety Suite Showers. I also discussed various things to consider such as new sink and cabinet designs, replacing linoleum floors, upgrading the electric wiring, using acrylic caulk and more.
If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. Thanks again for visiting with us.

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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and my brother, Alan, who heads up Tub King, will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

Coming in June 2015 to Tub King! 
Alan Knight has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, they are also multi-award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact Tub King, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.

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Shocking CDC Statistics About Bathroom Injuries – and What You Can Do to Prevent Them

By Alan Knight   
Photo Credit: dorseymanagement.com

Mention the initials “CDC” in a conversation today, and most people are well aware about what organization   Especially in light of the ongoing concern and news articles pertaining to Ebola, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has virtually become a household acronym. 
you’re referring to.  According to its charter:  

“The CDC works 24/7 to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and in the U.S. Whether diseases start at home or abroad, are chronic or acute, curable or preventable, human error or deliberate attack, CDC fights disease and supports communities and citizens to do the same.”
In addition to the ramifications of Ebola and a wide range of other infectious diseases is just a portion of this organization’s important work.  For example, the CDC has an entire portion of its website (and I’d likewise assume personnel and resources) solely dedicated to “Home & Recreational Safety.”  Among its various sub-specialties:  
Photo Credit: hattycopeman.com
  • FallsOlder Adults
  • Falls – Children
  • Prescription Drug Overdose
  • Concussion in Sports
  • Water-Related Injuries
  • Poisoning
  • Fires
  • Playground Injuries
  • Bicycle-Related Injuries
  • Dog Bites 
 “We want a society where older adults can live safe, healthy and independent lives. While falls are a threat to the health of older adults and can significantly limit their ability to remain self-sufficient, the opportunity to reduce falls has never been better.  Today, there are proven interventions that can reduce falls and help older adults live better,” the organization states. 
Consequently, in 2011, the CDC issued it’s first-ever report, “Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years ― United States, 2008,”which documented the incidence and circumstances of nonfatal bathroom injuries.  
Photo Credit: safepatientsolutions.com

The reported stated there were 21.8 million persons over the age of 15 who sustained a nonfatal, unintentional injury from falling.  Significantly, the fiduciary costs of these accidents totaled over $67 billion in lifetime medical costs.

An estimated 234,094 nonfatal bathroom injuries among persons aged 15 years and over were treated in U.S.  “Approximately 80% of all bathroom injuries were caused by falls, with the highest injury rates in the oldest age groups.  For adults aged ≥65 years, falls often cause serious injuries, such as hip fractures, attributed in part to osteoporosis, a metabolic disease that makes bones porous and susceptible to fracture. This study found that older adults had the highest fracture rates and were hospitalized most often.”
Of particular note, in the opening paragraph of the report is the statement, “Information about where injuries occur is limited, but bathrooms commonly are believed to be a particularly hazardous location… All persons, but especially older adults, should be aware of bathroom activities that are associated with a high risk of injury and of environmental modifications that might reduce that risk.”  

Gender Issues

Photo Credit: allegromedical.com

According to the report, injuries sustained by elderly women were a whopping 72% higher than the rate for men. “Studies consistently have shown that women are at higher risk than men for falling and for sustaining fall-related injuries. This difference might be related to gender differences in physical activity, lower-body strength, bone mass, circumstances surrounding the fall, or greater willingness to seek medical treatment.” 

Age Factors 

Not surprisingly, injuries that were sustained in or around the bathtub or shower concomitantly increased as people got older.  The following verbiage from the report is particularly sobering for aging seniors: “Injury rates increased with age, and most injuries (81.1%) were caused by falls.  The most frequent diagnosis was contusions or abrasions (29.3%). The head or neck was the most common primary part of the body injured (31.2%).  Most patients (84.9%) were treated and released from the ED [Emergency Department]; 13.7% were treated in the ED and subsequently hospitalized.”  



Photo Credit: photocity.wordpress.com

Guess what activities contributed to the large number of falls?  Bathing, showering, or getting in and out of the tub or shower. (The other area was from standing up or sitting down or using the toilet.)  The two areas of the bathroom where most falls occurred were “in or around the tub or shower (65.8 per 100,000) and injuries that happened on or near the toilet (22.5 per 100,000).”

For all ages, the most hazardous activities were bathing, showering, or getting out of the tub or shower.  Approximately two thirds of all injuries occurred in the tub or shower, and approximately half were precipitated by bathing or showering, slipping, or getting out of the tub or shower.”

Additional Findings & Recommendations


Photo Credit: homesentpic.com

The CDC report made special mention of the fact that according to the Home Safety Council‘s 2004 report, “The State of Home Safety in America,” 63% of U.S. homes used bathtub mats or nonskid strips to help reduce bathtub falls.  However, less than 20% of private homes had grab bars. (The report noted that assisted-living facilities and nursing homes were more likely to have them, however.) The authors emphasized “adding grab bars both inside and outside the tub or shower might help prevent bathroom injuries to all household residents.”

The report also recommended that seniors should learn “effective fall prevention strategies” that would focus on specific exercises to improve strength and balance (Yoga comes to mind here. Have you ever seen photographs of elderly Indian yoga masters? They have incredible strength and balance.) 
Photo Credit: icd9code.blogspot.com

The report also recommends a medication review by a senior’s healthcare provider.  Many drugs in and of
themselves can cause dizziness. In combination with other prescriptions ― which is often the case with the elderly ― the side effects that can make seniors more susceptible to falls can be dangerously amplified.  The authors of the report also highly recommend that all adults, and in particular older adults, their families and their caregivers need to become aware of how certain activities in the bathroom can result in more frequent injuries “notably getting out of tubs and showers and getting on and off toilets.”

A Personal Concern

As Baby Boomers with aging parents, my brother Kerry and I are personally aware of these sobering statistics.  You may recall that as Kerry wrote in a previous blogs our own elderly mother has fallen several times.  And being in this business, we hear harrowing stories about the ramifications of seniors falling every day.  A sobering statement in the CDC’s report emphasizes, “Preventing falls and subsequent injuries in this vulnerable older population is critical.”   

Our Solutions


That’s why we’re proud to offer two excellent products that have repeatedly proven effective for preventing falls for the elderly and those individuals who may, for whatever reason, have mobility issues that are exacerbated by every day activities in the bathroom, particularly bathing and showering. 
Photo Credit: goldglassmosaic.om

Our Walk-in Tub offers several safety features that are specifically designed to eliminate the risk of falling.  You can read more in-depth information about each of these features in some of our previous blogs such as “Is Your Bathroom a Safe Haven or a Minefield?” “How to Avoid Needing a Senior Nursing Home?” “The Dangers of Bathrooms – Falling is a Family Matter,” but to especially highlight several of Walk-in Tubs’ “user-friendly” design elements:

  • Low Threshold, watertight door/High Sides
  • Nonslip surfaces, especially its ADA-compliant seat
  • Strategically placed interior grab bar
  • Ergonomically placed controls (temperature, handheld shower wand, hydrotherapy controls)
If you’re looking for a “safety solution” for the entire bathroom, our brand new product, Safety Suite Showers, features no-threshold and low-threshold showers. They can be custom-configured to suit the need of the individual in regards to orientation (placement of the seat, temperature controls, handheld shower wand, etc.). They also feature several different grab bars built into the shower, including one right over the often-used temperature controls. 

Photo Credit: tubking.com

But that’s not all.  You can also enhance the safety of the bathroom environment by adding matching grab-bar outfitted accessories such as towel racks, and toilet paper handles. (For more information, see our previous blog, “What’s New in Showers? Sophistication Today, Safety Tomorrow.”)

True, the bathroom can be a dangerous environment, especially for seniors.  But by being proactive and by taking several preventative measures to thwart or diminish these dangers, you and your loved ones can remain safer in the bathroom, particularly when bathing or showering.   
In this article, I discussed the sobering findings of an official report issued by the Centers for Disease Control entitled, “Nonfatal Bathroom Injuries Among Persons Aged ≥15 Years ― United States, 2008.” The report noted that “For all ages, the most hazardous activities were bathing, showering, or getting out of the tub or shower.  Approximately two thirds of all injuries occurred in the tub or shower, and approximately half were precipitated by bathing or showering, slipping, or getting out of the tub or shower.”  I cited other data presented in the report, including some of the authors’ suggestions for safety improvement.  I then discussed the numerous safety benefits of our Walk-in Tubs and our new Safety Suite Shower. 
If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. Thanks again for visiting with us.
The Benefits of Walk-in Tubs for Seniors
If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. 
Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.

Treasure Hunting for Bathtubs

When I think of a treasure hunt, I am reminded of the ancient artifacts, items covered in gold, precious items that people hold onto and pass on from generation to generation. In order for an item to fit this description, it has to have staying power. It must be durable, important and part of our everyday life.

Check out Claw foot tubs are back

Years ago, when we first started in the bathtub business, and  before cast iron/porcelain tubs were being manufactured again, my brother and I were always looking for the old clawfoot tubs, which could be refinished and sold.  We would visit wrecking companies, and plumbing supply houses to see if they had any of the old tubs that we could buy and restore.  Sometimes we would see tubs sitting outside of homes, being used as flowerpots.  We would stop and ask if the owners wanted to sell them.
For a long period of time, the clawfoot tub had virtually disappeared.  No foundries in the U.S. were casting these tubs because everyone was going to fiberglass.  So, the old style, claw-footed tubs, as beautiful as they were, disappeared.  Those we could find were always in high demand.

I remember delivering several antique sinks to a customer out in the country who lived in a farmhouse.  We had refinished these antique sinks for him, and as we off-loaded them into his living room, I noticed a huge cast iron bathtub sitting right in the middle of the floor.  It was a dual ended tub with massive claw legs.  It was 75 inches long and 35 inches wide.  It was extremely rare …and I wanted it.

I asked the customer what he was planning to do with it.  He said he and his wife were going to bury it in the back yard to make a goldfish pond.  I quickly said, “I’ll pay you $300 for it.”  They were hesitant, so I sweetened the pot a little.  “Okay, how about $300 plus the three sinks I brought you, no charge.”  The couple looked at each other.  The wife said, “Dear, that will pay for all our tile work.”  The husband thought about it and said, “Okay we’ll do it.”   Music to my ears!

We eventually sold that tub for over $4,000. How? The tub was very rare.
Today, tubs that size and shape are being recast again.  We can provide customers with the same basic tub for under $2,000.  Customers like it for reasons beyond price.  Since it is newly cast (new porcelain), it does not need to be refinished.  The legs are now plated with chrome and brushed nickel, instead of the old cast iron legs that rusted.  New faucets and hardware are readily available for the new tubs in designs that were not even available a hundred years ago. In essence, you can now own a beautiful claw foot tub that will last another hundred years without having to spend months on the treasure hunt trail. You won’t have to spend many hours and a lot of money resorting it. You can just buy and have it professionally installed it with matching fixtures, ready to enjoy, admire and use.
There has never been a better time to purchase one of these beautiful porcelain/cast iron clawfoot bathtubs.  You have so many design choices and the price is extremely low.  It will definitely add to the value of your home, and the hours of personal enjoyment cannot be easily measured.

In this article, I told you some of our treasure hunt stories, where we searched for old claw foot tubs so we could restore and sell them. Today, anyone can own one of these beautifully functional tubs, no treasure hunt needed. In fact, there are more choices, sizes and color combinations now than ever before. On top of that, prices are very reasonable. It has never been a better time to own a beautiful claw foot tub.

See our double slipper tub.

If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It has been my pleasure sharing this information with you. Thanks again for visiting with us.Until next time. 

Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” three years running. If you would like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or email them at alan@tubking.com or kerry@tubking.com.
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