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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.


Need a Job? How to Find a Good One That Requires No Experience

Should I Learn Bathtub Refinishing?

By Alan Knight

For over 20 years now, bathtub refinishing has been an option for restoring and beautifying ugly bathtubs.  I recently read an article that raised the question, “Is bathtub refinishing a scam?”  The article concluded, “No, it is not a scam, it is simply an option.”  Those interested in the subject are concerned for one of a number of reasons:

1.    Their bathtub is an out-of-date color and they want to modernize it.  Old colors that date back to the 50s include: blue, pink, green, yellow, red, various earth tones, and black.
2.    The bathtub is missing porcelain, or is chipped, scratched or cracked.
3.    The bathtub is dull and has lost its shine.
4.    The tub is stained and simply looks dirty.
Courtesy of www.fluentd.org

Just a few years ago, most people had never heard of Bathtub Refinishing.  It was thought that the only answer to an ugly bathtub was to simply jerk it out of the bathroom and replace it with a new one.  That’s certainly an option, but unfortunately an expensive one.  When you really do the research, you’ll find that removal and replacement with a new tub involves several expensive steps.  

First, the old tub must be removed.  That means it will have to be detached from all plumbing and its connection with wall tile and floor tile.  Who is going to do this?  The homeowner is ill-equipped to undertake such a thing.  The tub may weigh upwards of 300 pounds if it is made of cast iron or steel.  If it is made of fiberglass, it will make a tremendous mess.  Greater yet, if it is a fiberglass shower surround model, it may require you cut it in pieces using a power saw, just to get it through the bathroom door and out of your house. A major undertaking, to say the least.

That’s just the tub.  You also must consider repairing the floor and the tile wall.  Once all that is repaired and the bathroom cleaned up, you must go shopping for a new tub.  That’s not an inexpensive choice either.  It will require delivery to your home.  It must fit in the existing space occupied by your previous tub.  All the plumbing hook ups must be made including the drain, which can be very temperamental.  The tile and the floor must be repaired and painting may be required in the bathroom.  Once you’ve done all this, the price tag is most likely much more than the cost of having the tub refinished, plus you have lost a lot of your own personal time persuing the project.
Courtesy of www.comedycentral.nl

Many do-it-yourselfers have had the misconception that refinishing a bathtub was a simple process that anyone can do.  Maybe they have visited Lowe’s or Home Depot and seen a refinishing “do-it-yourself” kit in the paint department. Unfortunately, it rarely works.  First, the materials sold are not the quality needed to have pleasing, long-term results.  It requires a person to use a brush or roller to apply the coating products.  Again, the results are not going to please the average person.  There is a huge difference between spraying an application and rolling it on.  You might say, “I know how to use a sprayer.”  Maybe, but is it the right system?  The only system that works with the quality of a fine finish, similar to the original, is an HVLP rig.  That stands for High Volume, Low Pressure, and requires a professional to apply it.

If you really want to have your tub refinished, there are only two choices:
1.    Hire a professional from a reliable refinishing company to do it right. Make sure you check them out beforehand. Try to get references, and if you can, speak to someone who has used their services.  The customary charge to refinish a bathtub can range from $300 to $600,based upon the amount of work that must be done.  Believe me, the price is well worth it.  Don’t try to do something that you are not trained to do.

2.    Learn from a professional training center how to refinish your tub.  You might be thinking this is too expensive, but really it’s not.  For as little as $495, you can learn to refinish your own tub (as well as cabinets, counter tops, etc.), and turn it into a business.

register ASAP


One such school in Jacksonville, Florida, taught each month by Tub King, offers a convenient two-day seminar around a weekend format to train the layperson to refinish bathtubs and other items.  The reason you need professional training is because everything you need to properly refinish a tub is highly specialized. (See our previous blog, “Invest in Yourself for the New Year.“) 
Among the equipment you’ll need, as mentioned before, is an HVLP Spray Rig.  This means the low pressure ensures the coating material goes onto the tub surface and not into the air where the smell and over spray can enter the rest of the house.  

All of the coating and other materials that we teach you about (and use when we refinish a tub) are professional grade.
Let’s start with the cleaning products.  Not just any cleaner can properly prepare the tub for refinishing.  It must be good at removing soap scum, oil, grease, as well as dirt.  The tub must also be properly etched.  That means a mild acid must be applied to the porcelain to rough up the surface and make it more receptive to the coating.  The exception would be that if the tub is made of fiberglass, then the process of etching would take place by sanding the surface.  The tub would then require another cleaning using a solvent or a high-grade isopropal alcohol solution. 
Courtesy of www.thecuresafety.com


The first phase of coating requires a high-grade spray-on primer that dries quickly.  Only then is the surface ready for the application of the professional top coat.  The very best topcoats are acrylics.  They will hold up much better than expoxies.  This is also applied using the HVLP Spray Rig.  The very best available can only be purchased from bathtub refinishing companies or specialized chemical companies.

During this entire process, many preparations must be made.  For example, the tub must not only be cleaned, but any repairs must be made before starting.  This is a science in itself and is something that comes only through proper training.

Furthermore, the entire area around the tub must be covered with masking paper and masking tape.  The floor must be covered and anything else that might come in contact with over spray.  The technician involved in the refinishing process must protect him or herself as well.  There should be proper ventilation in the bathroom.  A fume extractor with a sufficient length of hose should be used and the technician must wear the proper protective gear, such as a high-quality respirator.  Proper skin covering should also be considered.

You might say, “This is an extremely involved process.”  Yes, it is, and that’s why you should either hire a professional or get professional training yourself.  You could actually go through the training process for about the same price as a bathtub refinishing.  

And there is one added bonus.  After receiving a Certificate of Completion from Tub King’s course, you can start your own bathtub and kitchen refinishing business.  With the purchase of a professional spray rig, approximately $700 of coating materials, you’re now a skilled contract laborer.  Not only would you now be trained to refinish tubs, but also counter tops, ceramic tile, appliances, sinks, and cabinets.  Whether part-time or full-time, this could expand your income far beyond just being able to refinish your own tub.
register ASAP


In this article, I discussed what’s involved in refinishing a bathtub and properly preparing the bathroom in advance of the project. I explained the factors and costs and show that for many, it’s worth taking a professional refinishing class to make sure the job is done right. Taking the class provides a special bonus: You’re now prepared to do this for others and make money doing it.

Have a question?  Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed below and I’ll personally get back to you.  Thanks for reading; it’s been my pleasure to share this information with you.

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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. His companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. To contact Tub King directly, call (800)843-4231 or email alan@tubking.com.


How to Win over Unemployment

By Kerry Knight

Phot Credit: anticap.wordpress.com

The job reports that have come out in the last few months are very deceiving.  Our job-challenged, sluggisheconomy hasn’t gotten any better over the last few years, and reports about the actual numbers of those currently unemployed are hiding some alarming secrets.

First, “unemployment” rolls don’t tell the whole story.  A very large number of those who are no longer showing up as “unemployed” have simply stopped looking for work.  Why?  They have given up hope.  No one is hiring them.
Second, a large number of those who have finally found work have gone into part-time jobs.  That’s right.  All they could find was part-time employment.  That is certainly not sufficient to maintain any kind of lifestyle, but it is all they could find.  How do you survive on a limited, part-time income?
Now, on a positive note, let’s talk about a way to win over this “unemployment” crisis.  Let’s put hope right where it belongs, in our own laps.  Let’s stop depending on government handouts and/or poor choices of part-time work.  Why not decide to go into business for yourself?  Yes, there is a risk, but there is a greater risk by doing nothing.
Photo Credit: spotontub.com
There is a fantastic business that you go into with very little capital upfront, which can help put you back on your financial feet.  It requires a set of hands-on skills that you can learn.  It’s called Bath and Kitchen Refinishing.  It involves refinishing, restoring and resurfacing old surfaces to make them look like new again, without the huge expense of tearing them out and replacing them with new fixtures.


Let’s look at something as simple as a bathtub.  Old tubs can become damaged due to chips, scratches, and cracks.  They can become faded over time, discolored, stained, and dull.  With refinishing, you can produce a new surface, shiny and bright, without having to remove a single thing, and the cost to the customer is about a fourth of what it would cost to take it out their old tub and replace it with a new one.
The same process applies to porcelain, fiberglass, acrylic, cast iron, steel, and laminate, Formica, wood, ceramic and stone.  You can refinish bathtubs, sinks, countertops, appliances, cabinets and floors. The earning potential is significant, and you won’t have to depend upon anyone but yourself.
Photo Credit: tubking.com
Tub King, Inc., offers an excellent, three-day training school in refinishing for under $500.  Our

internationally attended Bath & Kitchen Refinishing certifies participants in the art and craft of refinishing several different types of Clawfoot bathtubs, sinks, countertops, cabinets, tile, etc.

For the past decade, people from all over the world have traveled to Jacksonville, Florida to attend our class. Previous participants have hailed from Canada, Colombia, Spain and Germany and, of course, from all over the United States. The class runs Friday and Saturday, unless the class size is larger, in which case, the class is continued into Sunday. The class usually runs for a full eight hours each day with a free lunch included. The class is taught by Tub King’s Operation Manager, Mike Turner, who has been instructing the class for well over a year.
 Bathroom and Kitchen Refinishing Class
During the class, participants learn about the entire refinishing process, repairing damaged bathtubs, spraying the tubs to make them look new, refinishing countertops, and more. The students are taught the various skills and then are able to practice in real-time, during the class. It’s here they’ll actually get hands-on experience in learning how refinish a variety of Clawfoot bathtubs, countertops, sinks, cabinets, etc.  At the conclusion of the class students, are awarded a Certificate of Completion as a trained refinishing professional.
Our in-depth curriculum includes: 
Photo Credit: kitchen-counter-tops.net
  • An Overview of the Refinishing Industry
  • How to Select the Right Equipment
  • Proper Preparation
  • What are the Most Reliable Coating Products
  • How to Refinish Porcelain (sinks and tubs)
  • Striking Gold in Antique Clawfoot Bathtubs
  • How to Refinish Fiberglass
  • How to Do Spot Repairs
  • What are the Most Effective Cleaners
  • How to Refinish Kitchen Countertops
  • How to Refinish Appliances
  • How to Refinish Ceramic Tile
  • How Refinish Kitchen & Bathroom Cabinets
  • How to Create Multi-speck Patterns
  • How to Refinish Concrete
  • Bathtub Conversion (for Walk-in Tubs) for seniors
  • Truck Bed liners (which is a separate business all in itself)
  • How to Properly Set Up Your Business
  • A Review of the Best Marketing & Advertising Strategies
  • Using Key Strategies to Obtain Work for Months
The class empowers students to be able to work for themselves to change and improve their lives as a Upon completion, students “put up their shingle” and can earn a decent income by providing their professional services, whether it’s in commercial, residential or doing antique work.

certified refinisher.

Photo Credit: preweb.com
Equipment and coating materials are inexpensive and there are many avenues for advertising that are cheap. In fact, we also offer our students advertising assistance; so in addition to offering expert hands-on training, the class also addresses marketing techniques to help our students’ get started with their refinishing business. We offer marketing assistance in the form of brochures, advertisements, and flyers.
We also have an active referral program. Every class graduate is added to Tub King’s database of certified refinishers. When someone from another state contacts us to find out if we’d recommend a professional for any of their refinishing projects, we help them get in touch with one of our graduates who’s nearby them.  Tub King strongly feels that it’s not successful as a teacher if its students aren’t successful.
Photo Credit: ethanrai.com
So take a look at this opportunity.  It may be just the thing for you.  Stop depending on others for creating a better future for you.  Only you can do that for yourself.


In this article, I provided a solution to the issues surrounding our nation’s current “unemployment” figures. I then recommended that those looking to better their standing, look into Tub King’s internationally acclaimed Bath and Kitchen Refinishing course. I went into detail about the weekend course’s hands-on curriculum, and also mentioned some of the things we do to facilitate our graduates’ business success, in terms of setting up their business and marketing. 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’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.
Walk-in Tub Buyers’ Guide
Thanks again for visiting with us.
Come see us at the Orlando Home Show, October 24-26 at the Orange County Convention Center.
 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.
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Time to Get a "Side" Job

Are you out of work or know of someone who can’t find a job? I keep hearing the same thing over and over from lots of people. Good jobs are few and far between. Something new that I am starting to see is people taking matters into their own hands. People are tired of the media saying that job growth is positive only to then see the numbers adjust down to negative growth a few months later.

Regardless of the spin some are placing on the job market, we still appear to be headed for more bad news.  Many of those who were looking for work over the last six months to a year have given up.  Many who were able to find employment had to take a cut in pay and appear to be “over-qualified” for what they are doing.  And still others have had to find employment that is part-time, not full-time.  As the unemployed labor pool grows restless, there appears to be no help coming from the government.  So, what do we do?

Maybe it’s time we took matters into our own hands.  Instead of blaming the current administration (and I’m sure there’s plenty of justification there) let’s look to ourselves.  It’s time we stopped looking to others for help.  We have it within ourselves to put our life back on track.  If there is no job out there for which you are qualified, create your own business.  Start something you can operate part-time or full-time, based upon your circumstances.

One such area would be returning to school, or better yet being trained for a new profession.  There are many training schools around that can provide you with a new skill, and some that could be very profitable.  One such area is in BATH AND KITCHEN REFINISHING.

This process involves going into a bathroom or kitchen and restoring fixtures that are worn out or outdated.  For instance, you could put a new surface on a bathtub, giving it a bright shine and new durability for a fraction of the cost of replacing it.  This is a win-win situation both for the homeowner and the technician.  This new surface can also be applied to ceramic tile, counter-tops, sinks, appliances, and cabinets.  You could literally transform a rundown house into something of beauty for very little money.  Learning this trade can be accomplished in a weekend.  Perfecting it will take practice in order to gain experience.  But the first step is finding a Refinishing School that offers the training. 

Testimonial on our refinishing process.

The equipment you will need typically costs under two thousand dollars.  However, this can be recouped in a hurry.  That would include a spray rig and coating material, a fume extractor, respirator, and other incidentals.

Refinishing a bathtub can be done in approximately two hours.  The customary charge for this service is about $300.  It would not take long to build this into a nice “side” business or something more permanent.

If you want to learn about bathtub and sink refinishing give us a call. We offer classes that teach anyone how to refinish bathtubs and sinks. The classes are hands on and show you how to get started. Here is a link to our contact pagethat talks about the class.   For more details on the training visit us here at TubKing.com
So, instead of getting depressed over the lack of opportunities in the job market, think about creating your own business. It’s an opportunity that can put you back in control of your financial destiny. You will feel better about yourself, and with the profits you can make, your financial burdens can be lifted.

Video about our refinishing class.

In this article, I discussed how a person could take control of their own job market by starting a bathtub and sink refinishing business. Start-up costs are low and profit margins are strong. We offer a training class that shows a beginner what they need to get started in the bathtub refinishing business. Best of all, you won’t have to rely on someone else for a paycheck.

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 learn more about the bathtub refinishing business, visit us at TubKing.com.  Have other questions? 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. It’s 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
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Don’t Replace Your Tub, Refinish It

By Kerry Knight

One of the primary concerns of home owners today is the cost of remodeling their bathrooms and kitchens. Finding the right style, size that fits and is the right color is often an obstacle.  Buying new tubs, and sinks can set you back quite a bit.
Are you aware of a process for beautifying your bathtub, colors such as harvest gold, avocado green, brown, black, yellow, blue, red, and represent a generation long since passed.
without having to replace it.  Many bathtubs today are old, discolored, dull, and damaged.  Many have outdated
The expense of having the tub ripped out and replaced with a new one can easily reach $2000 to $3000.  Many old tubs won’t even fit through the door, so major demolition has to be done.  Then there is the cost of replacing tile, flooring, sheetrock, doors and much more.
A pleasant alternative to all this is to simply have the tub refinished.
The advantages are many:  First, nothing needs to be removed.  The refinished tub stays in place.  Second, the process can be completed in less than a day.  Third, the savings are significant.  A tub can be refinished for as little as $250.00. 
The process involves cleaning the tub and etching it to make the surface porous.  Then an aerospace primer is applied using an HVLP system.  With the surface properly prepared, a high gloss porcelain topcoat is applied,  giving the tub a like new appearance.
The HVLP Spray System stands for high volume, low pressure.  Simply put, this means the coating that is sprayed stays on the surface instead of accumulating into the air.  There is very little overspray.  This eliminates any odor problems.
You will be able to change colors to any new color you choose.color scheme is easier than ever. This is the most inexpensive remodeling you will ever do.  Many have saved up to 80% of the cost of tear out and replacement.    And it’s not just bathtubs.  You can have your ceramic tile, bath sinks and counters refinished, as well.    Now matching colors or fitting a
When money is tight, like it is today, this is a great way to give your

bathroom a nice facelift. And don’t forget the kitchen.  You can have your kitchen countertops, sinks, cabinets and even appliances refinished.

In this article, I have explained a revolutionary process that can save lots of money when remodeling a bathroom, or kitchen.  I have explained a process (the HVLP system) that allows you to have a bathtub or sink totally refinished at a very low cost. This system allows a wide variety of color choices making it easy to match color schemes when designing and remodeling your bathroom or kitchen. When money is tight but you still want to beautify your bathroom or kitchen, look into refinishing.  Remember, you don’t have to buy new….you can redo.

Until next time!

Alan & Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc and Senior Bathtub.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, winning the best of Jacksonville Chamber Award three years running. If you would like to contact them call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231or email them at alan@tubking.com
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