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Article 5: Code Acceptance for Bathtubs – North America

While many local government departments may require some specific requirements for their local areas, the following general regulations apply to most bathtubs that are installed in the USA and Canada.

Bathtubs must be designed and manufactured in accordance with relevant ASME, ANSI and/or CSA engineering specifications. This is to create good practice among manufacturers and to make sure that performance levels such as tubs draining correctly, overflows working correctly etc. as well as good general strength and durability are maintained.

Since manufacturers are not allowed to self-certify and testing and final acceptance must be completed through a Government recognized testing laboratory that specializes in this field of approvals. Acceptance of a product allows the manufacturer to use the cUPC stamp of approval. These approvals are renewed annually and manufacturers are subject to undisclosed, periodic inspections. While cUPC approvals are widely accepted throughout the USA and Canada, the state of Massachusetts does require that all bathtubs are also MA accepted. Most manufacturers with cUPC approvals will also have MA acceptance on their products.

One strange anomaly for bathtubs is that all cast iron bathtubs require a slip resistant floor. While acrylic tubs may just be as slippery as cast iron, to date, the regulations have not been changed to make slip resistance essential for acrylic tubs.

Article 4: What faucet mounting should I use on my clawfoot tub?

There are two very traditional tub faucets available for your clawfoot tub. These would be a gooseneck and an elephant spout (commonly referred to as English Telephone Style). There are also many ways to mount these, from the wall, from the floor, from the deck on the tub (not all tubs have deck areas) or even from a deck sitting next to the tub. Most faucets on sale today will be adaptable for all these mountings, you would just require the accompanying connector.

Wall mounted faucets connect to decorative sockets that protrude from hot and cold lines that run inside the wall. Things to remember with these is the distance from the wall to the edge of the spout to make sure it comfortably reaches into your tub. If it doesn’t, you will find that most suppliers will be able to offer you extension pieces to allow the faucet to flow inside the rim of the tub.

Floor mounts are probably the most versatile of all the fittings. The floor mounted faucet can be positioned anywhere around the edge of the tub, in front, in the back, on the side etc. One thing to remember is to buy a faucet that is truly rigid when assembled and does not need additional support from the wall or the tub drain.

Deck mounts can be attached to decks that are on the bathtub. Since not all tubs have deck mount areas on them a decorative deck next to the tub can also work well.

Most common hot and cold center distances for clawfoot tub faucets are 7 inches and 3 and 3/8 inches. However, some manufacturers supply 6 inch and 8 inch center faucets. This is important to know before the plumbing rough-in as it will determine where your plumber runs his hot and cold lines. If the rough-in does turn out to be incorrect, most suppliers will have adjustable center arms that allow for this discrepancy.

Article 3: Why is there a blackish line around the edge of some cast iron tub lips?

When cast iron tubs are produced, they come out of the mold a pure cast iron. This cast iron is immediately vulnerable to rusting. To protect the surface as soon as possible, a few coats of protective glaze is applied.

After glazing, the tub goes through the enameling process. During enameling, powdered enamel particles are scattered onto the inside of the red-hot tub that melt onto the cast iron surface. This process is repeated several times to achieve the desired thickness of enamel. However, the enamel rarely covers the entire roll top lip where it curves in at the ends.

The exterior of the tub is then primed and painted to protect the exterior surface. Where the paint meets the enamel at the edge of the roll top lip, you might see a dark line where the cast iron shows through the glaze. While it is a little unsightly, in most cases this glazed area will not rust. However, since it is protected only by the glaze, it is much more vulnerable to scratching or chipping and therefore far more liable to cause rust problems at some time in the future.

Most professional manufacturers will ensure that this area is properly treated and coated in matching white enamel finish before shipping to a client. There is no need for this dark line to be visible.

Article 2:Wet room bath tubs

If you want to put a cast iron tub into a wet room area, it is highly recommended that only stainless steel skirted tubs be used.

Preparation for wet room tubs should also include additional finishing to the exterior internal bathtub and there should be no other ferrous metal parts on the skirt. The foot pads and leveling pads should also be in stainless steel.

Regardless of how you might coat or try to protect a regular ferrous steel skirt, even the smallest nick, on the inside or outside of the skin, will form rust that can then easily start spreading and staining tiles.

Article 1: Gaps between the claw foot and the tub

It’s almost inevitable that there will be some gaps between the claw foot and the tub body on cast iron clawfoot tubs. Due to the very nature of the casting, the tub itself can be 1” either smaller or longer than the advertised dimension, so to make a casting that fits perfectly to every foot is pretty much impossible.

However, you might have some tubs where the space is practically negligible, other times, you may see an occasional ½” gap in areas, it’s the nature of clawfoot tubs throughout the years. Acrylic tubs are different and these feet should fit tightly.

If these small idiosyncrasies might annoy you, ask your sales person if there might be noticeable gaps on the tub of your choice.