Restoring Antique Clawfoot Bathtubs

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Antique clawfoot bathtubs and pedestal sinks are excellent candidates for refinishing versus buying new ones. The Pennock family of Longmont, CO saved thousands by hiring Miracle Method to refinish their antique bathroom fixtures.

Mike and Amanda Pennock are die-hard do-it-yourselfers. They own a Victorian style home in Longmont, CO and have repainted the exterior, installed new appliances, and rebuilt the front porch. But when it came to redoing the bathroom with its time worn claw foot tub and pedestal sink, the Pennocks were stumped.

We love our clawfoot tub, but the porcelain surface was rough and the sink had chips in it. We could buy new ones, but it would cost us $4500 to $6500, said Amanda. It wasn’t only that a new tub and sink were expensive; they liked the style they had and would have to spend a lot of time finding an exact match.

The expense for new fixtures was beyond their budget. They knew they could save money doing their own tiling of the floor, replacing the vanity and wallpaper but what could they do about the tub and sink? Besides they also wanted a two-tone tub and brass feet.

They found their solution at an architectural salvage yard. Sitting in the center of a dozen very rough claw foots was a totally restored tub. The owner explained how it was restored. He had hired Brian Weber of Miracle Method, a professional surface restoration company to repair and refinish the inside and outside of the tub. It looked and felt like new and they were told the Miracle Method process worked on porcelain, ceramic tile, cultured marble and acrylic surfaces.

The Pennocks contacted Weber. Weber had not only restored a number of claw foot tubs, but also showed them how the Miracle Method process could be used restore their sink and update their Formica vanity top. The Pennocks wanted the tub white on the inside, red on the outside and with brass feet. Weber arranged to transport the tub and sink to his shop, as it is easier to do 360-degree jobs outside the smallish bathroom.    

There was still plenty of DIY work to do while the tub was at Miracle Method, the Pennocks tore off the old wallpaper, repainted walls and tiled the floor. They worked quickly over a weekend as the tub restoration only took three days. The restored tub was returned and set in place. Mike installed new antique reproduction fixtures. Only the countertop remained. The Pennocks chose to have Miracle Method refinish the vanity to coordinate with the tub making removal and replacement of the Formica top unnecessary.    

The end result is a restored bathroom that gives the Pennocks the Victorian look they wanted and the satisfaction and cost savings they were looking for. Refinishing the tub, sink and countertop cost less than $1000, far less than if they had purchased a new clawfoot tub, pedestal sink and removed and replaced the countertop.

Not every project has to be, or should be done yourself. There was no way the Pennocks could duplicate the smooth, durable surface Miracle Method provided. In addition Miracle Method offers a five-year warranty against peeling. And says Brian Weber, with the same proper care and maintenance recommended by new tub manufacturers (nonabrasive and bleach-free cleaners only), a refinished surface should last 10 to 15 years.

Miracle Method has been in business for more than 25 years and has grown to more than 100 franchisees like Weber’s. It is not just a process for antique tubs. Miracle Method surface refinishing has been used by millions of homeowners as well as major hotel chains including Hilton, Holiday Inn, Marriott and others. “When customers find out that Miracle Method is used by hotels like Bally’s in Las Vegas or the Sir Francis Drake in San Francisco, they appreciate the quality and durability of our product,” offered Weber.

Weber offered some advice to others looking to refinish tubs, tile or countertops "The key to a good refinishing job is the process of cleaning, preparing and bonding. These are the most important steps in order for the new finish to stick to the old surface. Miracle Method's success is directly related to our proprietary bonding agent that we have used for the past 25 years." Unlike some other refinishing companies or home DIY kits, Miracle Method does not use dangerous, toxic etching acids in the process.

Refinishing is a viable and affordable alternative to expensive tear out and replacement. “This project cost us far less than buying a new tub and sink. It also shortened the time it took to finish the bathroom. It’s amazing how bright and smooth the finish is,” says Mike.

To see pictures of refinishing and to learn more about surface restoration, visit Miracle Method's Web site at


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Donald Dominick