Are you in the middle of a bathroom remodel, and have a specific vision in mind? Maybe, you’ve been dreaming of a large soaker tub. You might be stunned at the price of a brand new bathtub.
Or maybe you’re fixing up an old house and want to pay tribute to its age by adding a clawfoot bathtub. There are modern reproductions, but they don’t have the character of an antique clawfoot. Not to mention they actually tend to be narrower and shorter than their authentic counterparts.
What’s a person to do when they have their heart set on something that’s out of budget, and you can’t do without it until you save the money? What if you love the charm of period-correct details in your heritage home, and modern reproductions just miss the mark for you.
Remodels are time-consuming and can be expensive, and restoration work is a labor of love that requires attention to detail. Neither of these is areas in which you will want to settle for “adequate”.
There is another option besides settling for a bathtub you feel “meh” about. Consider purchasing a used bathtub. You might be thinking a used bathtub will be dingy and dirty. Or outdated and ugly.
You would be shocked at what you can find second-hand. With some people preferring the walk-in shower trend, many barely used bathtubs are finding their way into resale shops, and architectural salvage yards. Old houses are frequently stripped of woodwork, trim, transoms, and bathtubs which are taken to architectural salvage yards.
No matter what you are looking for, chances are you can find a used version that is perfect for you. Buying a used bathtub doesn’t just save you money, or help you find an authentic period piece. You can find something truly unique, and help keep a perfectly good item from ending up in a landfill.
Not quite sure where to start the search? We’ve put together a guide of websites where you can find a used bathtub for sale online.
What Kind Of Bathtub Do You Want
Before you start searching Google, you need to narrow down your search so you have a better idea of what kind of used bathtub you are looking for.
Bathtubs come in many styles and several different materials. Decide what style of bathtub you are looking for, and which material, style, and installation methods work for you before beginning your search.
1. Standard Tub
This is your basic bathtub. At about 5 feet long, 30 inches wide, and 18 inches high, it’s the type of tub you find in most builder basic homes or homes that have been remodeled on a budget, since they are less expensive than other types of bathtubs.
2. Soaking Tub
Deeper than the standard tub, this bathtub can cost a pretty penny. They can be found longer than 5 feet and wider than a standard bathtub, which adds to the cost.
3. Whirlpool Tub
This tub is considered by many to be the epitome of luxury. With jets that massage your muscles and provide a relaxing experience.
4. Air Tubs
Instead of jets that shoot out a stream of water, air tubs have jets that release air which spreads the pressure over a larger area than water jets.
5. Combination Tub
This combines the features of both a whirlpool and an air tub. Of course, all the bells and whistles come at a premium price.
While you were planning out your bathroom, chances are you already planned the positioning of your bathtub.
If you are still in the early stages of planning you may be struggling to decide where to place your bathtub. Placement of the tub will inform your installation options.
These are the tubs that you often see in magazine spreads in front of a window with a beautiful view. They do not have a surround and can be positioned anywhere. A clawfoot tub is an example of a free-standing tub.
This is the style of tub most people are familiar with. With three walls, and usually with a shower included.
These are very similar to an alcove tub, but are positioned in a corner. They are often a feature in smaller bathrooms.
Drop-in/ Platform tub
These are essentially tub shells that are placed in a frame or a platform that has been specially designed for the room.
This is a drop-in tub that rather than having an overlapping “lip” has a platform built over the top.
There are advantages and disadvantages to the various bathtub materials. Some more cost-effective materials may not be as sturdy.
Antique clawfoot bathtubs were often made of cast iron covered in porcelain. Cast iron tubs are very effective at holding in the heat from your bathwater, but they can extremely heavy, especially when filled.
Steel is sturdy but is prone to chipping more easily than cast iron. It holds in heat well, and can also be a bit heavy.
These are the options you will generally see in your typical big-box retailer. They are less expensive and lighter than most other options.
Fairly inexpensive, and also the option with the most variety for size and style. Ceramic is however more brittle than other materials.
Copper, Marble, Cultured Marble
These are other bathtub materials you may find, however even used, marble, and copper can be prohibitively expensive.
Where To Find used Bathtubs Online
You’ve narrowed down the style you want. You know how you need it to be installed, and you know which materials will work best for you.
Now it’s time to find that used bathtub. With enough effort, you can find anything on the internet. This list of online sources should help cut down on some of the footwork needed in finding a used bathtub online.
Columbus Architectural Salvage
If you are in the Columbus Ohio area or are able to arrange pickup in the Columbus area, Columbus Architectural Salvage may be the store for you.
They have a number of beautiful salvaged bathtubs that have been saved from around the Columbus area. For those with an eye toward restoration, their vintage bathtubs will definitely catch your eye. Since this is an architectural salvage shop their stock is limited and may vary.
New York Salvage
New York Salvage specializes in Pre- WWII salvaged items. They provide shipping, but you will need to call for assistance and information since their website is currently being updated for a more user-friendly experience.
For those who are trying to achieve a truly retro feel, they also sell entire matching bathroom sets, tub, sink, and toilet, when they are available.
This Old Tub And Sink
This Old Tub And Sink is another business specializing in the sale of salvaged antique bathroom fixtures. You will have to call or email to place your order, and you will be given shipping costs after your purchase is crated and weighed if shipping is required.
Second Use, located in Seattle has both vintage pieces and newer bathtub options. They will ship their items to customers outside their local area, but they recommend inspecting your pieces before you buy them. Since their focus is serving customers in-store there is no option to order on their website, but you can order and pay over the phone.
Black Dog Salvage
This name may ring a bell to you if you are a fan of the show Salvage Dawgs. Black Dog Salvage is the architectural salvage store that is featured.
At any time their inventory includes newer bathtubs in addition to vintage ones. You are able to shop directly from their website, and shipping is included in the listed prices.
Olde Good Things
Despite the name, Olde Good Things has a blend of both old and more modern finds. You are able to order online, and they provide shipping to most areas.
They also have a retail presence in several states, and delivery to locations where they have stores can also be arranged.
Old Town Salvage
With a simple user-friendly site that you order directly from, and a variety of vintage and newer model bathtubs, Old Town Salvage might have what you’re looking for.
Shipping is calculated online when you place your order, making the ordering process much more simple. This business accepts most forms of payment. If you live in the area of Fletcher North Carolina, there is also a brick and mortar shop, which is currently open Monday through Friday by appointment.
But It Looks Funky
When purchasing used fixtures, the most likely place you will find them is a salvage store. These were either sold to them by people doing remodels, or saved from buildings that were about to be demolished. Unless you are lucky enough to score a deal on an open box item, many of these salvaged items may seem like they lack that brand new feel.
Keep in mind, many of these were removed from work sites, and at best have had a very light cleaning done to them. In the case of vintage cast iron tubs, they may initially look like they came out of a haunted house. Don’t let this discourage you. You can call and inquire about the condition of the item if you are not close enough to inspect it yourself.
Many of these items just need a good cleaning. Occasionally they may need more intensive work, such as reglazing. This is particularly true of old cast iron tubs that may have included lead paint. Don’t feel put off by the work that may need to go into a used bathtub. You will still be saving hundreds of dollars versus buying something new.
Buying used items when you can is a great way to save money. The extra work that occasionally goes into making these items look brand new again is well worth it in the end. You have not only made strides in sustainability but you also now have a unique piece that will make a statement in your room.
Need more bathroom decorating ideas? Let one of the bathrooms featured here get your imagination going.