Orig­i­nal Fix­tures

Old House Journal - - Restore -

and tubs are much prized by his­toric house hunters, but they’re not al­ways in good con­di­tion and, in the case of mid-cen­tury fix­tures, not al­ways to con­tem­po­rary tastes. Cast-iron bath­tubs and vit­re­ous enamel sinks from the era of the house should be saved un­less the porce­lain is rusted through or se­ri­ously cracked. Give any sus­pect fix­ture a thor­ough clean­ing (Bon Ami and a sponge or soft plas­tic bris­tle brush work well with­out dam­ag­ing the sur­face).

If the enamel fin­ish is worn through in spots but the fix­ture is in oth­er­wise good con­di­tion, have it reglazed by a pro­fes­sional who uses a two-part acrylic polyurethane resin coat­ing that re­sem­bles the orig­i­nal enamel in shine and ap­pear­ance. The work should be guar­an­teed to last at least five years. Whether done in your home or in a shop, the process re­quires etching the fix­ture to al­low the new enamel to bond with the tub, sand­ing and fill­ing nicks and abra­sions, and mul­ti­ple coats of fin­ish.

If you’ve in­her­ited bath or kitchen fix­tures from a much later era, con­sider sav­ing them as part of house’s his­tory if they are in good con­di­tion. If not—or if the col­ors are hideous in con­text or taste—re­place them. Of­fer any fix­tures in good con­di­tion to a sal­vager, or sell them on­line. Some­one else may want a yel­low bath­room sink or jade-green bath­tub.

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