buy cast iron bath tub

My New Adventure of Buying a Bath Tub in Hawaii

buying a bath tub

Buying a bath tub. How hard can it be? I asked myself. Just because I’ve never bought a bath tub before doesn’t mean I can’t do it. I’ve done lots of things in my life, with great success, without any experience whatsoever. Yes, it takes a lot of research. Checking more than resource, asking for more than one person’s opinion. Gathering data. Considering the sources of the data.

For example, when I once wanted to learn how to run Romex from the panel to light fixtures during one of my remodels, I bought books. Joined a handyman’s club to receive its literature. Talked with the guys down at Lowe’s. Hung out at bars where contractors went for happy hour and forged fast friendships. By the time I was ready to run my own electrical, I knew exactly what to do. How to avoid the pitfalls. Self education. Yes, I’m very resourceful and determined.

How about bath tubs? I knew nothing about bath tubs. Other than the fact we own a home built in 1948 in Land Park Sacramento, and I love our deep bath tub. When we remodeled the bath, we kept it. Adored the bath tub in our previous house, that which was built in 1898. My house before that had a Jazzuzi already installed. However, sadly, I have developed a hate relationship with our bath tub at the house in Hawaii. Every time I walk by that bath, I curse its cheap-ass fiberglass, one-piece construction.

During my research about buying a bath tub, I discovered one of the features I really like is cast iron. Manufacturers don’t make a lot of cast iron bath tubs anymore. Contractors bitch about installing them because . . . get this . . . because they are HEAVY. Oh, stop whining you pitiful wimps.

Cast iron is unlikely to rust in Hawaii. It is sturdy. Durable. But no, they make these steel enamel tubs because they are cheaper and lighter. No matter what, it’s not as good. Lets heat escape. One of the great things about a cast iron tub is it retains heat. I like a hot bath. A bath so hot I whimper climbing into it. Love to slip completely under the water and imagine what it would be like to die like Whitney Houston. Or, any of those other celebrities who die in the tub.

As a result, I am developing a severe phobia of death by drowning in the tub. Like what if a bather suddenly had a stroke? You’d probably die if that happened while slouching in a body of water. Just sayin’. Still, I want a tub. I need to think more about buying a bath tub. My neighbor in Hawaii took her tub out and installed a shower. Talking about the neighbor I like, not the jackass neighbor on the other side.

You know what that jackass neighbor did last weekend? I had been vigorously spraying for whiteflies, which are infesting my gardens like no tomorrow. She opened her back door and yelled, “Do you think you can NOT spray our windows?” Oh, my gosh. With soaking wet hair and whitefly infested damp clothing pressing into my skin, I paused and looked up. Oh, uh, there was a slight spray on her windows. I said: I’m sorry, I’m not trying to spray your windows, just the opposite. I will wipe it when I’m done.”

Was she happy about that? No, she said, RIGHT and slammed the door shut. What a jerk. I felt like spraying her windows directly, really hard, turning up that nozzle spray so it produced a loud buzzing sound. And not wiping them down. But then, I reconsidered. That would make me more of a jerk than she. I keep my word. Even to assholes. I said I would clean her windows. Let her eat her own words.

I cleaned her windows. Cannot wait until I encounter again so I can ask what it is like to live inside the house everyone in the neighborhood despises.

Back to my other neighbor, the nice couple I really adore, they have two baths, each with a shower. No tubs. Will it hurt her resale value? I mean, if she doesn’t die in the house instead? Yes, I think it will. Buyers want at least one tub.

Reason being is it’s a good place to bathe babies and children. Which is why some of them are so danged shallow. Ha, I mean the tub depth, not the parents. Yeah, maybe the parents, too.  If you’re giving your dog a bath in the tub, for example, hey, you don’t need a lot of depth. Tubs come in handy.

The problem I encountered at Lowe’s is the 30-inch wide tubs hold 9 inches of water. There are parts of my body that stick out further than 9 inches. I know this because I got down on the floor with a foot-long ruler and measured. Oh, but the 32-inch wide tubs give you a luxurious 14-inches of water depth. So now I need to decide if I want to slide the toilet over to accommodate another 2 inches of width. Part of me says yes.

Another consideration is to read the reviews on various models. Start with the lowest review. Now, I know in real estate, for example, the people who post the lowest 1-star review are idiots. They are typically morons who were never a client of the Realtor. In fact, more likely they are some lowlife harasser whom the agent hung up on and, in retaliation, they posted a nasty review. More like a comment than a review.

But the reviews of purchasers on websites are usually people who bought a product. And when you see more than one person complain about the same defect, it can make you think twice. It was helpful talking to the clerk at Lowes. Especially when I could explain to him how the corners in the Kohler Villager tubs let water accumulate, plus they need 2 specific kits to install faucets that don’t come with the tub.

Hot tip, definitely read reviews. Consider who might have written it. Was it a real buyer or is that review a plant from a competitor? Yes, people stoop that low. Look at reviews the person who gave low scores assigned to other products. Is that a person who is always upset and hates everybody? Or is that a rational person? Same thing with the high reviews. You can kinda tell.

At any rate, I have not yet finished buying a bath tub. I am asking a contractor to come over and measure and give me a second opinion before I purchase our alcove, right-hand drain, mind you, new bath tub.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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