Bathroom – restoring the cast iron roll top bath…

We were so close to being able to shower at housenumber59, yet so far… Remember when I told you about the importance of making sure you do things in the correct order? Well this was one of those moments when we had to think really carefully about what we did next.

Before we fitted the shower, we had to fit the shower screen but before we fitted the shower screen we had to move the roll top bath into the bathroom (it is a beast and we need plenty of room to manoeuvre it) but before we moved the roll top bath into the bathroom we had to restore it. So even though the roll top bath was going to be the last thing we install, it became our priority to restore it.


We had bought the roll top bath six months ago and dreamed longingly of day when we could use it. It was bought from our local salvage yard for the bargain price of £200. The claw feet were really rusty and the outside paint was peeling away and starting to go rusty in places. But the enamel on the inside was in really good condition and we may get away with not having to re-enamel it.

When the bath arrived at housenumber59 it spent the first few months in the master bedroom, until we could no longer decorate around it and it moved to the hallway. More recently it found its way to the back bedroom, our current dumping ground.

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In the middle of the master bedroom…


The first thing I did was to give the outside of the bath a really good clean. Six months of living through our renovations meant it was really dusty and dirty. Once fully dried out I gave it a thorough sand, removing all the peeling paint and rust. Then I gave it a good wipe to ensure the surface was clean and dry ready for painting.


Two coats of Hammerite Red Oxide Primer

For the first two coats I used Hammerite Red Oxide Primer, followed by two coats of Fired Earth Aryclic Eggshell in one of their National Trust colours, Parterre. I used a sponge roller which meant painting was quick, easy and gave a really even finish.

Two coats of Fired Earth, Parterre

The claw feet

I wish I had a before picture of the claw feet, but sadly I do not. So you will have to take my word for it, they were in a bad way.

Firstly I gave them a really good clean, then using a drill with a wire brush attachment I blasted off all the rust. This was really satisfying and they already looked a hundred times better.

For the paint I used two coats of Halfords Zinc Primer spray paint followed by three coats of Montana GOLD spray paint, in silverchrome. Using spray paint and building up the colour in lots of light layers gave a really good finish.

IMG_0190      IMG_0191

Moving the bath into the bathroom

Somehow David and I managed to manoeuvre the bath into the bathroom. On average a cast iron roll top bath weighs about 300lbs, that is the equivalent of a giant panda or a baby elephant. Let’s just say I will not be in a hurry to move it again!

Work on the bath was far from over. We still have to fit the exposed waste pipes, plug hole, taps and plumb the whole thing in, but for now it was in place and looking good!

A sneak peak…

I do have a slight irrational fear that the bath will fall through the bathroom floor, but that just happens in films right?

C x

6 thoughts on “Bathroom – restoring the cast iron roll top bath…

  1. Hi,

    I’ve actually got the same exact same bath!
    Was already in the house when bought and I’m just doing up the bathrooms so thought I’d try restoring it too. Have gone for a white colour as the bathroom tiles are quite dark; hopefully looks good :). I have to say though, my finish is nowhere near as nice as yours – the previous owner tried to paint it and it’s bumpy everywhere now. How were you able to get it so smooth?

    As for the legs, I used Rust-oleum chrome spray and then a crystal clear gloss protector ontop; looks pretty much like yours but a bit more shinier.

    Will send pics once done 🙂

    1. Hi Aj, thanks for stopping by. I have to say ours was in fairly good nick, I just gave it a good sand to get rid of the old paint. Using a coarse sand paper to start with and a finer one to finish. Using a roller rather than a paint brush also helped to give a smooth finish.

      Please do send some pics, I would love to see the final look!

      Best wishes,


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