Cast iron bathtubs have been a fixture in bathrooms for over a century now, and for good reason. With their cold-to-the-touch enamel coatings and liberally curved lines, these vintage-inspired tubs offer a timeless, elegant look and feel that’s hard to replicate in any other material.
But before installing one of these beauties, it’s important to consider their weight, which far exceeds most modern acrylic or fiberglass tubs. In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at how much a standard 5 foot cast iron tub weighs on average and what factors influence that hefty number.
When you are deciding on a new bathtub, know that a 5 foot cast iron tub will weigh between 200 and 375 pounds while empty. This heavy weight comes from the thick, durable iron construction, compared to just 60-70 pounds for an acrylic tub.
My Experience Moving a Cast Iron Tub
A few years back when my wife and I bought our old farmhouse, one of the charming antique elements was this antique-looking cast iron clawfoot tub in the main bathroom. Though quaint, I could tell the tub had seen better days and needed refinishing. So I naively decided to move it to the garage myself so I could reglaze it.
Boy was I wrong! As soon as I tried lifting one end, I realized this thing weighed a ton, maybe 300 pounds or more. No way could I budge it myself. I ended up having to recruit 3 strong helper friends to barely maneuver it out. Though heavy, after getting it refinished, that tub became the focal point of our bathroom and was worth every bit of effort.
How Much Does a 5 Foot Cast Iron Bathtub Weigh?
On average, most cast iron tubs measuring 5 feet long weigh between 200 and 375 pounds empty. Now that’s a pretty big range, largely because cast iron bathtubs vary so widely in materials, thickness, feet style, and features.
Standard 5 foot cast iron tubs tend to weigh around 250 to 300 pounds, which lines up with my rough estimate after moving mine. More basic models come in closer to 200 pounds, while extra thick high-end designer tubs can top out near 375 pounds or more.
To put it in perspective, that’s up to five times heavier than a typical 5 foot acrylic tub which weighs in at only 60-70 pounds! So why do cast iron tubs weigh so much more? It comes down to a few key factors.
What Factors Increase a Cast Iron Tub’s Weight?
- Thickness – The thickness of the cast iron used certainly impacts the overall weight. Tubs under 4 millimeters thick are lighter, while extra durable cast iron over 5 millimeters thick gets extremely heavy. Mine seemed thick, so I wasn’t shocked by the weight.
- Feet Style – Decorative clawfoot tubs or those with heavy integral feet increase the weight since that’s more iron. Removable feet or simply supported models are lighter.
- Coatings & Materials – Besides cast iron, coatings like porcelain enamel, copper, polished nickel, or even stone finishes will up the poundage.
- Features – Roll-top, double slipper, or built-in seats require more iron and make the tub heavier. Mine had no special add-ons.
- Brand – High-end luxury brand cast iron tubs tend to be more generously sized and made of thicker, heavier-duty iron. I’m sure mine was a bargain lightweight!
You know, all those fancy decorative claw feet and sumptuous coatings do make moving the tubs a bear, but they sure do class up a bathroom!
Pros and Cons of Heavy Cast Iron Bathtubs
Okay, clearly weight is a con to consider when choosing a cast iron bathtub. But before you dismiss them as too heavy, take a look at some of the benefits these old-fashioned tubs can provide:
- Durability – The thicker cast iron construction allows the tubs to better withstand chips, cracks, scratches, and dings over a lifetime of use compared to fiberglass or acrylic options.
- Heat Retention – Cast iron stays warmer for longer, making it great for a relaxing warm soak. The cold acrylic tubs leach out heat too quickly if you ask me.
- Vintage Charm – With their elegantly curved lines and traditional styling, cast iron tubs have an antique charm you just can’t find elsewhere. The look is timeless.
- Resale Value – Since they last so long, cast iron tubs maintain their value nicely if you later want to resell the home or remodel the bathroom.
- Heavy Weight – The #1 drawback is the extremely heavy weight that makes cast iron tubs difficult to maneuver into place and install. It may require floor reinforcing.
- Not Reversible – Once fully installed, cast iron tubs can’t easily be removed again without damaging them or the home.
- No Cushioning – The hard iron offers no cushioning or insulation from noise. Every drip and splash echoes loudly.
- Expensive – Being custom molded from thick cast iron makes these tubs one of the priciest bathtub options out there.
But for many people, the pluses still outweigh the negatives and make cast iron worth the investment. Let’s look at how to install these heavy beasts.
Tips for Installing a Heavy Cast Iron Bathtub
When dealing with several hundred pounds of rigid iron, getting the tub into place and fully installed while protecting it and your home’s structure takes some finesse:
- Assess Floors – Ensure the bathroom’s subfloor and supports can handle 300-400 lbs of weight without sagging or flexing. Reinforce if needed.
- Lift Safely – Have enough strong people on hand, along with straps, dollies, and any devices to make lifting and maneuvering the heavy tub safe and smooth. Don’t strain!
- Clear Access – You may need to remove doors or at least widen doorway openings to fit the tub through the house. Measure carefully.
- Level Meticulously – Take the time to perfectly fine tune and tweak the leveling of the tub to avoid any rocking, shifting, or leaning once in position.
- Cushion Bottom – Adding some foam or rubber padding underneath the tub can reduce harsh noise transfer. This step helped muffle things.
- Hire Pros – For tough cast iron tub installations, having experienced professional contractors handle the job is advisable. They have the right tools and know-how.
Why are cast iron bathtubs so heavy compared to acrylic or fiberglass tubs?
Cast iron is a very thick and durable material which makes the tubs weigh much more, between 200-375 pounds on average for a 5 foot tub.
What’s the heaviest part of a cast iron tub?
The main tub body itself is the heaviest section, especially on extra-thick tubs. Decorative feet, rolled edges, or coatings also add weight.
How much weight can my bathroom floor support for a cast iron tub?
Most floors should be reinforced to support 300-400 pounds for the tub alone. Check with contractors to verify your floor can handle the load.
How many people are needed to move a 300 pound cast iron tub?
Safely lifting a 300 pound cast iron tub requires 3-4 strong adults using proper lifting techniques, straps, and dollies to prevent injury.
- How Much Is A Cast Iron Tub Worth In Scrap?
- How To Refinish A Cast Iron Tub Yourself? DIY
- I’ve Found Proper Techniques To Clean A Cast Iron Bathtub
- How to Remove a Cast Iron Bathtub Step-By-Step?
William J. Bullock is a licensed plumber with over 15 years of experience installing and repairing bathtubs. He runs his own plumbing company in Greenville and serves residential and commercial clients. William is dedicated to providing honest, transparent advice to help homeowners make informed decisions about their bathroom renovations.
He has established expertise in selecting bathtubs, planning custom installations, diagnosing issues, and completing repairs. William aims to share practical tips and reliable recommendations based on extensive hands-on work. When he isn’t on a job site, William enjoys spending time with his family and volunteering at local community events. He takes pride in delivering quality service and enjoys helping people upgrade their homes.