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Antique and Vintage Bathroom Fixtures

As interest in restoring nineteenth and early twentieth houses has increased, so has the desire for authentic looking period bathrooms. Originally it was necessary to seek out older bathroom fittings and fixtures at architectural salvage firms and flea markets. This is a time consuming process that can yield mixed results, as the buyer has to hope that these tubs, faucets, toilets, sinks, and shower apparatus can be restored to actual working order. Recently two types of companies have helped solve this problem. One offers actual period fixtures that have been repaired: the other sells new fixtures that have been manufactured to look like older models. Some of these fixtures and fittings are available in bathroom showrooms, but others may need to be ordered from catalogs or online.

If you have an older house and are thinking of installing a new bathroom that looks like it is from the era when your house was built, consider the following:

  • Companies that restore old bathroom fixtures and repair them to working order will help you avoid the time consuming process of looking for them on your own. These fixtures will give you the most authentic results. It is important to understand, however, :
    • that these fixtures have more working parts and joints than newer models, so they are more likely to develop leaks.
    • when they need to be repaired, it can be difficult to find replacement parts.
    • older fixtures do not always mesh well with new technologies of water flow and waste disposal.
    • most restoration companies will only guarantee that the fixtures they sell are adequately repaired. It is usually up to the installer to make sure that they will actually work.
  • Companies that sell new reproduction bathroom fixtures have reengineered them to meet modern performance needs. Victorian, Art Deco, 1920ís and mid-century modern styles are all available. These include large claw footed bath tubs, pedestal sinks, and toilets that look like old fashioned water closets. Luxury shower hardware and faucets made from porcelain, brass, or polished and satin nickel are increasingly

    popular choices. Look for bathtubs made from cast iron rather than acrylic if you want a truly authentic look. Faucets should have long lasting ceramic disc valves that will not stick, drip, or rattle.

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