Salvaged claw foot bath tubs always look great with a new coat of color. Back in the day, these tubs were originally sold with raw cast iron on the outside and later painted to match their new bathroom.
If a tub happened to be installed close to a wall, they were often painted only on the side that was showing. Over the years, these tubs often saw many coats of paint that helped them keep up with the style of the times and the colors their owners preferred. This is why when you see them today, many antique tubs look as if they desperately need some TLC. Sometimes they look cool in the weathered state, but sometimes they look just old and dingy.
So if you decide your antique tub needs a color make-over, what do you do first? Experts recommend a thorough cleaning and scrubbing of the outside on the cast iron surface. A thorough steel-brush scrubbing or sand blasting will be necessary to remove old paint and residue. Primers can be used to keep exposed raw cast iron from rusting. Latex house paint in a gloss or semi-gloss finish offers endless color variety. Latex products will also expand and contract as the tub heats and cools when in use, but might not be as durable in the long run. Be sure to ask your hardware store associate what products work best. Professional refinishing studios will also use various techniques to make your tub look like new.