How to fix a loose clawfoot tub foot.

Recently, one of our fans over on Facebook asked about fixing a clawfoot tub foot that keeps slipping off.
American Standard Clawfoot Tub with tapered wedge and set screw
Tub feet are typically first put on with the tub upside down. That way you do not have to fight gravity to set them in and you have full access to the screws. If the tub is already in place and you need to replace the foot it is going to be VERY difficult to do properly. There are a lot of different designs and mounting systems for tub feetThe most common foot attachment method out there is a tapered wedge tongue with a set screw. To replace the tub foot in situ, you need to temporarily lift the tub up just a little higher than the foot when it is in place. (I've heard of using a car jack to do this, but be careful!) Place some type of wood blocks or similar to hold the tub up securely. Take the foot that has fallen out and loosen the set screw so that it does not drag across the bottom of the tub as you slide the foot back into pace. You will need a good rubber mallet to do the next part. Slide the foot in place as far as you can. Take the rubber mallet and hammer home the foot till it cannot go any farther. Do not use a regular hammer – the foot is cast iron and you can break cast iron with a regular hammer. Tighten the set screw tight. (Do not use a hex headed bolt for the set screw as you can tighten the set screw too far and break the foot.) Remove the blocks and set the tub down in place. 

Are you missing a foot or two on your clawfoot tub?  Check out our post on replacing missing tub feet!

Good luck to you!
Sincerely, Steve Smith


  1. I think those are old type of tubs. Normally the new release tub doesn't have clawfoot.

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  2. Any idea how to fix bathtub feet that do not have screws? Ours just slot into a groove and when we fill the tub the back feet slide out! We are trying to figure out a way to secure them to the tub... can we drill them perhaps? We tried JB weld and it didn't work...

  3. Hi, if your tub feet has slots on the tongue of the foot and those slots are positioned next to the bottom of the tub, you have a nail set foot. Nail set feet used the square sided cut-nails they used at the end of the 19th century and the begging of the 20th. The feet are driven in with a rubber mallet, tight, and the slots should line up just past the mounts. At that point the nails, which were slightly wedge shaped were tapped into the slots. They need to be snug but not any tighter than that. If you overdrive the nails they can break the foot tongue (cast iron is brittle). If you cannot find cut nails then regular nails work almost as good. Do not use nails that are too big as they can also put too much pressure and break the foot tongue.
    Good luck with your feet.
    Sincerely, Steve Smith

  4. I have a claw foot tub with the tapered tongue and set screw attachment feet, however the area on the tub where the tapered tongue is supposed to fit in is missing a side wall. Is there a way to fix this so the foot will stay wedged in and on?

  5. My refinished tub is missing part of the rail that the leg slides on to. What recommendations do you have for adhering/welding/gluing the missing side of the rail?

    1. Hi Christine, I am sorry to say that there is not very much you can do. Once the casting lug has broken off, it is very difficult to fix. You would still have to have the missing piece. It would then have to be reattached. Welding it back on takes a lot of skill and patience. If you weld it all at once, the heat will pop off the porcelain on the inside. If you weld it in little bits and wait for it to cool down in-between, the weld is not going to be as strong. It is a very difficult thing to fix. We usually do not try. Gluing or epoxying the foot is very iffy as well. It has to be to bare metal. There is no telling how long it will last. Sorry to not be more encouraging.

  6. I have pictures would love your thoughts if this is the right feet to the tub. We are ready to set this up. New plumbing and it's not original to house. Please advise asap

  7. Ohmega S, you are very knowledgeable! I appreciate your comments and find them to be very helpful. I work at where they sell new clawfoot tubs and we get calls all the time about how to repair antique or vintage tubs. I see a lot of stuff in print that is crazy. You give great advice.

  8. Also here to say thanks for the 'first hand knowledge'! It was a simple thing... but my assumption that 'two parts fit together' didn't take into account that I needed to 'whack the legs with a soft mallet' to fully seat them. My son (and I!) were tired of flipping the tub over just so I could experiment with wedges (different style tub...) and nails (again - a different style tub) to secure the legs.

    A tip I can pass on to anyone that finds this blog is that the clawfoot tub legs are sometimes 'fitted' to each corner of the tub. Good luck finding the corresponding marks they made to match them up if you've painted your tub & legs! Mine had two 'paired' legs with casting numbers "43" and "43L"... Now I don't know if the 'L' meant "Longer" or "Lower" because I could see no difference. (If the tub doesn't drain properly I'll find out!)

    So many websites/blogs/whatever are written by folks who generate blog articles on subjects they have NO experience on whatsoever... or their website is nothing but a SEP search engine that posts affiliate links and no useful content.

    It was so nice to find someone with actual experience on these tubs! Thanks!