Old cast iron bathtubs can be very valuable. Depending on the weight and condition of your tub, its resale value may be higher than its scrap value. The scrap price for cast iron is about $0.09 per pound, and cast iron tubs usually weigh around 300 pounds or more. Selling a bathtub in good condition can bring you anywhere from about $300 to over $2,000. If your bathtub isn’t in good enough condition to be scrapped or sold, recycling is also an option. Below, we have the details of how to tell whether it’s better to recycle, resell, or scrap your cast iron tub and how to get the most money possible each way.
Cast Iron Bathtub Value
If your cast iron bathtub is in bad shape, scrapping it might be the only way to get any money for it. But if your tub is still in usable condition, you’ll probably get more money reselling it as a tub. Scrap and resale prices vary based on several factors, but we have estimates for both of these methods below.
The average scrap prices for cast iron items were around $0.09 per pound, or $180 per ton, in 2018. These values vary over time and will depend on the prices in your area and the condition of your scrap cast iron. You can find up to date cast iron scrap prices on Recycleinme or see what scrapyards near you have offered others for their scrap cast iron on sites like iScrapApp. While the price per pound is low, old cast iron tubs can weigh 300 pounds or more, so there can be some money in scrapping them.
The scrap value of your cast iron tub will be dependent on several factors:
- Condition of cast iron: You’ll likely be offered a lower price for heavily rusted or dirty cast iron.
- Porcelain coating: If your cast iron tub has a porcelain coating, call your local scrapyard to verify that they’ll accept the tub as is. Some yards may offer a lower price for cast iron coated in porcelain.
- Attached fittings: Faucets, legs, and extra pipe may be made out of copper, iron, stainless steel, tin, brass, or other valuable metals. You might make more if you remove these pieces and scrap them separately because many metals (especially copper) will fetch higher prices than the iron.
Find more information about scrapping cast iron items in our article on scrap iron prices per pound and per ton.
Because cast iron has low scrap value, if your cast iron bathtub is in good working condition, you may be able to get more money by reselling it instead of scrapping it. The resale value of an old cast iron tub will depend on its style, size, condition, and more. Used cast iron bathtubs in good condition sell for anywhere from $300 to over $2,000 on eBay.
The resale value of the tub will vary based on:
- Brand: Vintage and antique cast iron bathtubs can be worth a lot of money. The date of manufacture is typically stamped on the underside of the tub, along with the logo of the company that made it. Some notable brands that produced cast iron tubs in the late 1800s through 1930s that may be valuable today include L. Wolff Manufacturing Company, Crane, Mott, Kohler, and Standard Sanitary Manufacturing (which is identified by a stamp reading “SSM”).
- Size: The most popular size of cast iron tub is 5 feet long and 30 inches wide. Larger sizes and different shapes may be unique and therefore more valuable.
- Condition: Cast iron bathtubs are usually coated with porcelain, at least on the inside of the tub. If the porcelain is worn, chipped, discolored, or cracked, the value of your cast iron tub will likely be lower. You can try to clean the tub to improve its condition or evaluate refinishing the porcelain coating of the tub to enhance its value. The cost to refinish a porcelain-lined cast iron tub will vary based on the tub’s size, style, and condition, but you should expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars.
How to Scrap a Cast Iron Bathtub
If your cast iron tub is broken, your best option to get rid of it will likely be to scrap it. Here’s how to get the most money by scrapping your cast iron bathtub:
1. Find a Scrapyard
The first step in scrapping a cast iron bathtub is to find a scrapyard near you. Several websites can help you in your search:
- iScrap App contains a directory of scrapyards across the nation. Users can report current prices, so you’ll be able to see what a nearby scrap yard has been paying others for their scrap.
- Scrap Spot’s Scrap Metal Dealers Directory also lists scrap yards by location. You can browse by state to find a scrapyard near you.
- Scrap Monster allows you to filter by what you want to scrap or recycle, your zip code, and more.
Scrapyards should be able to quote you a price for your cast iron tub over the phone. If you have multiple scrapyards near you, call around to see who’s offering the best price.
Another worthwhile question to ask local scrapyards is if they offer a separate price for #1 cast iron and machine scrap, which is lower quality cast iron. Cast iron bathtubs are generally made from type #1 cast iron, which is high-quality cast iron and should be able to be scrapped for a premium compared to lower grades of cast iron.
2. Clean and Prepare The Cast Iron Bathtub
There are a few things you can do to help boost the scrap price of your cast iron bathtub:
First, remove any surface rust from the bathtub. You may be able to get up to 10% higher value for clean cast iron compared to rusted cast iron. If your tub has been sitting for long periods and is wholly rusted through, this may be hard to do. But if there’s just light surface rust on the tub, you should be able to remove it by scrubbing with an abrasive pad or steel wool.
Next, remove any non-cast iron tub components, such as faucets, legs, fittings, and pipes. Having different materials separated for the scrapyard saves them work may help you get a higher price. As mentioned above, these other components may also be made of materials that are more valuable to scrap. For example, if the tub had a brass faucet, brass can be scrapped at a much higher price. The average scrap value of brass for 2018 was around $1.50 per pound, compared to cast iron’s value of $0.09. You can find up-to-date prices for each component of your tub on sites like scrapregister. You can also learn more about scrapping brass in our article on scrap brass prices per pound, ounce, and ton.
Lastly, before you head out to the scrapyard, it may be worth checking to see if your state has any special laws pertaining to scrap material.
How to Resell a Cast Iron Bathtub
If you decide to resell your cast iron tub instead of scrapping it, there are several online and local options to help you find a buyer. Try posting pictures and a for-sale ad on any of the following websites:
In-person, you can sell your cast iron tub to a local antique shop. (For further information on finding antique shops near you, see our article: Antique Buyers Near Me.)
Because of the resale value of these old cast iron tubs, your local scrapyard may also offer to buy your tub for a higher price than its scrap value so they can resell it. It may be worth finding a scrapyard near you using a website like iScrapApp, especially if there are few antique shops in your area.
Since cast iron bathtubs are so heavy, finding a local buyer for your bathtub will be much more economical than shipping the tub to a buyer. If you have to ship your cast iron tub, know that you’ll be looking at hundreds of dollars in shipping fees, which the buyer may or may not be willing to cover. Quotes to previous customers on uShip show prices of around $325 to $500 for shipping a cast iron tub 1,000 miles. This rate may vary widely based on your location and how far you’re shipping the tub, but you can expect to pay several hundred dollars.
How to Recycle a Cast Iron Bathtub
If your cast iron bathtub is in very rough shape — for example, heavily rusted — a scrapyard may not offer you much, if anything, for the tub. Another option is to recycle cast iron tubs. The following websites can help you find a recycling organization near you:
- Your local city or county website may offer more options for recycling your cast iron bathtub.
Recycling companies may pay you a small amount for your cast iron bathtub, may offer to remove your cast iron tub for free, or may even charge you based on your location. However, if the tub is in poor condition, or if you need to get rid of it but don’t have the means to take it to a scrapyard, this may be the best option.
If your cast iron bathtub is still intact, you may find it worthwhile to resell the bathtub instead of scrapping it. Since many cast iron tubs are antiques, they can fetch a premium well over their scrap value — up to about $2,000. However, if the tub is not suitable for resale, scrapping the bathtub may prove worth your time. Though the scrap prices of cast iron are around $0.09 per pound, cast iron tubs weigh several hundred pounds.