Discussion in 'Shower & Bathtub Forum & Blog' started by fudd2be, Aug 31, 2004.

  1. fudd2be

    fudd2be Electrical Engineer

    Aug 31, 2004
    Electrical Engineer
    Rochester, New York
    Hi - much to my surprise after performing a swabbing home lead test, apparently there is lead present leaching from my 37 year old enameled cast iron tub. The surface is in great shape except for the glazing which has worn off over the years. Needless to say I was upset and immediately had the kids leads tested. My question, though:

    I plan to remodel the bath is 3-4 years, but need to solve the lead problem. I was going to reglaze since I have heard good things about reglazing when done right. Any recommendations for reglazing?

    Of course most homes also have lead in their copper's solder joints. My thought was that over years any lead that would come from the solder would have already in 37 years. Opinions?

    Do plumbers use lead free solder these days? Does lead-free solder exist?

  2. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Aug 17, 2004
    Bothell, Washington
    Lead free solder

    Plumbers have been using "lead free" solder since the mid 70's.
    I switched sooner than most because of the lead issue and the fact that working around framers, you wanted the joint to cool as fast as possible.
    We were getter fewer leaks with it.

    If you are retiling the tub surrond, I would consider replacement of the tub.
    Otherwise, perhaps reglazing would seal in the lead. Does anyone else know if it would?
    Terry Love
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
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  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    There should not be any lead in the tub's cast iron because the temperature of creating the tub would have burned any out of the metal. In addition, I doubt that the kids will be licking the tub's surface so any lead, if it is actually present, should not be a problem. In any case, since reglazing usually costs as much as a new tub, the only valid reason for doing it is to save the ancillary costs of repairing the walls and floors afterwards.
  5. LonnythePlumber

    LonnythePlumber Plumber, Contractor, Attorney

    Sep 6, 2004
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney
    Wichita, Kansas
    Lead from Cast Iron?

    I have not heard of getting a lead reading from the cast iron under the glazing. I suspect the accuracy of your kit or procedure. Copper pipe builds up a coating and the water doesn't actually touch the copper any more so I doubt you get lead readings from your copper.
    Terry, are you saying that lead free solder cools faster than 50/50? You must be talking a couple of minutes.
    Reglazing sometimes works and sometimes does not. Seems to depend on the quality of workmanship in preparing the tub. Although it's hell to replace a cast iron tub I would replace it instead of reglazing since you have the walls out.
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