Q I'm looking to remodel my bathroom the way I want it, not how everyone is telling me I should do it. I want an old-style claw-foot bathtub. Everyone is telling me that my best bet is to get a reconditioned one, but I don't want an old tub. I want a brand-new cast-iron claw-foot tub. Is that too much to ask for, and are they still being made?

A Cast-iron tubs have made a big comeback in recent years. The green-building movement has helped homeowners rediscover the benefits of cast iron, because cast-iron plumbing fixtures are usually made with a good amount of reclaimed materials. So an old cast-iron heating radiator could be part of a brand-new tub, and that fits right in with the green thinking.

Claw-foot cast-iron tubs are still being made, and the freestanding design can create a striking focal point for any bathroom. Also, with a freestanding tub, installation location options can be very flexible.

Remember, though, that this is a high-end item, and the labor costs to install a claw-foot cast-iron tub can be much higher than with a conventional bathtub.

Bottom line: Plan your budget carefully. You want to take a bath in your beautiful new tub -- not when you pay the bills.

Throw a curve into remodeling

Q We're doing a good-sized remodeling job in our bathroom. It won't be a complete gut job, but we are changing all the fixtures, including the bathtub. But we have space restrictions. What's a good choice for a new bathtub that will still fit in our 5-foot tub/shower area?

A Since your wall-to-wall space is 5 feet, you won't be able to get a longer tub, but chances are you can fit a tub that's a little wider. However, you don't want to install a tub that sticks out of the wall at the corners; you want it to fit perfectly into your existing tub/shower alcove.

The solution may be to install a curved-apron bath or expanse bath. A curved-apron bath is about 4 inches wider in the center of the tub than a standard bath, but then gently curves back to each corner on the exposed wall to fit the space of a standard 5-foot tub. This space-saving design is ideal for getting that big-tub look for smaller bathrooms.

Not only does the extra 4 inches in the center of the bath give you a little more soaking area, but the wider tub base is great for showering. With the addition of a curved shower-curtain rod that mirrors the tub wall, you'll feel like you're in a much larger shower area.

Bottom line: A curved-apron bathtub should get you around your existing tub/shower-space issue.

Master plumber Ed Del Grande is the author of "Ed Del Grande's House Call," the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate.