Otherwise, customers and tenants go elsewhere.
Frequently included in those renovations are updated restroom facilities, and a key part of those renovations often includes replacing and updating the commercial bathroom partitions, which are the barriers that separate one toilet stall from another.
Although users of the restrooms may not pay those partitions a lot of conscious attention, the style and type of partition make a huge difference in the aesthetics of the facilities. Details like HVAC ventilation, odor control, humidity, and hardware quality are unconsciously assessed.
And the last thing a customer expects is to go into a 5-star facility, whether it be the office of a doctor, attorney, or an accountant, least of all a hotel, and then find a 2-star bathroom.
It just leaves a poor impression of the entire nature of the business and makes customers think: "This business doesn’t really care about the fine details."
Customers don’t really expect a 5-star experience when they use the stalls of a toilet, but do notice the contrasting experience between outside and inside the restroom.
Reasons Renovation May be Needed
There are several reasons why bathroom renovations may be needed, the number one culprit of course being broken locks.
When either a woman or a man sits down on a restroom stall, they’d want complete privacy. After all, going to the restroom, in public, is where people feel quite vulnerable, and the last thing they need is to sit in a stall where the lock is broken.
Another equally irritating experience is when the door is not straight, but rather bent down at an angle, and looks like it could fall off at any moment.
Still, another inconvenience is a stall that looks like either a gang fight or a grenade was exploded inside. Huge dents, sometimes surrounded by rusting metal, are a real turn-off when using the restroom.
Finally, the most aggravating of all, and the one that really knocks the establishment down in the eyes of customers, is restroom graffiti.
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Bathroom Partition Fundamentals
Realizing how important restroom partitions can be, owners and facility managers may need a little bit of info about the different types of bathroom partitions.
There are 4 basic types:
1) Powder-coated steel partitions
are the standard for most generic bathrooms. Two pieces of steel serve as a base for a honeycombed interior section. The steel is then powder-coated and baked in an oven.
Although powder coating leaves a nice finish, there are not a lot of color choices. It’s a basic, utility partition.
2) Plastic laminate partitions
on the other hand, involve a fine layer of laminate, plastic, and particleboard attached to the metal.
The advantage is that plastic laminate allows for hundreds of patterns and for a truly decorative partition at a low price.
The major problem with plastic laminate is that it degrades quickly under humid conditions, so it is not appropriate in many parts of the country, or places near a shower or swimming pool.
3) Solid plastic partitions
are often the choice for many contractors because it comes in various colors, can be wallpapered or tiled over for really decorative purposes, and they work well regardless of whether your business is located in a humid or arid climate.
4) Stainless steel partitions
finally, the ultimate in luxury partitions. Stainless steel is often decorated with a pattern built into the steel for a very classy look.
It should be noted that we listed the 4 types of partitions in order of price. Powder-coated is the cheapest, then laminate, followed by solid plastic, with stainless steel being the most expensive, running around twice the cost of powder-coated partitions.
Where to Purchase New Bathroom Partitions
When you are ready to update old bathroom partitions, you’ll have to decide if you are purchasing panels and hardware locally or those that will be delivered. Bathroom partitions are an odd industry. They are almost always made to order and you will have a very different customer experience based off of what type of vendor you buy from.
When going local, a business can expect to have partitions custom-made and installed by contractor specialists. This is a great option when there aren’t specific materials or manufacturers that facility managers have in mind. But you’ll also pay more for the product itself.
If you have your own contractors or handyman skills yourself, you can purchase partitions online and have them delivered. This gives you the best selection of materials at competitive prices. The downside is that if you make a mistake measuring and order the wrong dimensions, you’re not going to be a happy camper.
Obviously, opt to consult local contractors if you plan on having someone else install them. But if you have your own maintenance people, then order online with a toilet partition supplier.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Bathroom Partitions
First, consider your overall ambiance. The majority of upper-end businesses won’t go for powder-coated partitions. They dent easily, generally have fewer options, and look generic. They are also easy to stain or ruin if your maintenance staff uses any type of harsh chemicals.
Laminates are a good choice because they offer so many patterns and colors. However, as already stated, if you are in any type of humid area, or even if the climate is generally dry as a bone but there is a shower for employees to use or it’s in a gymnasium locker, the humidity will ruin the laminate quickly.
This leaves high-end businesses with either solid plastic or stainless steel.
By all means, order stainless steel partitions if you can afford it, but keep in mind that stainless steel is generally around $700 to $900, per stall while a solid plastic door may be cheaper by $300 or more per stall.
Since even the best of establishments need to count on replacing at least one stall once a year due to graffiti, the price difference does add up.
In addition, plastic partitions have one advantage that you wouldn’t have with stainless steel: you can decorate them with either wallpaper or tile, giving those who like to frequently redecorate their restrooms a real advantage, resulting in cheaper prices plus flexibility.
How to Install Bathroom Partitions
- First, line up all the panels, the doors, and pilasters (stiles that connect the doors to the panels), and the hardware such as screws and anchors.
- Make sure you pay attention to the direction so none of the anchors or brackets are upside down.
- Set up all the anchor points.
- Insert floor and ceiling anchors.
- Install brackets and posts on the wall.
- Put up the panels in place.
- Put pilaster onto the panel brackets in place.
- Mount pilasters.
- Install the headrail.
- Put swinging doors in place.
- Install shoes and support brackets.
If you have any questions, most partition hardware companies are happy to help, and often have written guidelines as well.
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