HDPE vs Phenolic vs SCRC

Whether you’re planning out your restroom, or you’re looking to renovate or remodel, it’s important to choose the right materials that’ll not only look great, but will also last. Choosing the wrong materials could cost you in wear and tear, along with expensive maintenance. Luckily, HDPE plastic stalls and partitions have proven to be a great material to utilize in your facility’s bathroom. Keep reading to learn about why HDPE is the material that you need in your facility’s restroom.

Comparing Other Materials to HDPE

HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is a durable solid plastic that’s become increasingly popular in bathroom renovations due to its solid secure structure, as well as its sustainable benefits. Most bathroom stalls are made up of Phenolic or SCRC (solid color reinforced composite) because they’ve been the go-to materials for many years. However, HDPE is proving  itself among the old standards by outperforming them in every way.

HDPE is a solid plastic. Phenolic features a hard exterior, but the interior is composed of permeated kraft paper. SCRC is a solid material, but it’s made from wood fibers, which aren’t always the strongest materials when put into the restroom.

Learn more about solid plastic bathroom partitions that solve many common commercial restroom problems.


While all of these materials have their strengths, it’s HDPE that rises above the rest due to its highly durable construction. It’s highly resistant to dents, scratches, and even graffiti. Phenolic can take a hit or two, but it’ll definitely leave a mark. If it gets spray painted, it won’t be able to be wiped away as it would on HDPE. Instead, it’ll require repainting in order to cover up the graffiti. SCRC does feature a highly durable structure, but it does have a breaking point.

Affecting the Air Quality

Because of the locations of these different materials, they’re susceptible to constant exposure to moisture and humidity. After enough exposure, Phenolic can actually absorb the moisture and begin to sprout mold and mildew. When mold and mildew have sprouted in the interior, the entire piece needs to be replaced. If left unchecked, the mold and mildew can actually reduce your restroom’s air quality. While SCRC doesn’t sprout mold when exposed to excessive moisture, the wetness can actually have a negative affect with screw retention.


Maintenance Costs

One of the biggest advantages that HDPE materials have over Phenolic and SCRC is the fact that it requires very little maintenance. Its homogenous color and solid construction leave little room for error. HDPE just needs a simple cleaning every now and again. It doesn’t even need to be repainted, which makes it a major benefit when it comes to keeping your air quality clean.

Phenolic is susceptible to a variety of wear and tear and requires a lot of upkeep in order to get your money’s worth. SCRC does provide a good construction, but it can chip, scratch, and dent. HDPE saves you the trouble, and the costs, of excess maintenance.

Interested in learning more about how you can reduce bathroom maintenance costs and improve your restroom’s air quality? Check out the durable, sophisticated, and easy-to-clean Eclipse Partitions!


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Solid Plastic color throughout


Resin impregnated kraft paper


Fibers, dyes & resins with color throughout

MYTH: HDPE, Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions are manufactured from the same material.


FACT: High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) bathroom partitions are comprised of high density polyethylene resin & pigments.  Phenolic bathroom partitions are comprised of a melamine sheet then multiple layers of resin impregnated kraft paper.  Solid color reinforced composite (SCRC) bathroom partitions are made from a homogeneous composite of cellulose fibers, dyes & resins with a GraffitiOff surface coating. Independent testing reveals Scranton Products HDPE is a better material choice to withstand the harsh environments of commercial bathroom partitions.


Comparing the numerous laboratory test throughout this document HDPE, Phenolic and SCRC were graded on a scale of 1—3, 1 being the least favorable and 3 the most. Testing shows that Scranton Products HDPE is the best material choice with a score of 15 out of 18 and then Phenolic with 13 out of 18 and SCRC with 10 out of 18.


MYTH: HDPE, Phenolic and SCRC are all resistant to mold and mildew.

FACT: HDPE exhibited no microbial growth during the testing period. In just 21 days Phenolic had mold and mildew growth and a additional amount of growth within 28 days.  Bathroom partitions are placed in environments where materials are susceptible to mold & mildew, therefore it is important to choose a material that is microbial resistant.


Testing conducted in accordance with ASTM D3293. The results are shown in above. Samples were scored on a 0-10 scales, where 10 is the best microbial resistance. Test performed in 2013.


 MYTH: Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions have a more durable surface than HDPE bathroom partitions.


FACT: HDPE has the best abrasion resistance with the lowest surface wear. Phenolic and SCRC have a higher surface wear indicating a lower abrasion resistance than HDPE. The test performed mimics the surface abrasion that would result from normal handling, cleaning or polishing. Once the surface of Phenolic or SCRC have been scratched or worn, stains may be more difficult

to remove and some may leave a ghosting effect.1


1 Referenced from Bobrick Advisory Bulletin TB-60 Toilet Partition Cleaning & Maintenance  


HDPE has the highest abrasion resistance



The abrasion resistance of various bathroom partition materials was measured in accordance with ASTM G195 using the CS-10 abrasion wheel. This wheel was selected for this test because of its mild to medium abrading action, like that of normal handling, cleaning or polishing. Testing performed in 2013





MYTH: Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions have better graffiti resistance under all circumstances than HDPE bathroom partitions. 

FACT: Using Scranton Products recommended environmentally friendly cleaning solutions graffiti was removed in all instances from HDPE. It should be noted that both Phenolic and SCRC have an exterior coating to prevent graffiti that may deteriorate over time and may require specialized maintenance such as waxing.  HDPE, on the  other hand does not have an additional coating and no  specialized maintenance procedures are necessary.

Testing was conducted in accordance with ASTM D6578 . The test provides a standard set of conditions that can be used to evaluate the graffiti resistance of a surface. Seven marking agents and six cleaning products were used in the evaluation. Testing performed in 2013


MYTH: HDPE, Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions have the same screw retention capabilities. 

FACT: Test results show that HDPE performed with very high screw retention. SCRC testing failed at less than half the pull force to remove the same fastener. A portion of the SCRC surface broke free during the test (see photo below right),  exposing the inner layers of the material. This could negatively impact the durability of the hardware mounted on the bathroom partitions.




MYTH: Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions are only slightly more expensive than HDPE bathroom partitions.

FACT: Scranton Products HDPE has the lowest initial cost and provides the lowest cost of ownership due to its performance, durability and long warranty. HDPE costs significantly less than the other two materials over a 25 year period. 


 The total cost over 25 years is based on replacing partitions at the end of their warranty period.



MYTH: Phenolic and SCRC bathroom partitions are as sustainable as HDPE bathroom partitions. 

FACT: HDPE is 100% recyclable and is available with up to 100% post-consumer content. Scranton Products HDPE material has 25-100% pre-consumer content. Phenolic and SCRC are not available as 100% post-consumer and are not recyclable. SCRC does not contain any pre-consumer content. HDPE does not contain any added Urea-Formaldehyde resins.