HDPE vs Phenolic Toilet Partitions

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When it comes to bathroom partitions, your options are limited. There’s metal and then there’s plastic. So how do you know which material is the best fit?

In this article, we compare HDPE (high-density polyethylene) vs. phenolic toilet partitions, two of the most popular materials on the market, so you can see how they stack up. We’ll also help you decide which material is right for your next remodel or construction project.

HDPE vs Phenolic Material Comparison

HDPE features solid plastic with color throughout. When the 1-inch-thick panels are configured into a standard toilet partition, it weighs about 165 lbs. Phenolic, on the other hand, is resin-impregnated kraft paper, featuring ¾- and ½-inch panels and pilasters.

Many people have the misconception that HDPE and phenolic toilet partitions are made from the same material. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

HDPE vs Phenolic

HDPE is made of high-density polyethylene resin and pigments. Phenolic partitions, on the other hand, are made of a melamine sheet and many layers of resin-impregnated kraft paper. When it comes to the harsh conditions that can be found in commercial restrooms, HDPE offers additional performance in microbial resistance, surface durability, sustainability, and cost of ownership.

Let’s take a closer look at those categories now.

Microbial Resistance of HDPE and Phenolic Partitions

Resistance to mold and mildew is an important quality when talking about commercial bathroom partitions. Moisture is certainly abundant, and porous surfaces are most at risk.

In a controlled scientific test, we found that HDPE was 100% resistant to mold and mildew. Meanwhile, phenolic took only 21 days to begin showing signs of mold and mildew growth. By day 28, that number continued to rise.

Comparing Surface Durability

Public restrooms can undergo heavy use, and their ability to stand up to normal wear and tear is essential for keeping operating costs down. When it comes to abrasion resistance, HDPE comes out on top compared to phenolic toilet partitions. Phenolic experiences higher surface wear, which indicates a lower resistance to abrasion. This wear could come from normal handling, cleaning, or polishing.

What’s more is that once the surface of the phenolic toilet partition has been worn or scratched, it may be more difficult to remove stains or a ghosting effect could occur.

Sustainability

It’s no secret that HDPE is 100% recyclable, but did you now that it’s also available in 100% post-consumer content? Phenolic, on the other hand, isn’t recyclable and it’s not available in any amount of post-consumer content.

HDPE partitions are also low-emitting materials and free of added urea-formaldehyde resins. Phenolic partitions can’t say the same.

Cost of Ownership

One of the most important factors that designers consider when sourcing materials is the cost of ownership. HDPE partitions have a relatively low initial cost and even fewer long-term costs when you consider its impeccable durability. Meanwhile, phenolic partitions may cost you more upfront and require additional long-term costs compared to HDPE.

 

How to Choose the Right Bathroom Vanity

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Unfortunately, vanity shopping has nothing to do with buying new expensive clothes for yourself. Instead, it refers to bathroom vanities, and choosing the right one can be just as difficult as choosing the right shirt for a party. You want something that’s stylish, will go along with your restroom design, and will leave a lasting impression on your guests. But you also need it to hold up to heavy use and general wear and tear.

Understanding How Much Vanity You Need

It’s likely that the size of your facility will dictate how large your bathroom vanity can be. Smaller bathrooms, for instance, may only have space for a small vanity with a single sink. However, larger bathrooms, like commercial bathrooms, may be able to accommodate much longer vanities that have two or more sinks built in.

If your bathroom has only one toilet, then a vanity with a single sink and mirror is probably more than enough. But if there are two or more toilets (or a toilet and a urinal), you might consider choosing a longer vanity if the bathroom has room for it.

bathroom material

Storage Space Under the Vanity

Will cleaning products and toilet tissue refills be stored in the bathroom or in another location like a storage closet? If you plan on keeping them in the bathroom, you’ll need adequate storage space so they’re out of sight until your cleaning staff needs them. Most vanities can be built with drawers and cabinets, giving you ample space for storing supplies.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that while storage space is nice, it’s not always a convenient addition for your guests. This is especially true for the disabled, who may need space below the bathroom vanity to move in if they’re restricted to a wheelchair. Consult with your architect about ADA requirements and how to make sure that your bathroom provides accommodations for disabled individuals.

Choose Bathroom Vanity Material Wisely

The material your bathroom vanity is made from is just as important as the color, texture, or design. For example, a metal vanity wouldn’t be a good idea for a vanity that also features a sink or any plumbing. That’s because metal is highly susceptible to rusting when it comes in contact with moisture.

Although it can offer a distinctive look, wood isn’t necessarily a good choice for your bathroom vanity either. Wood is extremely porous and can easily absorb water should there ever be a leak. Once the wooden vanity absorbs water, it’s likely to begin rotting and could even start to grow mold, which is dangerous for both your staff and your guests.

One type of material that seems to be perfectly suited for bathroom vanities is high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Durable plastic vanities come in a wide variety of colors and textures and are naturally resistant to rust, mold, mildew, and even graffiti.

For more information about HDPE and bathroom design, check out our free eBook Restroom Design for Commercial Facilities.This helpful guide features tons of information on basic restroom requirements, sustainability, material options, and more.

Danger Lurking in Your Wooden Bathroom Vanities

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In the 21st century, wooden vanities are like wooden fireplaces—not so much so that you should be worried about them catching fire, but more in the way that they’re not a good idea. In fact, there could be any number of dangers lurking in your wooden bathroom vanities, especially if they’re near a water source.

In this post, we take a closer look at what problems your wooden bathroom vanities may pose as well as a cost-effective alternative.

Dangers of Your Wooden Vanity

There’s one element present in bathrooms that can be extremely damaging to wood surfaces: moisture. Even if the vanity is laminated and sealed, it doesn’t guarantee that moisture won’t be able to find its way inside and begin wreaking havoc on the delicate wood below.

When moisture comes in contact with a porous surface such as wood, a number of things can occur. For one, it becomes a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold can be extremely harmful and even life threatening in certain cases.

But that’s not the only issue. As moisture remains present, the wood may begin to rot and break down.

In either scenario, the wooden bathroom vanity will need to be repaired or replaced entirely. But moisture isn’t the only threat to your wooden vanities.

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Wooden Vanities Prone to Damage and Graffiti

Wood, unlike tougher materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or steel, is easily damaged. This damage may be caused accidentally, like a maintenance worker chipping the wood while working on nearby pipes. Or it may be done intentionally by vandals who want to deface the vanity by scratching or writing on it.

Both of these problems are fairly common with wooden bathroom fixtures in commercial settings, and it’s also true that their presence tends to inhibit more. So it’s vital if your wooden bathroom vanity is damaged or defaced to repair or replace it right away.

An Alternative to Wooden Bathroom Vanities

If you’d rather not deal with the dangers that can lurk in a wooden vanity, there are some alternatives out there, like HDPE. This highly durable plastic has been used to make vanities, bathroom partitions, and lockers. The best part is that it’s 100% resistant to all of the problems that plague wooden vanities.

Since HDPE is non-porous, it’s resistant to mold and mildew. It will also never rot and is highly resistant to scratches and even graffiti.

But that’s still not all of the benefits of using HDPE for your bathroom vanity. It’s also resistant to bacteria, so your bathroom is actually cleaner and healthier.

If you’re tired of repairing and replacing your wooden bathroom vanities, consider an alternative like HDPE. You can learn more about this versatile material by contacting our team at Scranton Products.

If you’re interested in redesigning the rest of your bathroom as well, then check out our free eBook Restroom Design for Commercial Facilities. 

Will the Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bill Affect Commercial Restroom Design?

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With the conversation about LGBTQ rights elevating in volume across the globe, one proposed piece of legislation has building managers particularly concerned: the gender-neutral bathroom bill.

However, they’re not necessarily worried about who’s using which bathroom, but rather what the bill will mean for commercial restroom design and how it could impact the facility’s budget.

What’s the Gender-Neutral Bathroom Bill?

So far, no such gender-neutral bathroom bill has been passed into law in the US, but some businesses have taken it upon themselves to update their restroom policies. Global retailer Target, for example, announced that transgender employees and customers were free to use any bathroom they wanted depending on the gender they identify with. However, following public protests and media controversy, the Minnesota-based company is now dedicating $20 million to ensure gender-neutral bathrooms in all 1,800 stores.

Several gender-neutral bathroom bills have been designed in states such as New York and California, but all have fallen apart. Many of the proposed bills had a similar policy. They called for all single-occupant bathrooms should be labeled as gender neutral.

Meanwhile, other bills requiring people to use bathrooms that matched the gender to which they were assigned at birth have also fallen through, except for the controversial Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act that passed in North Carolina earlier this year. This bill prevents transgender people who haven’t undergone sex reassignment surgery and updated their birth certificate from using the restroom that matches their gender identity.

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What Building Managers and Designers Need to Know

Should a gender-neutral bathroom bill for single-occupant bathrooms be passed into law, many building managers might find it easier to be compliant than they originally may have thought. For example, in a facility that only has single-occupant restrooms, all that may be needed is to remove the gender signs from the entrance and replace them with a gender-neutral sign or possibly no sign at all. In fact, there are many single-occupant bathrooms across the country that are already compliant in this way.

However, buildings that have multiple-occupant bathrooms may face a different challenge if these types of facilities are included in the bill. As was the case when Target announced its LGBTQ-friendly bathroom policy, public unrest could cause businesses to install new, gender-neutral bathrooms.

What Would It Mean for Commercial Restroom Design?

Since no gender-neutral bathroom bill has been successfully passed into law, it’s difficult to calculate exactly how it would affect commercial restroom design. However, there are many ways that designers and building architects may decide to handle the challenge, depending on what the legislation mandates.

For example, designers might factor a third, gender-neutral bathroom into their building designs. Another possible alternative, although probably less likely, is the completely coed bathroom, which features private, lockable stalls for all occupants.

It’s still unclear what, if any, impact a gender-neutral bathroom bill would have on commercial restroom design. However, current events have proven that the gender-neutral bathroom is something worth considering as architects and designers plan for new facilities.

How to Stop Vandalism and Graffiti in School Bathrooms

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Removing graffiti and repairing vandalism can cost your school a lot of money and how to stop vandalism is not as easy as it seems.

Not only that, but it can also give people the impression that your school is unsafe or not well maintained. To promote a positive learning environment and reduce expenses, many administrators are looking for new ways to prevent graffiti and other forms of vandalism from happening in the first place

Because vandalism is typically carried out in solitude, bathrooms are frequently targeted. For that reason, this post will concentrate on how to stop vandalism and graffiti in school bathrooms.

Act Quickly to Remove Signs of Vandalism & Graffiti

One thing that tends to promote graffiti is the existence of other vandalism. That’s why it’s important to have your custodial staff remove graffiti as soon as it’s spotted. Even waiting until the next day could inspire other acts of vandalism and lower the perceived quality and safety of your institution. Keep in mind that complete graffiti prevention is virtually impossible, but you can keep the instance of vandalism down by acting quickly.

commercial restroom cleaning

The same is also true for repairs. A bathroom with malfunctioning toilets, broken mirrors, or other issues isn’t only inconvenient, it can impact the way others treat the space. A well-maintained bathroom will likely encourage occupants to treat it with respect. A school bathroom that’s in poor condition, on the other hand, could suffer from further misuse.

Consider Using a Labyrinth Entrance

A labyrinth entrance is a design tactic that uses a turning hallway instead of a door to provide privacy into the bathroom. This type of entrance can help to reduce the occurrence of vandalism in two ways. First, it makes the distinct sounds of vandalism more noticeable by those outside the bathroom. This helps to remove a level of secrecy that most vandals hide behind.

The second way that a labyrinth entrance can help to prevent graffiti and vandalism is that there’s no door to sound an alert to vandals that security personnel is coming. Since the vandals can’t tell if someone is about to walk in and catch them in the act, they’re less likely to attempt to vandalize the bathroom.

Removing the doors on bathrooms and using a labyrinth entrance instead is also one way to keep bathrooms germ-free.

Use Graffiti-Resistant Materials

One of the most effective ways to prevent graffiti in your school bathrooms is to use graffiti-resistant materials like HDPE. HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a plastic material that’s resistant to graffiti, scratches, corrosion, and even germs. This durable material can be used in a variety of applications in the bathroom, including the stalls and vanities. As an added precaution, HDPE can also be manufactured with rough textures or in dark colors to create an undesirable surface for would be vandals to leave graffiti on.

You should avoid using materials like smooth steel and wood, which are easily damaged and defaced.

Above all, if you want to stop vandalism and graffiti in the bathrooms at your school, start by concentrating on keeping your facility clean and in good working condition. If you’d like to learn more about graffiti-resistant HDPE, contact Scranton Products today.

Commercial Bathroom Design & Trends

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commercial bathroom designCommercial bathrooms have come a long way from being merely utilitarian to now incorporating commercial bathroom design and trends that have a sense of style and pride within a facility. It makes a difference for occupants when the restroom is of a higher quality when it comes to appearance and design.

So, what are the latest commercial bathroom trends? They are top-notch materials and a relaxing, almost therapeutic design aesthetic. All in all, people are looking for upscale public restrooms with high-end materials, commercial bathrooms that feel more like home, and design influences that match the environment around them in a way that’s comforting and relaxing. There are new and exciting commercial bathroom designs that architects are using to stay with the forward trends.

Let’s take a closer look at these trends and see what we can learn about improving our bathroom designs for a much more pleasant and stylistic appearance, as well as a comfortable experience for future occupants.

commercial bathroom design

 

Added Sophistication

People rarely think of luxury and sophistication when talking about public bathrooms, but now that’s exactly what people want. High-end materials like granite and stainless steel are making their way from the kitchen to the restroom, providing a high-quality experience for occupants. Incorporating these materials, or materials that look like granite or stainless steel, into your commercial bathroom help to elevate the design quality of these commercial bathrooms.

commercial bathroom designWhile choosing stylish materials can add a much-needed sophistication to the commercial restroom, you may want to rethink your strategy so you can make your public restroom sustainable and clean. Wooden and stainless steel partitions do add to the bathroom’s stylistic appeal, but they’re also susceptible to unwanted mold growth due to the high volume of moisture and humidity in the bathroom. Mold can eventually work its way into the interior of these materials, causing foul odors and a major decline in air quality.

Utilizing durable materials like HDPE (high-density polyethylene) to replace traditional materials has numerous benefits. HDPE is resistant to humidity and moisture due to its solid plastic construction, and unsightly mold won’t grow, resulting in foul smells and less-than-stellar air quality. Architects and designers realize that using this material has many benefits in both appearance and function. Plus, bathroom partitions like Eclipse Partitions from Scranton Products feature no-sight hardware, eliminate sight lines, and have various privacy options.

 

Check out our designer, mosaic, and metallic color series combined with our contour or rotary brushed textures to add some luxury and sophistication to your next bathroom project.

 

There’s No Place Like Home

When it comes to bathrooms, there’s nothing like having your own private space. So it’s no surprise that one of the hottest commercial bathroom design trends happening now is creating a spa-like bathroom with premium materials. Designers are also replacing the bright, florescent lighting, often the hallmark of public bathrooms, with softer incandescent down lighting to make it easier on the eyes and to provide a more comfortable and welcoming environment without the harsh lights becoming bothersome to occupants.

While privacy is one of the most important factors when designing a bathroom, function is equally as important when designing your commercial bathroom or public restroom. Architects and bathroom designers are utilizing more durable materials like HDPE when creating the stalls and partitions. HDPE materials that are being used have the benefits of being scratch- and graffiti-resistant. Due to these choices, replacements aren’t as frequent because the HDPE material can last for a long time.

Designers know to use these durable partitions for the benefit of having a long-lasting partition without needing to conduct any repairs. However, they also understand that the occupant’s privacy is another major factor to consider with their design plans. Architects and designers are starting to incorporate privacy features like taller doors and privacy hinges. The privacy hinges serve a functional purpose, but due to their hidden placement, the stalls and partitions deliver a clear and solid look without unsightly metal hinges and parts from interfering with the stylistic appeal.

 

View our new Eclipse Partitions to add privacy and aesthetics to your next restroom project.

 

Keep a Common Theme

Designers are taking elements from the rest of a building’s interior design or the surrounding environment and bringing it into the restroom for a more coherent and seamless look. This goes way beyond the simple themed bathroom that pays homage to an era, a famous person, or a pop culture icon. Examples include the public restroom at Bryant Park in New York. This bathroom mimics the design of the nearby New York Public Library. Bryant Park’s public restrooms were so well received that they were voted number one by Virtual Tourist.

Meanwhile, the restrooms at Santa Monica Pier in California feature an undulating roof evoking thoughts of a vintage rollercoaster or the nearby ocean waves. This stylistic and thematic approach to bathroom design has garnished a great deal of attention and praise. The bathroom at The Muse Hotel in New York allows visitors to choose if they’re feeling envious, passionate, glamorous, rebellious, macho, or vain. This kind of fun approach has made the bathrooms in the Muse Hotel some of the more popular public restroom facilities in the New York City area.

What all these bathrooms have in common is a uniqueness that’s personal, original, and aesthetically pleasing. To add uniqueness to your next project, consider adding custom embossing like a school mascot, company logo, or other personalized details that not only add to the restroom’s aesthetics, but make the restrooms seem more a part of the whole building. This type of consistency adds a more pleasing appearance and a comfortable atmosphere for the occupants.

 

For more inspiration, check out these resources for public bathroom design that are among some of the most stylish and unique in the United States. Take notes and improve upon the designs to find your perfect commercial restroom.

America’s Most Awesome Public Restrooms

Cintas’ America’s Best Restroom® Contest Hall of Fame

9 Things to Consider Before Designing Your Commercial Bathroom

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Commercial bathroom design involves a lot of moving parts, all of which need to be considered before implementation if your design is going to be worth building. The most important factors to consider before designing your commercial bathroom include the number of users, durability, water savings, and serviceability. You also need to consider initial and operational costs, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, materials, and building codes.

Though it might seem like a lot of balls to juggle, making sure to discuss these nine components will help you ensure that your commercial bathroom design is a winner.

1.    Number of Occupants

The number of people you expect to be using your commercial bathroom will greatly alter its final design. For example, a bathroom at a major sports complex will need to accommodate more occupants to avoid excessive queuing than a commercial bathroom located at a small family doctor’s office.

Understanding the expected amount of demand or use will help you to determine how large to make the restroom, how many commercial bathroom stalls or urinals to include, how many sinks or hand drying fixtures you’ll need, and so on.

commercial bathroom design

2.    Durability

There’s no doubt that building owners want the commercial bathrooms to be durable, but what level of durability is being required? For instance, a wooden bathroom vanity provides some durability. However, wood is highly susceptible to water damage from leaky pipes, scratches, graffiti, and other damage.

Meanwhile, materials such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) provide exceptional durability. HDPE is resistant to dents, unlike metal, as well as scratches, mildew, graffiti, and more. HDPE also reduces environmental impact and offers improvements to the indoor air quality of the bathroom.

3.    Water Savings

The choice of water-using fixtures is an important one because it will determine both initial and long-term costs for the facility. For example, the average toilet uses 1.6 gallons of water each time it’s flushed. A high-efficiency toilet, on the other hand, uses 1.28 gallons. If a toilet is flushed 10 times each day, the average unit would use 5,840 gallons a year while the high-efficiency unit only used 4,672.

A bathroom with three high-efficiency toilets could save roughly 3,504 gallons of water per year compared to a commercial bathroom with three standard toilets.

4.    Serviceability

Should damage or a major plumbing problem arise, you’ll want to make sure that your commercial bathroom is easily serviced. That way a qualified repair team can quickly fix the problem and get your bathroom up and running again. This may be achieved by adding a service panel on the other side of the wall where workers can reach pipes or wiring.

5.    Initial Costs

Understanding the initial costs of your project will help you to better determine how to design it. How much will it cost to purchase materials? Provide installation? Inspection fees? These initial costs will ultimately help to define the budget for your project, which could dictate your final design. For example, it may be more cost-effective to add more urinals and fewer toilets in the men’s room.

6.    Operational Costs

After you take into account the initial costs of building the bathroom, you should consider the long-term operational costs. This can include the cost to provide lighting and electricity, water, and the cost for maintenance and repairs. One way to keep operational costs down is to use high-quality, durable materials for fixtures and vanities.

7.    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility

For your design to meet ADA guidelines, you need to have them in mind when developing your commercial bathroom. This can include many parts of the restroom, including the entrance. For example, a labyrinth-style entrance should have enough room for a wheelchair to pass through with room to spare on either side.

8.    Economic Quality of Fixtures Used

Will your design use the good, better, or best materials available? Good materials are often low in price but may require frequent maintenance or provide a low level of durability. The best materials, on the other hand, typically provide a higher initial cost but require less attention in terms of maintenance and repairs. HDPE, for instance, is extremely durable and long lasting, making it a popular material for commercial bathroom projects.

9.    Local Codes

Before you start designing a commercial bathroom, you want to know what the local codes and regulations are. This will significantly impact what you can and can’t do in terms of design. Failure to consider the local building and occupancy codes could result in denied building applications and potential legal issues in the future.

Learn more about the many HDPE products available for your commercial bathroom design.