Preventing Mold and Mildew in Humid Weather

Humidity can cause a number of problems as well as serious health concerns. For building and facility managers, humidity also brings about the threat of mold or mildew.

To keep the indoor air quality of your facility high and to prevent potentially dangerous conditions for personnel and visitors, it’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent mold and mildew in humid weather.

To limit the instance of mold or mildew in your facility, follow these helpful tips.

How Does Humidity Cause Mold and Mildew?

Water is a vital ingredient for mold or mildew to grow. A high relative humidity indicates a high level of moisture in the air. That’s why on hot, humid days the air feels thick or heavy.

When warm, humid air comes in contact with a surface that’s cooler than the surrounding air, condensation can occur. When moisture accumulates on porous surfaces, it can cause mold to form.

That’s why keeping the relative humidity inside your building low is important for preventing mold and mildew.

How to Prevent Mold and Mildew from Forming

Keep Air Cool

Keeping the air inside your building cool is a great way to reduce airborne water vapor. It also makes the building more comfortable for you, your staff, and your visitors. The most common way to fill your building with fresh, cool air is by using an HVAC system or an air conditioning unit.

Increase Airflow

Another benefit of an HVAC system or air conditioner is that, in addition to providing cool air, it helps increase airflow. However, you can also increase the flow of air inside your building by using fans and keeping internal doors open. While this helps to keep fresh air coming into the building and prevents a room from filling with air that’s gone stale, it also makes it more difficult for moisture to accumulate and cause mold or mildew.

Use a Dehumidifier

If you frequently experience a humidity problem in only one area of your building, then it might be more cost-effective to install a dehumidifier in that area than to adjust the entire HVAC system or install multiple fans.

A dehumidifier is a powerful tool that allows you to easily regulate the relative humidity in a room. However, keep in mind that the larger the room, the more air that will need to be processed by the system.

Heat the Floor

While adding heat might seem counterintuitive, it’s actually an effective way to prevent condensation from forming on the floors or walls in below-ground areas or close to the foundation where temperatures are usually much cooler than the outside air.

As you read above, warmer air that comes in contact with cooler surfaces can result in condensation which can lead to mold.

Remove Porous Materials

One of the easiest ways to prevent mold and mildew in humid weather is to remove porous materials. While this might not be practical to execute for your entire building, it may be useful to think about targeting areas that are likely to be exposed to water vapor. One area you might want to target could be by the exterior doorways where humid outside air can enter the building.

Another area that should be free of porous materials is the restroom. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) is a mold- and mildew-resistant material that’s perfect for bathroom partitions and vanities. It can also be used for lockers in lockers rooms, especially if your traditional lockers are growing mold.

To learn more about HDPE solutions and how they can help to prevent mold and mildew in your facility, contact us at Scranton Products today.

Why You Should Consider Maintenance Costs When Designing a New Building

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It’s easy to overlook maintenance costs when designing a new building, but it could end up hurting you. That’s because administrators, contractors, architects, and other building officials are under constant pressure to keep costs down and stay within budget. However, choosing the cheapest materials or building methods can have expensive maintenance requirements.

In this post, we take a closer look at why it’s important to consider maintenance costs when designing a new building as well as the difference between initial cost and life cycle cost.

Understanding Initial Cost and Life Cycle Cost

When you create a budget for a new building design, you’re looking at the initial cost. The budget specifies how much of the allocated funds will be used for each component, including supplies and labor. Although it’s true that every project relies on this number for approval, shooting for the lowest initial cost isn’t always the best decision.

For example, when purchasing building materials, the least expensive option might be of the poorest quality. In most circumstances, you pay more for higher quality and longer material life span.

Life cycle cost, on the other hand, is a way of budgeting that considers the entire cost of a material over the course of its life span. This includes any anticipated repairs, replacements, or maintenance. For example, let’s say one lamp cost $100 and another cost $200. The first lamp is cheaper, but the life expectancy of the second lamp is three times as long.

Thus, you’d spend more money in the long run by purchasing the $100 lamp since you’d have to replace it twice before you’d need to replace the more expensive lamp.

Calculating Maintenance Costs

Now that you’ve learned the difference between initial and life cycle costs, it’s easy to see why buying for life cycle costs is the smarter choice. But how exactly do you know if a material or building method will help to lower maintenance costs? Here are a few ways to help you make the right decision.

Is It Easy to Clean?

Clean materials tend to outlast those that aren’t, so opting for materials and products that are easy to clean and care for is a great idea. But not only might the material last long, it could also save you money on cleaning costs since less cleaning materials will need to be used.

Maintenance Costs

Does It Resist Damage?

Being durable is a good sign that the product or material is going to help cut your long-term maintenance costs. The good news is, products that are resistant to damage like dents, scratches, or graffiti will usually showcase that aspect as one of the primary features of the product. If you’re not sure, talk with your architect or contractor.

What Kind of Regular Care Does It Need?

Lights will need to have their bulbs replaced, HVAC systems will require routine maintenance, but it’s important to know these things before you make a purchase and factor that into the life cycle cost. For example, HDPE bathroom partitions are colored throughout and don’t require painting or repainting, whereas metal partitions do.

As you can see, it’s vital for you to consider maintenance costs when designing a new building. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to building a cost-effective facility.

How You Can Prevent Bacteria Growth on Bathroom Partitions

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When you’re in charge of a public or commercial bathroom, you want to be sure that it remains clean and free of any harmful bacteria. It’s especially important to keep your bathroom partitions clear of any bacteria in order to create a sanitary space for its users.

But with all of the moisture and humidity in bathrooms, how can you prevent harmful bacteria growth, such as mold and mildew, on bathroom partitions?

You can have a clean, presentable, and sanitary bathroom thanks to the help of Scranton Products. Read on to learn how you can prevent bacteria growth on your bathroom partitions. Read more

How to Choose Commercial Bathroom Partitions for Virtually Any Facility

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As a professional contractor or building administrator, you’re faced with a number of important decisions. When it comes to sourcing materials for bathrooms, you want to be sure the that materials you choose are durable, require little routine maintenance, and fit within your budget, which can be easier said than done.

So in this post, we’ll teach you how to choose commercial bathroom partitions for just about any facility, from schools to stadiums to office buildings and more.

bathroom materials

 

Selecting Cost-Efficient Materials

One of the most important factors when choosing bathroom partitions is cost. There are many different materials available, with varying initial and long-term costs to consider. The five materials we’ll look at are enamel painted steel over paper, phenolic core, stainless steel, reinforced composite, and high-density polyethylene.

Baked Enamel Painted Steel Over a Paper Honeycomb Core

The most inexpensive of these is definitely baked enamel painted steel over a paper honeycomb core. This type of partition is frequently found in schools and office buildings because of its low initial cost. However, the life expectancy of enamel painted steel is extremely low given its propensity to rust when exposed to moisture.

Solid Phenolic (Black Core)

Solid phenolic core, sometimes referred to as black core because of its color, features a resin-impregnated kraft paper core. This material is very dense and composed of many compressed layers, similar to how fiberglass is created. However, this material is easily damaged by scratches.

Stainless Steel

Many designers for high-end establishments and sports clubs favor stainless steel because of its clean and modern look. However, stainless still is also prone to rust and high costs, both initially and in terms of routine maintenance. Stainless steel partitions are also known to show smudges and fingerprints easily, making them harder to keep looking clean.

[READ MORE: Commercial Bathroom Trends]

Solid Color Reinforced Composite (SCRC)

You’ll commonly spot SCRC in high-traffic areas such as sporting arenas, schools, and train stations. This material is durable like black core partitions. The two biggest downsides to SCRC are the high cost, as it’s much more expensive than solid plastic or stainless steel, and its limited color options.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is a type of solid plastic that’s perfect for use as commercial bathroom partitions. About 1 inch thick and solid color throughout, HDPE is highly resistant to graffiti, scratches, mold, mildew, and even bacteria. Given that this material is environmentally friendly and doesn’t negatively impact the indoor air quality, it’s a favorite for schools, medical facilities, and restaurants. It also requires little long-term maintenance.

Installation Types for Your Commercial Bathroom Partitions

Depending on the design of your commercial bathroom, there are four different methods for installing your bathroom partitions. The fastest and most economical option is to have the partitions floor mounted and overhead braced. This type of installation process works well with either wood or concrete floors and works by mounting the pilasters to the floor and the panels to the wall. An anti-grip aluminum headrail is positioned along the top of the partitions to offer additional support and stability.

If your bathroom has a low ceiling, you can choose to have them floor mounted only. This method requires at least 2 inches of concrete flooring in order for the pilasters to be mounted firmly. The panels are then mounted to the wall. The top of the partitions will be flush.

For a modern and unique look, or if the floors of your bathroom aren’t adequate for mounting, ceiling-hung partitions are a great option. You’ll need steel ceiling supports to withstand the weight and installation process. The pilasters are mounted to these supports, and the panels are mounted to the walls. One benefit of this installation method is that it makes the floor of the bathroom easy to clean.

[READ MORE: 9 Things to Consider Before Designing Your Commercial Bathroom]

The final installation method is floor-to-ceiling. In this scenario, pilasters are mounted to both the floor and the ceiling for maximum strength. It’s suggested that the facility have concrete floors and steel ceiling supports.

Choose a Color That Compliments

The last step in choosing commercial bathroom partitions is selecting the color. Materials like HDPE come in a wide variety of colors and textures so you have plenty of options to choose from. You can either go with a shade that matches the interior of the bathroom or pick a different color that compliments the theme. Either way, you’re sure to be left with one terrific-looking bathroom.

Want more information about building a cost-effective bathroom? Download our eBook The Professional’s Guide to Commercial Bathroom Renovations and Remodels. This FREE resource is full of useful information that will teach you pro tips for choosing materials, how advances in materials are leading to more fluid designs, and which must-have amenities your commercial bathroom needs.

Bathroom Privacy Ideas: Planning the Privacy in Your Bathroom

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Privacy is one of the most crucial components to your bathroom. Using the restroom is something that everyone experiences, and more often than not, they want to experience it privately. So, you need to figure out ways to ensure that your bathroom and the toilet partitions offer enough privacy and security for occupants to use comfortably. Keeping reading to check out some great bathroom privacy ideas!

Determining Any Weaknesses in Privacy & SecurityAria Partitions in Sandcastle Color

While you may think that your bathroom is confidential enough for you, you may want to take a closer look to notice some of the weak spots that hinder one’s privacy. This may include visible vantage points above or below the stall. However, it can also include the separation in the stall’s pieces, which may provide a clear view in between the door and the frame. If you notice these imperfections and issues, you should start thinking of ways to correct them so occupants can go to the bathroom worry-free.

Bathroom Privacy Ideas to Get Started

Here are some bathroom privacy ideas to get your gears turning and a full bathroom plan if you’re starting from scratch:

  • Add peel-and-stick frosted privacy glass over windows.
  • Separate your space with folding restroom privacy screens.
  • Find the right stall that offers ample privacy.
  • Sightlines can be removed through shiplap cut edges.
  • Angled doors and hidden hardware offer extra privacy to guests.

Bathroom Stalls with Ample Privacy

Some bathroom stalls on the market can offer your guests ample privacy. Their sightlines can easily be removed through a shiplap cut edge. Once closed, these partitions provide zero visibility due to the cut edges perfecting shutting out the seam.

Other HDPE toilet stalls, like Aria Partitions®, are specifically designed to provide each occupant with the ultimate privacy. Aria Partitions will provide you with innovative designs like overlapping edges, continuous edge mounted hinges and floor mounted side panels to keep these partitions as secure and private as possible.

Using HDPE for Private Partitions

HDPE plastic can be tailored to fit any design for your facility’s restroom. Whether you’re going for free-standing stalls, between-walls, open-ends, or alcove-style partitions, you’ll be happy to know that HDPE can be a versatile material to utilize in your restroom for your custom partitions. HDPE can be produced in a variety of different sizes, so you can figure out the best options to provide a secure toilet stall for your occupants who hold privacy very high.

It’s no secret that people want privacy when they’re using a public restroom. If you’re looking for ways to make your facility’s restroom more private for the occupants, check out the eBook Restroom Design for Commercial Facilities from your friends at Scranton Products.

 

Not All Bathroom Partitions Are Created Equally: The Differences Between Phenolic Core and Plastic (HDPE) Core Partition Materials

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All bathroom partition materials are the same, right? It’s just a door and a privacy separator between stalls, so why should you even bother looking into partition materials?

These misguided ideologies about bathroom partitions make for poorly constructed commercial bathrooms and public gyms that are susceptible to many types of damage. In fact, the materials for your bathroom partitions do matter, and Scranton Products is here to show you why.

Two common materials for bathroom partitions are phenolic core and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic core. While they may perform the same function, these materials are very different in their durability and longevity.

Let’s compare the two materials so you can see the differences between phenolic core and HDPE so you can make the right choice for your bathroom. Read more

The Top Ways to Save With Your Commercial Restroom

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Have you noticed that the expenses of the restrooms in your facility are leading to high costs? Whether it’s excessive maintenance and repairs or unnecessary waste, those dollars and cents can add up to an overwhelming total. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can cut back on costs and save money by changing some things in your commercial facility’s restrooms.

We’re going to help you cut the costs with some of the top ways to save with your commercial restroom!

 

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

You may not realize it, but your lightbulbs are costing you a fortune! You can easily combat this by swapping them out with LED lights, which not only last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they also use way less energy to light up the restroom. You can reduce the costs even further by installing motion sensors, which will turn out the lights when there’s a lengthy period of inactivity in your restroom.

 

Utilize Motion-Sensing Faucets and Hand Dryers

Sometimes, the unnecessary expenditure of water can show a spike in your water bill. Whether an occupant leaves the water running or there’s a drip occurring throughout the day, it can end up adding to your overall costs. Installing motion-sensing faucets can greatly reduce water waste. Occupants won’t forget to turn off the faucet or fail to tighten the valve enough, reducing the water that gets wasted throughout the day.

Another way you can save with occupants washing their hands is by getting hand dryers. This prevents you from having to reorder paper towels each month. Not only will you notice a drop in expenditures on toiletries, but you’ll be taking your restroom into a greener direction.

 

Install Cost-Efficient Toilet Partitions

You may not realize it yet, but your toilet partitions can be a big red flag when it comes to the high costs of maintaining your restroom. Traditional partitions with a paper core are left susceptible to the elements, namely humidity and moisture, which can sprout mold within the partition and call for an entire replacement. Since mold is nearly impossible to remove from the interior of a partition, the entire partition needs to be replaced, which leads to high costs.

You can forgo replacing your partitions by choosing a material that can stand up to the moisture and humidity. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic is one of the best materials for commercial restrooms due to its solid construction, non-absorbent exterior, and the fact that they’re built to last and are warranted for 25 years. These partitions are also low-maintenance, which saves you money over time by spending less man hours and money in the restroom. These partitions pay for themselves in just a few years due to the money you saved on maintenance.

 

Learning More About Saving Costs with Your Restroom

In this guide, you learned that when it comes to cutting costs in your facility’s restroom, you’ll need to utilize the right materials to truly see the money you’ve saved. Want to learn more about HDPE and how it can benefit your restroom? Check out this blog post, How HDPE Partitions Can Save You Money, from your friends at Scranton Products!

 

Take your HDPE research even further by seeing how it would look in your facility with our 3D Partition Visualizer!

Summer School Cleaning & Maintenance Plan

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During the typical school year, your building experiences a lot of use. However, performing the maintenance and large-scale cleaning that’s needed isn’t always an option when school is in session. That’s why many educational facilities wait until the summer recess to complete large-scale projects. However, this still leaves two possible conflicts.

The first conflict occurs when a school is still used during the summer months. Some schools, for instance, run summer camp programs, while others serve as pseudo community centers for public meetings or for clubs and organizations. Although it’s terrific that the school is being used by the community throughout the year, it makes it even harder for building officials to perform the needed cleaning and maintenance.

The second conflict arises from the mere effort of trying to complete multiple major projects in such a short span of time. This puts additional pressure on administrators to plan and coordinate with project leaders thoroughly ahead of time to make sure that the maintenance and cleaning can be completed within the time frame before students and faculty return to class.

Cleaning and Maintenance Plan

1.      Clearly define the objective.

The first step to designing a successful cleaning and maintenance plan is to clearly define the object. For instance, “Clean the entire building, top to bottom” isn’t a clear object.

Ambiguity is the enemy of effective planning, so be specific. Do the floors and carpeting on all levels need to be cleaned? Do the lockers need to have graffiti removed or need repairs?

Making a clear plan will also help when determining cost and balancing the school’s budget.

2.      Consider the stages and order of maintenance and cleaning.

You should also consider the order in which the maintenance and cleaning is performed. It’s highly recommended that, in most cases, cleaning is performed after maintenance. This is because some maintenance can leave behind dust and debris.

locker checklist

If the cleaning team came before the maintenance was completed, they would have to come back and perform a second cleaning. This redundancy can result in an inefficient use of the school’s budget and unnecessarily extend project timelines.

3.      Prioritize cleaning and maintenance projects.

Planning major cleaning and maintenance over the summer gives your teams only a few months to complete these projects. As a result, you may need to prioritize which projects are done at the beginning of the summer and which are done later. You may also need to determine which projects should be done right away and which ones, if any, can wait until next summer if time constraints require them to be postponed.

Most experts agree that your primary focus when thinking of cleaning and maintenance should be on areas of safety or health concerns. Many times this involves restrooms, locker rooms, and cafeterias. For example, bathroom partitions or lockers that have been damaged by rust can pose a serious safety risk, as corrosion can weaken the structure and leave sharp edges exposed.

4.      Identify materials that need to be replaced and the timeline needed to replace materials.

When choosing replacement products, be sure to select cost-effective materials that provide adequate durability and low maintenance costs and don’t negatively impact the indoor air quality of the school.

One material that features all of these characteristics and more is HDPE. Used in the making of bathroom vanities, partitions, and lockers, HDPE is a highly versatile and dependable material.

The High Cost of Cheap Construction Materials in Your Facility

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When you’re choosing materials for your bathroom, locker room, hallway, or any other part of your facility, it’s easy to cut costs and go with the cheapest, simplest option. However, your facility construction needs to be approached with care and attention to detail to ensure that it’s built to the highest degree and will stand the tests of time.

At Scranton Products, we hate to see facility construction gone wrong due to the inadequacies of commonly chosen materials. To help you build the most durable, long-lasting facility available, we’re here to show you the high cost of cheap construction materials in your facility. Read more

How to Build an Eco-Friendly Building

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As industrialization continues to expand, increasing pressure is placed on businesses to reduce their carbon footprints and become more environmentally conscious. This responsibility has given rise to the eco-friendly building, a design strategy that promotes recycling and sustainability in an attempt to leave a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Wondering how to build an eco-friendly building and the benefits of eco-friendly building? Check out these five methods that many companies are already using.

Use Wind Power to Make Your Building Eco-Friendly

The great thing about wind is that it costs nothing to manufacture, is abundant, and can provide a renewable energy source for green-focused buildings. By catching the wind’s power, windmills can convert that power into usable energy that can provide your building with electricity. Windmills also help businesses to reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

Turn to Solar Energy

If wind power isn’t a practical option for your building, there’s another renewable energy source that’s been powering the world’s greenest machines for millions of years: the sun.

Similar to how windmills are used to convert wind power into electricity, solar panels allow engineers to convert solar energy from the sun into electrical energy that can be used to power anything from lights to small electronics and even entire buildings.

What’s even better is that a building’s most underused area, the roof, is also the ideal spot to install solar panels. However, if the roof of your building doesn’t get enough sunlight during the day, solar panels can be installed elsewhere and then have the electricity sent to your building.

Recycle Rain Water

Some innovative architects have been able to use rainwater to reduce a building’s need to rely on city water. Collection reservoirs placed on the roof can channel water through filtration systems to help cool the building or to use it to flush the toilets. This same water would otherwise likely pool on the roof or around the building, only to be evaporated by the sun.

By recycling the water in this way, the building can use the rainwater instead of it potentially going to waste.

Turn a Portion of Your Building Green

Dedicating space in your building to promote plant life is a terrific way to build an eco-friendly building. This can be as simple as installing a rooftop garden or as drastic and eye catching as a green wall.

By making your building more hospitable for plants, you’ll help to increase the production of oxygen in the area and also keeping your building cooler, in the case of rooftop vegetation, than a concrete rooftop.

Use Recycled and Sustainable Materials

One of the easiest ways to build an eco-friendly building is to use recycled and sustainable materials during the construction stage. By using recycled concrete, steel, and other materials, your future building is helping to reduce the amount of waste and pollution normally created during the manufacturing stage of these products. You’ll also be reducing the use of non-renewable resources.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is one popular material made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable. HDPE is also easy to clean, helping to reduce the need for harmful cleaning products or excessive water. Since the material is colored throughout, no painting or repainting is necessary, helping to improve indoor air quality.

Use one or all of these tactics when building your eco-friendly building.

To learn more about HDPE materials and how to use them within your building, contact us at Scranton Products.