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Pathway To Privacy – A Brief History Of Bathroom Partitions

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Most of us take bathroom convenience and privacy for granted but people haven’t always had the level of bathroom luxury that we enjoy today. In ancient Roman and Asian societies, for example, bathing and toilet facilities were shared. For the poor and middle classes, these facilities left much to be desired. The wealthy enjoyed cleaner and more pleasant facilities but the bathroom experience was still communal. When the Roman Empire fell, the bathroom experience only got worse. Eventually, public facilities had to be closed down somewhere in the 16th century, blamed for widespread sickness.

It wasn’t until the end of the 16th century that the first flushing toilet was invented in England. It was installed in a separate room in the castle to allow the Queen of England privacy but, unfortunately, the toilet didn’t flush well and wasn’t a big hit with the queen.

During the Industrial Revolution, toilet enclosures were built for use on city streets to accommodate workforce needs in the big cities. Some public toilets went underground during the Victorian era as less space became available at street level. These facilities were held to a high standard by the local health boards and provided a higher level of privacy.

The bathroom evolved further during the Industrial Revolution and early 20th century. As more and more women shopped and worked out of the home, private retiring rooms with partitions were developed to accommodate their needs and afford additional privacy.

In 1904, Frank Lloyd Wright, the great American architect, and innovator came up with an innovative way to make it easier to keep toilet enclosures clean. While working on the design of the Larkin Building in Buffalo, NY, he designed the first ceiling hung toilet partitions as well as suspended toilet bowls and sinks.

Partitions Allow For Greater Privacy

It certainly has taken a while to evolve the concept of the modern restroom that allows for individual privacy and provides a pleasant and sanitary space. In the last century, toilet partitions have played an important role in ensuring bathroom privacy. Over time they too have evolved, starting with the first, basic partitions made of wood or powder-coated steel, to a range of partitions developed over the last 40 years, such as baked enamel, laminate, phenolic, and stainless steel. Unfortunately, these materials don’t stand up to the wear and tear of today’s public bathroom and present many disadvantages:

  • They are prone to scratches and dents
  • Graffiti is not easily removed
  • They are susceptible to moisture and humidity
  • The core materials can be a breeding place for mold and bacteria
  • Maintenance issues outweigh any initial cost benefits

A more innovative approach to partitions has solved these problems while creating modern partitions that are extremely durable, aesthetically pleasing and sustainable.

Partitions for the 21st Century

Made from HDPE Plastic, Scranton Products restroom partitions offer a unique combination of sophisticated aesthetics, innovative design, superior privacy, and outstanding durability. A solid-core and non-porous surface make HDPE partitions highly resistant to moisture and humidity, therefore, these partitions never rust, corrode or need painting. They are resistant to mold and bacteria, resist dents and scratches, and graffiti easily wipes off.

Public restrooms have come a long way since the “communal experience.” Today, we expect public restrooms to provide a high degree of privacy, cleanliness, as well as high design. With its Aria Partitions®, Eclipse Partitions® and Hiny Hiders Partitions® product lines, Scranton Products offers a range of options that include sleek, modern design and the ultimate in privacy, making them the best choice for today’s public bathroom environments.

To learn more about Scranton Products bathroom partitions options, contact our sales specialists today. You can also download one of our product brochures for more detailed information.

Bathroom Stall Installation: How to Install Commercial Bathroom Stall Doors

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Whether you’re updating your facility’s bathroom, or you’re setting up the bathrooms in a new building, there are many steps to take to make sure you’re properly installing the bathroom stall doors. You’ll want secure and stable materials that can endure the process, but also last for a long time so you don’t need to worry about continual maintenance.

Choosing the Right Materials

The beginning steps of the installation process begin with the materials you choose. Many bathroom stalls are made of solid plastic (HDPE), baked enamel, stainless steel, phenolic plywood, or solid color reinforced composite. While there are many options in materials it is important to understand which material will perform the best in a restroom environment.

In commercial restrooms, humidity and moisture are unavoidable and are always-present factors that can have a negative effect on these different materials. Stainless steel and baked enamel can begin to rust after being surrounded by moisture for a long time.  Due to the composition of Phenolic it is susceptible to mold and mildew growth.  When mold grows, it can result in foul odors that can be difficult to get rid of. When mold is present inside these stalls, you’ll need to find a suitable replacement. You can avoid the foul odors, mold growth, and drop in air quality by choosing a material like HDPE (high-density polyethylene).  This high performance solid plastic features a durable construction that’s resistant to scratches, dents, graffiti, and moisture, providing a long lasting partition for your facility’s restroom.

Planning, Design, and Installation

It’s important to follow guidelines when it comes to planning your facility’s restroom. You should adhere to ADA guidelines to ensure your restroom and its partitions are easily accessible. The restrooms should also be well lit with protective fixtures that are easy to supervise and are fitted with vandal-proof covers.

When it comes to the actual stalls and partitions, there are a few things to consider with installation. There are three different layouts to choose from for your facility; floor mounted overhead braced, ceiling hung and floor to ceiling. Floor mounted overhead braced provided the most economical solution for high traffic areas where durability is top priority. Easy installation in new construction or existing buildings makes this a versatile style option. Each factory drawing is unique depending on manufacturer so it’s important to make sure you understand the drawings and abbreviations used.

Once you understand the dimensions and drawings in a typical restroom design with pilasters and doors you most likely will begin your installation with installing side and back wall brackets. The next step you will take is to attach your pilasters to the floor. The last step is to install your hinges and doors.

If you follow the correct design plans and guidelines, restroom partition and stall door installation in your facility should be relatively easy, and using the right materials will ensure that the partitions will be long-lasting and beneficial for both you and your facility’s occupants.