Toilet Partitions: The Buyers Guide
Choosing toilet partitions may seem simple enough, but when it’s time to make the decision it proves to be quite a challenge. Coordinating shop drawings between subcontractors and other trades, or staying on top of ADA compliancy are just a few of the issues faced in the field. The last thing superintendents or project managers want to do is click through article after article of useless information.
So, let’s get to the point.
There are many considerations in place while finding toilet partitions that are appropriate for your renovation or new construction project. Among the most important are material and mounting style.
There are several materials available, however today we are going to focus on the top four specified materials. Choosing the right material for toilet compartments will largely depend on the environment. Spas and aquatic centers exposed to high humidity should consider water resistant material such as: solid plastic (HDPE) or phenolic.
AMI has installed solid plastic partitions at Water Country USA, Stadiums, and schools in Hampton Roads, VA. Not only are solid plastic toilet partitions water resistant, but they also have a variety of different colors and textures to choose from. Plastic partitions are also graffiti resistant material that can be made from recycled content.
Phenolic toilet partitions are another great choice for high humidity areas. In addition, phenolic material is known for being impact resistant, resists oil and bacteria, and it is even used in shower compartments. Phenolic toilet partitions are available from established manufacturers like Bradley Mills, offering decades of experience and plenty of colors and patterns to choose from.
Although solid plastic and phenolic partitions can be installed in almost any environment, they are not always ideal. Luxury bathrooms at high end hotels and resorts often want to stand out in design. Plastic laminate and stainless steel are often great choices in these cases.
Stainless steel toilet partitions are known for both elegance and rigidity. Another benefit is that the finish often matches the satin toilet accessories in public restrooms, and they have an impressive warranty to protect the customer. Disadvantages are minimal, but it is worth noting that satin stainless steel is susceptible to dents, however textured finishes are available which minor dents would be less noticeable.
Plastic laminate partitions have been improving over the years in regard to quality, durability, and versatility. For example, ASI Global Partitions offers designer finish options from the Willsonart Collection; and, they have recently incorporated the Moisture Guard Edge Banding. Furthermore, the thickness and durability of the material allows for custom modifications like our custom glass doors at Kings Creek Plantation.
However, cost is often the main concern. If that is the case, then powder coated baked enamel is a great option. There are nearly unlimited color options for this durable material. Metpar’s Powder Shield partitions resist rust and humidity without chipping, a common problem with phenolic and laminate compartments. Cost efficiency is also improved, because the material is easy to work with and install.
When designing or budgeting your bathrooms, it is important to consider how the compartments will be secured in place. You will find that experienced professionals may catch things that would slip by the best of us. To break it down simply, let’s review the four most common mounting styles: Overhead Braced, Floor to Ceiling, Floor Mounted, and Ceiling Hung.
Over Head Braced
Overhead braced partitions are mounted securely to the floor and supported by a sturdy headrail. They are the most specified in our area, because they are durable, versatile, and readily available. An added benefit is that most skilled carpenters with knowledge of reading instructions can install overhead braced partitions without an issue. This is an over-all solid choice.
Floor to Ceiling
Unlike overhead braced partitions, floor to ceiling compartments are much more difficult to coordinate. Supports must be installed in the ceiling to a sturdy structure (preferably structural steel) prior to the toilet partition installation. Once installed, it is fairly difficult to adjust. This method does not allow room for error which can cause significant delays in the field while waiting for approvals and corrections. Furthermore, projects with multiple bathrooms rarely have the same ceiling height, creating a very detailed/complex order that can lead to a higher chance of mistakes and even longer lead times. You also have to consider the lighting and sprinkler systems that need to be avoided while installing. However, it is not our intention to deter anyone from floor to ceiling mounted partitions. Just be sure that the higher price and extensive planning are worth the added privacy, durability, or aesthetic appeal that is desired.
Ceiling hung toilet partitions are not recommended for ceiling heights over 8’. While ceiling hung partitions have similar setbacks as floor to ceiling partitions, they may save time and money in the long run. This option allows for complete floor access allowing maintenance personnel to clean the floors and compartments in an efficient manner.
Floor mounted toilet partitions are typically recommended in areas with unusually high ceilings. However, keep in mind this option requires a minimum of 3” concrete floor in order to securely anchor these partitions.
When you are ready to purchase toilet partitions, it is important to reflect on the information provided here. It is also imperative to choose a manufacturer that suits your project. If your project has LEED requirements you will want to ensure the manufacturer you choose can meet your requirements. Lastly, pay attention to detail in the design phase. We have seen contractors order continuous brackets just to find out the tile conflicts with installation. Or, doors swing into walls, counters, or people washing their hands at the sink. Be sure to closely review ADA compartments to ensure they meet local codes. By keeping informed you will be prepared for the challenges.