When setting up your public restroom, one of the most important things to account for is your toilet stall. In terms of materials, solid phenolic and stainless steel are the most popular partition choices. This article discusses the differences between these two materials so that you may choose which one suits your public restroom needs more.
Toilet stalls are often underappreciated. No one really stops to think about how a bad quality, poorly-installed stall can make for a bad public restroom experience. They are so important in the designing of a public restroom that architects and subcontractors take bathroom partitions very seriously. After all, they do take up the biggest space in any public restroom.
When it comes to choosing the materials for these partitions, many factors come into play. Architects and subcontractors have to consider the following:
- The establishment that the public restroom is for.
If the public restroom is to serve a public pool, a waterpark, or any other establishment near bodies of water, it’s only logical to choose toilet partition materials that are water and moisture resistant.
Materials like plastic laminate are cheaper but they are also porous. This means that they are prone to water damage if they are exposed to moisture.
- The expected foot traffic.
If a public restroom is situated in a high-traffic area, that only means that it is expected to serve a lot of people on the daily. Materials for these areas should be durable enough to withstand being used and potentially abused by hundreds of people day by day.
Low-traffic areas, on the other hand, can also pose potential dangers to toilet partitions. Because they’re not used frequently, public restrooms in these areas are susceptible to vandalism, with graffiti being the most common kind.
- Frequency of scheduled maintenance.
In large establishments like malls, restrooms usually have regular maintenance and cleaning schedules. Other establishments don’t have this luxury. So the toilet partition material they choose must be easy to clean. Odor-resistant and mold and mildew-resistant partitions are what works best in these situations.
Two materials seem to be favorites amongst subcontractors for their ability to meet most, if not all design demands: solid phenolic and stainless steel.
Solid Phenolic and Stainless Steel Bathroom Partitions
Solid phenolic panels are considered one of the best and strongest materials used for toilet partitions. They are made by putting melamine-soaked kraft paper layers under extreme pressure and temperatures. The more layers of kraft paper is used, the thicker and more durable the phenolic panel becomes.
Like plastic laminate, phenolic panels can be customized – there are hundreds of design possibilities to choose from.
Stainless steel is another crowd favorite for public restroom design. Unlike other metal toilet partitions, is resistant to rust, heat, and corrosion. Its sleek finish can give public restrooms a very luxurious feel.
Solid phenolic and stainless steel are both preferred in the world of bathroom partitions because of their features – most of which they have in common. They are both durable, easy to clean, and great against vandalism.
Strength and Durability
Both solid phenolic and stainless steel partitions are on the pricier side of the partition spectrum. However, they’re extremely durable. In the long run, you can save tons of money by investing in these partitions than by buying cheaper ones that constantly need to be replaced.
Their durability makes them perfect for high-traffic public restrooms and restrooms in vandalism prone areas.
Ease of Cleaning and Maintenance
A lot of toilet partitions are made out of porous materials. These materials absorb water, odor, and bacteria, making them high-maintenance partitions that need to be cleaned all the time just so they don’t get damaged.
Solid phenolic and stainless steel are water-resistant, moisture-resistant, mold-resistant, and rust-resistant. They aren’t porous so they won’t absorb odors and other nasty things that can splash around in a public restroom.
Again, these partition materials save you tons of money – money that would’ve otherwise gone to maintenance, cleaning, and replacement costs.
Resistance to Vandalism
Because solid phenolic and stainless steel toilet partitions are so durable, they are great choices against vandalism.
Scratches can be easily buffed off of stainless steel partitions. The laminated top layer of solid phenolic partitions is also resistant to minor scratches.
When it comes to graffiti, you can save money with these partitions as you wouldn’t need to purchase any additional anti-graffiti coatings or spend a lot to have graffiti removed. Any graffiti done on these partitions can still be easily removed – they are not permanent.
Differences and Unique Features
Of course, solid phenolic and stainless steel also have their differences and unique features. Some architects prefer one over the other due to these features.
Solid phenolic panels can be customized.
Because phenolic panels are made out of layers of kraft paper, they can be customized to take on any design you want. Before soaking the kraft paper layers in the resin mixture, you can have decorative paper of your choosing added to the top of these layers.
Stainless steel has a unique, sleek look.
Architects and interior designers like getting stainless steel toilet partitions for more luxurious public restrooms. Stainless steel has a sleek, elegant finish unlike any other toilet partition. You can even choose to have your stainless steel partition done with a textured finish – this aids in the material’s ability to resist vandalism.
Solid phenolic can be coated with protective paints.
While coating a solid phenolic toilet partition with protective paints isn’t exactly necessary, it can be done, unlike with stainless steel.
If you want to give your solid phenolic partitions extra protection from vandalism, graffiti, odors, mold, or other damaging substances, you can totally do so.
Stainless steel can be buffed.
If your stainless steel partition is looking a little dull, you can easily bring it back to life with a little buffing. When you buff your partitions, you not only bring back its natural gleam, you also remove any scratches on it, too.