Should Your Office Use Stainless Steel or Powder-Coated Steel Bathroom Stalls?
Workplace bathrooms are important places of business — a different kind of business than the fundamental office duties.
It’s part of the reason why selecting the right bathroom stall material can be challenging. Many offices opt for the durable, easy-to-match, anti-corrosive steel partitions and stalls that are so common in commercial restrooms. Yet two kinds of steel fit this exact description: powder-coated and stainless.
What’s the difference between stainless steel and powder-coated steel? How does each affect the look and feel of an office’s restroom design? We have some answers to these steely questions.
Things to Consider for Office Bathrooms and Stalls
Designing office bathrooms means balancing form and function. A successful layout for your space (and your employees) will consider the following five factors.
Bathroom configurations at the workplace must first and foremost create a sense of privacy. Both men’s and women’s rooms should be laid out in ways that support and are indicative of their functions. In simpler terms, people want (and need) their privacy when using the toilet.
Bathroom stalls play an essential function here, as do individual and group stall layouts, restroom half-walls, countertops, sinks and urinal partitions. The best bathroom partition materials maintain an air of cleanliness while securing the privacy commercial restrooms need.
Let’s face it: A shared bathroom is likely to have some smells.
However, you can mitigate this unpleasant reality with strategic bathroom design — both in terms of materials used, structural inclusions and its overall layout. Just consider a few of the layout factors that’ll help or hinder the state of odors in your office restrooms:
- Amount of stalls or urinals
- Stall dimensions
- Overall room layout and environment, especially humidity levels
- Proper air flow and ventilation
- Room windows
- Room lighting
- Odor control bathroom technology — yes, it exists!
3. Traffic Amount
How many employees do you have working in your office? Where are they located? Based on overall building configurations and department sizes, do some bathrooms see more traffic than others? These are essential questions to consider when building or redoing workplace restrooms.
In addition to internal staff, bathroom design should also consider traffic from outside guests. Some businesses receive visitors more frequently than others. Think restaurants, malls, sports venues, theaters and similar companies that experience continual streams of traffic. Their bathrooms must be able to handle visitors’ restroom needs with proper amounts of stalls, sinks and urinals positioned in intuitive, traffic-supporting configurations.
The Americans with Disabilities Act provides regulations to assure those with disabilities have reasonable and accommodating access to restroom facilities. ADA guidelines affect many elements of office bathroom stalls and design, including:
- Paths of travel
- Bathroom sign placements
- Bathroom and stall door widths
- Individual stall dimensions
- Stall and door swing radiuses
- Stall and door swing direction
- Stairs or ledges impeding wheelchair accessibility
- Toilet seat height
- Sink height
- Hand dryer height
Last but certainly not least, you’ll need to consider the overall look of your office bathrooms. Many businesses use restrooms as extensions of brand aesthetics, matching and even enhancing the look of the entire building. Think wall and stall partitions representing a business’s color scheme, on-brand artwork or photography hung on walls, company logos turned into murals and much more.
What Are Stainless Steel Bathroom Stalls?
Stainless steel is a fabricated alloy that combines iron, nickel and chromium. The combination of these three base metals produces the ultra-durable, rust and tarnish-resistant substance found in commercial, industrial and residential office bathroom stalls — among many other applications. Because of its strength, environmental flexibility and long lifespan, stainless steel is one of the best bathroom partition materials on the market.
Benefits of Stainless Steel Office Bathroom Stalls
Outfitting your office restrooms with stainless steel partitions and stalls has several advantages. Some of these benefits include:
- Anti-Corrosive: Stainless steel’s chromium infusion makes it highly resistant to the sorts of inevitable wear-and-tear that deteriorates other metals and alloys. Only in particularly aggressive environments and harsh conditions will stainless steel rust. The more chromium present in a stainless steel mixture, the tougher its corrosion resistance properties will be.
- Water Damage-Resistant: Its anti-corrosive makeup means stainless steel is nearly impervious to water damage. While other bathroom partition materials may be susceptible to discoloration and fading due to prolonged water exposure, stainless steel will retain its smooth, lustrous finish.
- Inflammable: Stainless steel is also a safe alloy to install inside your business or office space. It has high temperature-resistant properties and can be fabricated from and finished with additional flame retardant additives.
- Durable: Stainless steel has one of the longest lifespans of any metal alloy. This is primarily due to its uniquely infused chromium compounds, which not only create stainless steel’s low surface friction — i.e., why it’s so smooth — but also temperature stability, discoloration, tarnish resistance and UV-ray blocking capabilities. All in all, these features make stainless steel categorically one of the most durable materials for office bathrooms — among many other applications.
- Strength-to-Weight Ratio: All metals and alloys are classified according to their strength-to-weight ratios, which is calculated by taking a metal sheet’s strength — measured in force per unit area at failure — and dividing it by its density. Steel is innately harder and denser than many other common metals, like aluminum, making it difficult to dent, warp and force impressions into. Strength to weight ratios are also known as a material’s specific strength and is essential to understand in nearly any structural application.
- Easy to Match: Stainless steel is a naturally bright silver material with a high-gloss satin sheen. Depending on the balance of chromium infused during fabrication, stainless steel can come in other colors while still maintaining its unique metallic glow.
- Climate Endurance: Stainless steel exists in an extensive amount of temperature-variating environments. From a cold warehouse’s shelving to the temperature-controlled bathrooms of today’s corporate offices, stainless steel will remain intact and aesthetically appealing across humidities, sun exposures and thermostat settings.
- Hygiene: Stainless steel is a highly sanitary and easy to clean partition material. This significant reason is why you’ll find stainless steel stalls and fixtures in commercial bathrooms, medical facilities and the food industry.
What Are Powder-Coated Steel Bathroom Stalls?
Powder-coated steel is a treatment process in which galvanized steel sheets are covered in a dry powder spray, which acts like an ultra-protective metal laminate against scratches, dings, fading and discoloration.
Powder coats are made up of fine resin particles applied directly onto the steel base. Unline paint or other finishers, it is a solvent-free application, making powder-coating more environmentally conscious and handler safe. Like paints and finishers, though, powder coating can be done in a wide range of colors and hues, adding an artistic signature onto their steel forms. Powder-coated steel partitions are also more affordable than many other pure or alloy metal bathroom stalls.
Benefits of Powder-Coated Steel Office Bathroom Stalls
Powder-coated steel provides many of the same advantages as stainless steel partitions, yet at a fraction of the price. However, there are a few key differences to consider when determining which office bathroom stalls to place in your facilities:
- Cost: Powder-coated steel offers one of the best lifecycle cost breakdowns of nearly any restroom partition material on the market. Lifecycle costs account for the entire price tag of a bathroom stall across its years of use, from initial purchase, delivery and installation down to any necessary maintenance or repairs. In total, this makes powder-coated steel one of the most cost-effective bathroom partition materials available for offices today.
- Anti-Corrosive: Like stainless steel, powder-coated steel partitions are resistant to rust and corrosion. Its powder resin defends against water saturation and discoloration while also adding strength to partitions’ outermost layers, rendering them ding- and chip-resistant.
- Durable: Powder coats are made up of tiny resin particles that serve as metal laminates, protecting against chips, dings, flakes and scratches, as well as UV-ray discoloration. They do not crack or peel like traditional paint. Some powder coats can be infused with chemical-resistant properties as well without lowering their anti-abrasion or anti-corrosion properties, fortifying the strength and lifespan of the entire restroom partition setup.
- Customizable: Powder coating allows you to add colors and patterns to your stall walls and doors. Powder-coated steel partition providers like One Point Partitions can provide stalls and partitions in over a dozen colors, complementing nearly any business’s on-brand color schemes and accommodating your final room vision.
- Environmentally Conscious: Because the fine resins that make up powder coats contain no solvents or binding chemicals — as is the case with traditional paint — powder coating is widely considered more environmentally safe for usage and disposal. There are no noxious fumes or particles emitted into the air, even during the application process where you use an air-powered spray gun on the resin. Once applied, the resin remains electrostatically charged and bound to the base material after its curing process, once again eliminating the need for further chemicals and vapors to be applied and potentially exposed.
- Upkeep and Maintenance: Powder-coated steel is easy to sanitize. Its resin finish doesn’t require any specialty products or cleansers to clean and polish. A regular, microfiber washcloth with soap and water will do, plus a clean towel for drying.
How to Choose the Best Bathroom Partition and Stall Material
There are a handful of factors to weigh when selecting between stainless steel and powder-coated steel bathroom stalls. What may seem as straightforward as color selection or the lowest price tag may distract from which partitions will provide the most bang for your buck — and build the branded bathroom environment to fit your entire office. Here are five factors to keep in mind.
Topping the list of how to choose the right bathroom partitions is usage — i.e., the practical, day-to-day traffic amounts your office restrooms receive.
Depending on the size of your office and the number of employees in-house, bathroom stalls could see frequent usage. Or, bathrooms could go in the opposite direction, with usage rates of only a few visitors throughout the entire day. The former requires highly durable and highly sanitizable partition materials that can stand up to constant contact, while offices in the latter situation can opt for slightly more customized, aesthetic stalls without sacrificing privacy or strength.
Consider the actual room environment of your bathrooms. Environmental factors will include things like humidity levels, ventilation and windows — and whether those windows can open or not and how much sunlight they allow in. You should also consider if sunlight will directly shine on office bathroom partitions day in and day out.
On top of room environments, you must also have a proper sense of your bathroom layouts. How many stalls and partitions can you install based on your restroom’s dimensions? What sort of stall configurations do those dimensions support? Will stainless steel or powder-coated steel look better given a certain stall layout or in that bathroom’s normal temperature and humidity? Answering these questions ensures the picking of your business’s best bathroom partition material.
Some businesses will look to mute down their bathrooms, adhering to function over any decorative form. Other offices will see bathrooms as an extension of their workplace and therefore imbue it with the same decor and brand identity they do in meeting rooms, across departments and within lobbies.
Powder-coated steel partitions provide more customization and branding detail than stainless steel bathroom stalls. Given their paint-replicating applications, your office will have more choices into the colors or patterns you want on stall walls and doors, compared to the silver, satin-brushed finish of stainless steel.
Both stainless steel and powder-coated partitions can be made to work across office budgets. From the initial blueprints of a business’ restrooms to renovations or refurbishments, both material types are cost-competitive after factoring in maintenance and care needs across each of their lifetimes:
- Powder-Coated Steel Bathroom Stalls: Prices will vary depending on order amount, delivery needs and customization yet start at $275 per partition.
- Stainless-Steel Bathroom Stalls: These stall prices are on the premium side, given their unique metal alloy makeup and configuration needs. The average stainless steel office bathroom stall will begin around $700 per partition and go up depending on size or other design specifications.
5. Size/Spatial Allowance
The size of your restroom facility will be another major consideration when selecting between stainless steel or powder-coated steel. Dimensionally, nearly all bathroom stalls are sized according to ADA regulations and other industry standards. This policy ensures both comfort as well as consistency are available for bathroom users and won’t impede those with physical or mobility impairments.
Depending on the overall look you’re aiming to achieve in your given space, powder-coating or stainless steel may be more pertinent. Think about your:
- Room Size: Small bathrooms will look even smaller with dark partitions or matte stall finishes, whereas light-colored or highly reflective steel bases will make a room appear larger. Overall, the size of your restroom will also influence how many stalls can reasonably fit within, which will further impact the lightness and openness of your bathroom compared to a cramped, tight-squeeze feel.
- Partition Configuration: Restroom stalls come in four main configurations — L-shaped alcoves, between-wall installations, corner installations and freestanding linear rows. Partition configuration will play a major role in traffic flows and might even influence which stalls get used more than others — which, in turn, affects the best material to withstand frequent daily usage.
Contact One Point Partitions for Help With Your Steel Bathroom Stall and Partition Designs
Bathroom stall design isn’t exactly everyone’s forte — and that’s okay! With a full-service partition provider, you receive the help and attention you need to design, source and install ADA-compliant, ultra-durable steel partitions in powder-coating or stainless steel materials — all while staying within budget.