What Is a Toilet Partition?

Last updated on November 15th, 2019 at 04:39 pm

Are you thinking about planning to build your new bathroom, or perhaps remodeling an existing restroom that needs some updating? As you get started, you’ll need to think about things like the flow of traffic, the appropriate number of sinks, accessible stalls and the optimal bathroom entrance. You’ll need to check boxes like safety, privacy, function and aesthetics all at once. It’s a big job, but you’re up to the challenge.

As you work toward creating a bathroom that functions the way you need it to, one of the best tools you’ll have to work with is bathroom partitions. Without these, creating a bathroom that allows for safe and private spaces would be nearly impossible.

But if you’ve never designed or built a bathroom before, you may have questions about these handy partitions. You may wonder what material choices you have, how to install them, what sizes are available and more. While these may not have been pressing questions before, they’ve suddenly become much more vital now that you’re about to use these panels to design an actual restroom.

To help you learn more about these critical tools and how you can use them to their highest potential, we’ve pulled together this guide to all the information you’ll need to know about toilet partitions. For everything from materials to cost to intended usage, consider this your all-in-one guide to bathroom partitions.

Understanding Toilet Partitions

You’ve most likely been experiencing and interacting with toilet partitions your entire life, although you may not realize it yet. Toilet partitions, also known as restroom or bathroom partitions, are the narrow plastic or metal dividers that separate bathroom stalls into individual cubicles. These partitions provide privacy, safety and functionality to a space that would otherwise be wide open.

Partitions allow you to divide up space into however many different segments and blocks you like. They allow you to create one cubicle, 10 cubicles or even 20 cubicles, which, in turn, leads to spaces that are safer and more usable for everyone.

What Are Toilet Partitions Made Of?

Generally speaking, toilet partitions are made of different types of either plastic or metal. You can choose between various materials to construct your partitions from, and each offers a unique list of pros and cons and comes at a slightly different price point.

A few of the most popular materials you may find yourself choosing between when it comes to your bathroom partitions include:

1. Powder-Coated Steel

Coming in at the lower end of the price scale, powder-coated steel is built from honeycomb cardboard and covered in thick sheets of steel on either side. This outer steel then gets coated in a colored powder that is baked into the material, giving it a unique color and appearance. The final result is a material that is strong on the outside, while maintaining a less solid core that allows the price to stay affordable.

The primary benefits of this material include a moderate level of protection against graffiti and vandalism, as well as a resistance to corrosion and rust. In most circumstances where powder-coated steel partitions are used as intended, they should live a long and healthy life.

However, there are disadvantages. If your bathroom is somewhere with heavy water exposure, such as a swimming pool or a locker room, you need to be aware that powder-coated steel is not water-resistant. Furthermore, there are limited color options in this material, so if you’re looking for just the right color to match the rest of your aesthetic, you may not find it here.

2. Plastic Laminate

Moving up one step regarding pricing, plastic laminate is usually the next option on the list. These partitions have a core of particleboard, followed by layers of laminate on both sides and finally, an edge band that is heat sealed to the laminate layers. Because of this construction pattern, the final result is sturdy and durable while remaining compact and affordable.

One of the biggest pros of plastic laminate partitions is their availability in a wide variety of colors. From bright shades to neutral colors that will subtly fade into the background, plastic laminate has it all, making it easy to fit into your bathroom no matter what your aesthetic or color scheme is.

The major disadvantage, again, is a lack of resistance to water. Plastic laminate won’t hold up well against large amounts of water, and even excessive humidity can cause damage. For this reason, you shouldn’t install them in shower rooms of any kind, or any similar spaces.

3. Solid Plastic

Solid plastic partitions are far from the most expensive option available, but they will cost more than either the powder-coated steel or the plastic laminate. The price is well worth it, however, as these partitions are durable enough to withstand almost anything you can throw at them. These partitions are solid plastic polymer, usually at least an inch thick.

The most significant advantages here are durability and longevity. These partitions can withstand almost anything and bounce back with virtually no trouble. They resist corrosion, rust, water, mold, vandalism and anything else that might attempt to damage them. And, as a bonus, their water-resistant nature makes them extremely easy to clean, meaning you can hose them down all at once without worrying about causing more damage.

The only real disadvantage you’ll face with a solid plastic partition is the matter of cost. While this material isn’t the priciest option on the market, it’s beginning to move further away from the affordable end of the scale. It’s crucial to put this price in perspective, however. You get what you pay for, and when you purchase solid plastic partitions, you’re getting so much regarding durability and resistance. Another potential drawback is aesthetic, as these partitions are built to last, and you may find some of their appearance gets sacrificed to achieve this.

4. Phenolic Core Partitions

These phenolic partitions are also highly resistant, rivaling even the solid plastic partitions when it comes to how much they can withstand. This material consists of many layers of paper that have been squeezed and bound together with a coating of phenolic resin. This coating is what gives the material its resilience and longevity, allowing it to easily hold up against even extreme circumstances.

The advantages here are similar to the ones you’ll find with the solid plastic partitions: durability, resistance and long life. These partitions can handle abuse, rust, corrosion, water and the sheer wear and tear that comes from a heavily trafficked bathroom. Additionally, these partitions are generally a slightly more attractive option than their bulkier cousin, the solid plastic partition. While aesthetics is largely a matter of opinion, attractive partitions tend to be a better choice for more upscale environments.

The only real con is the matter of price, which continues to increase. Again, however, it’s worth remembering these partitions are an investment. While other, more inexpensive, partitions might need periodic replacement if they haven’t held up well, these partitions will stand the test of time and may even save money in the long run because you won’t need to replace them as often.

5. Stainless Steel Partitions

Stainless steel represents the top of the line in restroom partitions. As the name suggests, they’re solid steel and are easily recognizable for their shiny, elegant silver surfaces. Because of their sophisticated appearance, they’re popular choices when it comes to outfitting bathrooms in office buildings, hotels and fancy restaurants.

The main pros of stainless steel are both durability and aesthetics. With this material, you’ll find a high level of resistance to scratching, corrosion and traffic you’ve come to expect from solid plastic and phenolic core. Combined with this, however, is the utmost in sophistication and beauty. In other words, these partitions don’t just perform well. They also look great while doing it.

The only negative shouldn’t come as any surprise. These partitions will not come cheaply, as they typically represent the top of the price scale. Again, however, it’s worth remembering there are valid reasons for this cost. You’re getting so much for your money, and these partitions will far outlast any of the more inexpensive options, meaning you won’t have to replace them as often and may even end up saving money in the long run.

What Is a Bathroom Stall?

A bathroom stall is the small cubicle of space that restroom partitions section off from the rest of the bathroom. These partitions usually close off either side of the stall, while the front of the stall consists of a door also made of partition material and the back of the stall is against the restroom wall. This composition may vary slightly, as the stall may be in a corner, with one side set against a wall.

A bathroom stall may be quite small, housing only one toilet, or it may be slightly larger in the case of accessible stalls. A bathroom may have one stall, or many. The two things all stalls have in common, however, is that they give bathroom users privacy, and partition materials enclose them.

How Much Are Toilet Partitions?

As is the case with virtually any type of material in the world, there is no simple answer to this question. It depends on what type of material you’re buying, how much you’re buying and who you’re buying it from. The short answer, then, to how much toilet partitions cost is that it depends on a great many factors.

Still, we understand it’s essential to have an estimated figure to work with as you plan your construction or remodeling project. To that end, we’ve provided some price samples and estimates for you to work with as you attempt to work up a budget and plan for different expenses. Keep in mind, however, these are only estimates, and you should always check with your manufacturer about exact pricing.

  • Powder-coated steel: For powder-coated steel, you will want to estimate a minimum price of $275 per stall.
  • Plastic laminate: A single plastic laminate stall starts at an estimated minimum price of $375.
  • Solid plastic: The heavy-duty option, solid plastic stalls start at an estimated $450 per stall.
  • Phenolic core: If you choose the phenolic core partitions, estimate a minimum of $700 for every stall.
  • Stainless steel: These prices are fairly comparable to those of the phenolic core partitions. For stainless steel, start with a minimum estimate of $700 per stall.

For all these price estimates, these figures represent the price of a small stall within an average order size. A plastic laminate partition, for example, can easily cost more than $375, depending on your layout, how many additional features, colors and amenities you’re interested in, as well as the vendor you choose. As you begin to build a budget, you will easily find price quotes that far exceed these, but you’re less likely to find ones lower than these.

What Is a Phenolic Toilet Partition?

This question comes up frequently, perhaps because the other materials used to make partitions are so self-explanatory. For example, stainless steel is exactly what it sounds like, and so is solid plastic. Phenolic core, on the other hand, is a term that’s less familiar, and one that can confuse many people.

The reality is quite simple, as we mentioned earlier in our description of these types of partitions. The term “phenolic” refers to the special type of resin that soaks layers of paper. This resin acts as a sticking and binding agent that holds the layers of paper together and prevents water, dirt or other contaminants from getting inside the layers.

The result is a partition that’s dense, sturdy and resistant to things like rust, corrosion, water and vandalism.

How Many ADA Bathrooms Are Required?

It should come as no surprise that if you’re building a bathroom, there will be regulations you must meet. Not everyone can use a traditional narrow bathroom stall, and as a business owner or a person with a public or semi-public bathroom of any type, it’s your responsibility to provide bathroom spaces where people of every ability level can feel safe and comfortable.

If you have any type of public restroom, you need to make sure it’s wheelchair-accessible. Whether that means making your one-person bathroom large enough to meet ADA requirements, or making one of your many stalls the right shape and size to accommodate a wheelchair, every public space needs at least one accessible restroom.

How Many ADA Stalls Are Required?

The general rule is that a bathroom must have at least one wheelchair-accessible stall. So for bathrooms with a single stall, this one stall must be accessible. For bathrooms with two stalls, one of the stalls must be accessible, and so on. For most locations, this single wheelchair-accessible stall is all you will need. Exceptions come in the form of perhaps major shopping malls, sports arenas, tourist destinations and other places with an unusually high number of restrooms and stalls. In these locations, it will probably be prudent to include at least two or more ADA-compliant stalls.

However, while wheelchair-accessible stalls are what we might typically think of when we think of ADA compliance, there’s another type of stall to include as well. This type of stall is the same average width as an ordinary stall, although it’s a bit deeper, has handrails on either side of the toilet and has a compliant door. These ambulatory stalls have the needs of those using canes, crutches or walkers in mind, and should be in any space that has at least six stalls.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Bathroom Partitions?

For a typical bathroom installation job, you can expect to pay roughly $150 to $250 a stall with a $500 minimum. Keep in mind, this price is merely for the installation fee, and does not cover the cost of the partitions themselves or any other materials involved.

As you plan for your new or updated restroom, an essential part of this process is to estimate a budget, which will allow you to have some idea of where you need to direct your funds. To create a budget, however, you need to know the approximate price of things. Most notably, you’ll need the cost of the partitions themselves, which we discussed earlier. The next most crucial expense you’ll need to know is how much it costs to install these partitions.

As with any installation work, there isn’t just one standard, set price you can always be sure of receiving. Instead, you’ll find the cost varies a great deal based on whom you work with, how many stalls you’re having installed, the layouts of the different stalls and what type of material you choose. A simple layout will cost less than a fancier one, and a more affordable partition will lead to a cheaper installation fee than a more costly partition material.

Can I Install My Own Partitions?

Because of the costs associated with installation, some people may wonder if it’s possible to sidestep them entirely and perform the installation work themselves. The answer is Yes! Many of our customers are first time, only time bathroom partition installers. We do recommend the installers have general carpentry skills and experience. Your dedicated sales rep will also be available before and during the installation process if there are any questions.

What Are the Different Types of Toilet Partitions?

The material isn’t the only thing to decide on as you purchase and install your toilet partitions. You’ll also need to choose what style of toilet partitions you want. As is the case with the different materials, there is a variety of choices available, and each offers a unique list of benefits.

To best make your choice, consider these different style varieties, as well as their inherent advantages.

1. Floor-Anchored and Overhead-Braced Partitions

This toilet partition option connects to the floor at the bottom, while being anchored to a brace overhead. However, the partition panel itself doesn’t span the distance from the brace to the floor. Instead, the primary panels “float” in midair, anchored to thinner, yet taller, pieces of partition called pilasters that stretch from the floor to the overhead brace. These pieces go between each stall, helping anchor the larger partition panels.

The overhead brace, then, is a thin rail of aluminum metal that runs the entire length of the stalls and anchors into the wall at either end, helping stabilize the whole unit.

Perhaps the most significant advantage here is the price and availability. It is a popular option for those looking to keep the cost down, as it’s incredibly affordable and fits nicely into smaller budgets. Additionally, it works well for high-traffic areas, as it holds up quite well against vandalism. This style typically works best with lighter-duty concrete or plywood, so if these aren’t the materials you have to work with, you may want to look into other installation styles.

2. Floor-Mounted Partitions

With this type of partition, the panels anchor to the wall at the back of the stall, connected to pilasters which attach to the floor. It results in a flat, even finish along the top of the stalls.

One of the significant advantages with this style is, again, the matter of price. These partitions generally cost slightly more than the overhead-braced partitions, but are still quite affordable. Additionally, many people find the flush finish along the top of the stalls carries a sleek, modern look that looks appealing in many spaces. Finally, the fact that there is no ceiling brace of any kind makes this an excellent choice for bathrooms with low ceilings.

3. Ceiling-Hung Partitions

This style of partition, just one step up the price scale, is the exact opposite of the floor-mounted style. With ceiling-hung partitions, the pilasters anchor to the ceiling, and the panels attach both to each other and to the back wall. The space below these partition panels is empty, with nothing connecting the material to the ground.

The price of this style of partition is beginning to climb, although it still isn’t the most expensive design. Besides this, the lack of any material touching the ground makes for a clean, open and minimalist appearance that’s immediately striking. It also makes cleanup easy, as you won’t have to worry about cleaning around the pilasters where they anchor to the floor. This partition style makes for an overall tidier and healthier bathroom space, as the cleaning is likely to be more complete and effective.

4. Floor-to-Ceiling Anchored Partitions

The final style, floor-to-ceiling anchored partitions, are typically the most expensive design you’ll come across. Keep in mind, however, that price is only one aspect of the partition. You’ll get exactly what you pay for, and by spending a little more, you’re ensuring a sturdy and stable design that will last for years.

Here, the panels anchor at the back walls, as well as to solid pilasters that reach all the way from the floor to the ceiling. This option results in an extremely sturdy design that will withstand heavy traffic and abuse without becoming destabilized or damaged.

It should come as no surprise, then, the most significant advantages of this option are durability and stability. These partitions are excellent choices for high-traffic areas where vandalism and abuse are likely. These partitions should be able to outlast it all, thanks to their sturdy anchors in the floor, ceiling and the walls.

What Is the Standard Size of a Toilet Stall?

The standard size for a toilet stall is 36 inches wide by 60 inches deep. In other words, the average toilet stall is about twice as deep as it is wide. That isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but it is a standard measurement, and one you’ve likely experienced for yourself in hundreds of public restrooms throughout your life.

If you’re looking to move a little further from the average size, there is a little wiggle room on either end of the spectrum. At the bare minimum, stalls can be a mere 48 inches deep, and at the maximum, they can be as deep as 78 inches. These standards allow you a fair amount of room to design a space exactly as it works for you.

What Is the Size of an ADA-Compliant Accessible Stalls?

For your wheelchair-accessible restroom to meet ADA approval, it will need to be quite a bit bigger than the standard dimensions mentioned earlier. For these types of stalls, consider the fact that a wheelchair needs to be able to fit into the stall, with extra room for an individual to get out of the wheelchair. This should give you some idea of how large the space will need to be.

Specifically, a wheelchair-accessible stall must be at least 60 inches wide by 59 inches deep. They can exceed this size if desired, but they must be at least this large. Diagonally across, the space must be at least 60 inches, as well. Furthermore, they must have a door that provides 32″ minimum clearance that opens out into the restroom, instead of into the stall.

The secondary type of accessible stalls we mentioned, sometimes known as ambulatory accessible stalls, also have specific required dimensions. Because a person using a walker or crutches needs extra room to maneuver and fit their walking aids, the stall must be larger than ordinary. This type of stall must be at least 36 inches wide, and is typically longer than the average stall. Additionally, it must have a door that provides 32″ clearance at a minimum, and that opens outward into the bathroom.

How Tall Are Bathroom Partitions?

Instinctively, we all realize bathroom partitions must be at least tall enough that they are taller than any person would be. If people could see over the tops of partitions, it would entirely defeat the purpose of installing them in the first place. Based on this, we can easily come up with a rough idea of how tall a bathroom partition is. However, it gets more specific than this.

The minimum door and panel height of most partitions is 58 inches, which equates to roughly four feet and eight inches. Of course, this wouldn’t be tall enough to block the view of even most children, let alone adults, but there’s more to the story. Most partitions get mounted at the height of exactly 12 inches off the ground, which should result in a final partition that reaches a height of precisely 70 inches, or about five feet and eight inches.

As you may notice from these numbers, this isn’t high enough to block the view of most tall individuals. Anyone at around six feet tall would have no difficulty seeing over these partitions.

With these greater privacy concerns, many partition services now sell their partitions at taller heights. You can find some doors and panels at 64 inches, equaling five feet and four inches, or even doors and panels at 72 and 76 inches, equaling six feet and six feet, four inches, respectively. Once you factor in the additional 12 inches of space beneath the partitions, these heights are much more like the height we would expect when it comes to respecting privacy.

Why Don’t Bathroom Partitions Reach All the Way to the Floor?

The simple answer is that there’s no need for them to. With the use of pilasters that anchor either into the floor, the ceiling or both, as well as partitions that attach to the walls, the partitions are completely secure. There’s no extra security or stability to gain by extending the main panels all the way down to the floor.

Of course, this isn’t to say designers or building owners can’t choose to do this, if they so desire. However, ADA guidelines do require 9″ minimum clearance off of the floor.

The fact is that partition material doesn’t come cheaply. Between all the expenses associated with building or remodeling a bathroom, most people are looking to save money and stretch their budgets as far as possible. Using extra partition material where it isn’t necessary is too impractical for many people.

Also, cleaning is often much easier if there is a 12-inch gap between the bottom of the partition and the floor. This gap allows cleaners to sweep or mop this space much more efficiently, as they can maneuver their mop under the partition, instead of having to fit it within the confines of a small cell. They can even mop the inside of a stall from the outside by moving the mop under the door.

So while you can certainly choose a partition that reaches all the way to the floor, there are multiple reasons why you may not wish to.

Get a Quote for Your Bathroom Partitions Today

Designing a bathroom is no small task. There’s so much that goes into making it not only functional, but also convenient and attractive. A crucial piece of the puzzle will be you restroom partitions, and that’s why it’s so essential to put your newfound knowledge of these partitions to good use and select the right ones for the job. Think about the exact layout, size, design and material that will suit your space best. With the variety of choices and suppliers out there today, you should be able to find exactly what you’re looking for.

For all your bathroom partition needs, we hope you’ll consider us your final and only destination at One Point Partitions. Not only do we sell toilet partitions in a variety of materials, colors and designs at prices that work for you, but all our partitions are also American-made. That means you can rest assured your new partitions will meet the highest standards of quality.

Our designers are happy to meet with you and help you determine exactly what you’re looking for, how much you’ll need and the best way to arrange it. Or, if you feel confident you already know what you want, get started by using our handy pricing tool to get a free quote. Start planning your bathroom with us at One Point Partitions today.