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The Dos and Don’ts of Washroom Refurbishment

A washroom is a washroom, right? Unfortunately, not, as public toilets are not created equal. Neglected or unhygienic facilities leave its visitors with a negative impression at best or scarred for life, at worst. If you’re planning an overhaul, key decisions will make or break the success of your project. Here’s some do’s and don’ts to consider.

DON’T

Don’t Repeat Past Mistakes
See this as an opportunity to get the basics right, including layout, ventilation and accessibility to persons with disabilities and special needs. Although it can be expensive to alter the plumbing or pipes to facilitate better layout and access, a radical change can justify the cost if it makes a significant improvement to the functionality of the space.

Skimp On Products
A washroom in an office block will not suffer the same treatment as its counterpart in a school building or sporting complex, but choose fixtures, fittings and materials with the worst-case scenario in mind. Only consider durable, easy to maintain materials, resistant to vandalism and neglect.

Neglect Hygiene
Your number one priority is to present a pristine space at all times, which is far more attainable with a low maintenance setup. Tiled or panelled walls, as well as glass block and aluminium panels, are easier to clean than its painted counterparts, and saves on resources such as water and chemicals,.
Floors have to be constructed of waterproof, non-slip materials like ceramic tiles or natural stone. Grout is a catch all for grime and requires special cleaning from time to time. Replacing it with seamless, one-piece epoxy flooring or a similar membrane will require less maintenance and a dinge-free floor.
Fixtures are a major source of cross-contamination, even if regularly cleaned and disinfected. Automatic air dryers, soap dispensers and sensor-operated flush valves enhance both the perception and the reality of cleanliness.

Go Over The Top
There are settings in which a darkly dramatic, gilded restroom would be appropriate, but those places are scarce. When it comes to public restrooms, think hygiene, good lighting and clean lines. Visual interest can be created by adding texture or colour, although painted surfaces should be avoided, or kept to a minimum. Coloured glass tiles on vertical surfaces, for instance, can make a space pop, while still being durable and easy to clean solution.

DO

Consider Access
Now is the time to get in line with compliance guidelines. This includes measures such as upgrading from round door knobs to lever handles, ensuring proper door swing clearances and attaching fixtures, grab bar and dispensers at the proper height.

Use Colour
Colour brightens a space, creates interest, and produces a positive experience. It can be incorporated as part of the tile or stone finishes, or added to the applied finishes such as the enamelling on steel or aluminium. If you use paint, restrict it to areas that are out of reach or used infrequently. And although colour is important, use it wisely.

Go for Timeless Appeal
Classic design ages well and will still look welcoming and up to date years down the line. Trendy colours can backfire when a fad fades, and be expensive to replace if its heavily incorporated into the general scheme. Go for a look that’s in line with design themes in the rest of the building, as a dramatically different appearance could be odd or jarring.

Consider Resource Saving Technology
If your restroom hasn’t had a revamp for a while, chances are it could benefit from the many water and resource saving technologies developed since its last overhaul. Examine low flush options and touchless fixtures, always considering how well state of the art technologies might hold out against its anticipated frequency of use.

Take a Holistic View
Make sure to step back and view the planned project as a whole. The rooms should not only be pleasing, but practical. Consider it from both a visitor, but also from maintenance and cleaning staff’s point of view. Will it be easy to keep clean? Would solid walls rather than partitions be a better option in multiple-user restrooms? Will it be user friendly to parents and differently abled persons? Is the lighting well positioned and welcoming enough? Always remember that the user’s experience will impact on his opinion of your company.

Get Professional Advice
There are many factors up for consideration with a restroom revamp, and aesthetics is only the start: safety, hygiene, durability and legislation all play a part. Speaking to the right people and making well-informed decisions upfront will save you making costly mistakes. However you decide to renovate, remember that the space reflects your organisation. At Cubispec we have everything you need to create a restroom environment that enhances your business’s image.