When you’re opening up your business or public building or building a new one from the ground up, you have to put thought into how everything is going to come together.
You may not know what you need until the absence of certain things is staring you in the face. It’s best to be prepared ahead of time.
One place that people don’t pay enough attention to is the restroom. Public restrooms seem like a given at this point. We don’t put much thought into them and how their design and functionality actually matter. Many things are easy to forget.
If you’re in the position where you have to design and create a public restroom, you’re in the right place. Keep reading to learn more about what you’re going to need.
Trashcans and Waste Receptacles
Everyone knows that you need a trash can in the restroom, but not all trashcans are alike.
Depending on the clientele you expect, it can be nice to have a trashcan with a lid (ideally a swinging lid) to keep things tidy and smelling fresh. If it’s a large restroom, you might want two in the sink area. One on either side of the sinks is ideal.
You may forget to put the smaller waste receptacles in the stalls themselves. These are necessary for sanitary products (so they don’t get flushed) but can also be used for disposing of chewing gum, any larger paper products someone may have used, toilet covers, and more.
Forgetting these can lead to embarrassing or uncomfortable situations for people visiting the restroom.
Paper Towel & Toilet Paper Dispensers
These are absolute necessities in your restroom (though you may be able to slide by without a paper towel dispenser if you use a hand dryer instead).
Toilet paper dispensers for public restrooms are large enough to hold multiple rolls. This helps make the job easier for the cleaning staff, but it also helps customers avoid the problem of realizing that there’s no toilet paper in the stall when no one has had time to replace it!
Paper towel dispensers (if you choose to use them) should be located right above the trashcans if possible to prevent messes and encourage people to throw the towels away.
Seat Cover Dispensers
Seat cover dispensers aren’t required, but they are helpful. Many people prefer to use a seat cover when they’re using public restrooms for their own peace of mind—not including one may result in someone covering the seat with toilet paper instead.
While they may dispose of it in the waste receptacle, they may also try to flush it, causing some potential blockage.
The dispensers go behind the toilet but they shouldn’t be so high that they’re inaccessible.
Appropriate Doors & Locks
The door to the bathroom itself needn’t be locked unless it’s for customers or staff only. These doors tend to have some weight to them, but they’ll slide back and forth, making them more accessible.
When it comes to the stalls, you have choices.
The standard American public restroom has metal doors with a foot or more of space above and below. They have doors with simple locking mechanisms that go from side-to-side or twist closed.
You could opt for the stall doors that other countries use that go from the top of the stall down to the floor if you wanted to do something different. These require a heavier lock and slightly different sanitation practices but they allow for more privacy.
Speaking of stalls, you can’t have a public restroom without one (unless it’s a single-person restroom, in which case you can ignore this advice).
The stalls tend to be linked together with each one sharing a wall with the next. They’re metal and attached to the front, the door, and the wall though they can be disassembled.
Stalls need to be wide enough to give a person space. Consider that people come in all shapes and sizes.
At least one handicap stall should be in each public restroom. These stalls are larger, about double the size of a standard stall—if not more. They may also contain a compliant sink.
Speaking of handicap stalls, it’s recommended to follow the ADA guidelines for public restrooms.
The guidelines vary depending on the kind of restroom that you have and the amount of space and facilities within it. There should be at least one large handicap stall and one compliant urinal (when applicable).
One low sink (if there is more than one sink area) and one low or full-body mirror will also keep you compliant.
It’s also important to have handrails in the handicap stall to ensure that people can access the toilet safely.
If your building doesn’t have a private “family restroom”, it’s best if all public restrooms have a baby changing station.
While these are often put only in women’s restrooms, all parents should have the ability to take care of their babies when they’re out and about. Many men’s restrooms neglect this need, leading to potentially messy situations in your building and distress in both the baby and the parent.
Changing stations should have enough room to fold out without being in the way of the sinks, the door, or the stalls. Some businesses opt for a specific stall for changing babies.
Your Public Restroom Needs More Than You Think
There are plenty of things that you’re going to need when you’re planning and constructing your public restroom. Many of us only think “toilet, sink, door, done”, and that’s not enough.
Think about all of the things that have been in the restrooms that you’ve been in! Consider which ones were helpful and try to include them in your own construction.
To purchase important restroom hardware and doors, visit us at Accurate Door & Hardware. We’ve got what you need!