How long has it been since you updated your company’s restroom? An outdated restroom looks worst on the building owner, especially in multi-tenant buildings. Often neglected during office renovations, an outdated restroom speaks volumes about the organization that owns it. Don’t let your restrooms reflect poorly on your organization. Ensure a successful renovation project with these five tips.
1) Embrace Your Buildings and Areas Aesthetics
Classic design ages well and will still look welcoming and modern years down the line. Trendy colors can backfire when the fad fades. Pair the restroom’s general design themes with a similar look for corridors or common areas, as a radically different appearance just for the restrooms can be jarring.
Stick with more neutral colors unless it’s a product that’s easily changeable like paint – and with paint, make sure you use a washable paint and one that will still be available for touchups in the next 10 years. The floor tile or countertop material must remain neutral, and we also try to stick with neutral colors on toilet partitions. Most of the time we try to do stainless steel partitions because they are timeless and also hold up very well.
When the application calls for it, incorporating residential- and hospitality-inspired design – for example, individual mirrors above sinks with wall sconces between them rather than one continuous mirror – gives the space a warm, welcoming feeling.
2) Investigate Technology
If you haven’t updated your restroom in a while, it’s likely that water-efficient technology has made considerable strides since the last time you replaced restroom fixtures. Every time your guests use a non-low-flow fixture, they’re flushing your money down the toilet.
Sometimes you can save more money by saving water than you can by saving energy, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some buildings still have old toilets that have been there for 20 or 30 years and have been neglected. That’s a lot of money.
You don’t necessarily need a high-end replacement for your old fixtures. I tend to recommend the simpler fixtures – I like the single-flush low-flow fixtures more than dual-flush ones because I think you can use the lower low and have it work in all scenarios. There are a couple toilets on the market with a 1.0 or 1.1 gallon per flush rate that work great. Low-flow fixtures work better than the old high-flow fixtures in terms of flushability, in my opinion.
3) Touchless Technology
Touchless fixtures are growing in popularity since early 2020, for obvious reasons. However, all touchless fixtures are not created equal. I recommend looking beyond the infrared sensor that detect a user’s presence and examining features that meet your other needs.
The life expectancy of a battery-powered product varies depending on the manufacturer, so it’s important to research and determine which ones last the longest. Another feature to look into is sentinel flow, which emits a quick burst of water every 24 hours to make sure the traps are continually primed and eliminate the chance of the water harboring legionella.
If your touchless toilet includes a solar-rechargeable flush valve, make sure the solar panel can still recharge if you have occupancy sensors turning the lights off when the restroom is unoccupied. For touchless faucets and soap dispensers, ensure that the maintenance staff has access to the soap refills under the counter.
Dryers or towel dispensers that aren’t located over a counter may lead users to drip onto the floor as they approach with wet hands, which can damage wall or floor finishes and slip cause a hazard.
5) Ensure Cleanliness
Maintaining a clean space is vital, so make sure that your newly renovated restroom is both easy for your staff to clean and encourages better hygiene for guests. One easy trick that can make a big impact is simply ensuring that the trash can is big enough. One of the biggest things you see in restrooms is overflowing waste baskets, which people associate with not being clean. Grout is another issue that lends itself to the perception of a restroom being unclean – make sure you select the right type and colors of grout for minimal staining and discoloration.
The materials should be able to handle intense cleanings. The biggest problem areas are corners and the joints where the floor tile meets the wall tile. Consider stainless coping instead of grout. Always think from the standpoint of how hard it is to take care of that restroom.
If you made the mistake of installing an above the counter ‘bowl’ sink, you may want to replace them during your bathroom remodel. This may mean replacing your countertop material, as well. Products like quartz are easily cleaned and have a long life, but carry a high upfront cost.
4) Pick Tough Products
If your building has high traffic, like a community center, school or public space where building occupants are rough on fixtures, vandal resistance is likely at top of mind. Look for products with tough brass tabs and waterways and Torx-head screws that prevent tampering. Another feature to resist vandalism is a recessed aerator. Sometimes kids like to take that screen out. If you recess it, they can’t get to it.
5) Take a Holistic View
Make sure to step back and view the planned project as a whole. Consider the restroom experience from all angles, both from the guest’s point of view and your team’s perspectives. For applications in hospitality environments, the bathroom is one of the main focuses of the guest experience. Guests expect the bathroom to be inspiring and better than what they have in their home. It can really impact their opinion of their overall experience. In multiple-user restrooms, strategies like using solid walls or partitions rather than the popular metal dividers can both enhance guests’ perceptions of the space and make maintenance easier for the facilities team.
However you decide to renovate, remember that the space reflects your organization. Don’t underestimate the importance of bathrooms to the consumer and their willingness to come back to you.