How to Design Convenient and Cost-Effective Restrooms

solid-plastic-toilet-partitions-cost-effective-restroom-renovationsOne of the most common projects for schools and facilities are restroom renovations and upgrades. These are typically done to meet compliance and accessibility standards but also to save on long-term operational and maintenance costs. (2) If done right, renovating restrooms can help save money by implementing accessories that minimize the overuse of supplies such as paper, soap, and water. Other savings can come from upgrading surface materials that are easier and more efficient to clean, therefore saving time and money for custodial services.

In order for your renovations to be cost-effective, proper planning and design must be administered. This process requires an understanding of common issues that can come up when completing the project and taking the necessary steps to maximize benefits while avoiding problems. (2)

Factor Operational Costs into Restroom Design and Renovation Planning

Stainless Steel Restroom Partition Stalls"Designing restrooms that are convenient and cost-effective to operate means giving attention to maintenance costs, circulation patterns, and the intended users." (2) Following basic facility design principals is key to a successful renovation. This means thinking about durability and maintenance when selecting materials.

Finishes used in a restroom play a major role in determining maintenance costs. "Make sure that any of the finishes you are incorporating are easily maintainable". (2) This doesn't mean that you have to buy the most expensive material either, it simply means to weigh the pros and cons of the material.

A very expensive material might look amazing but may need extra care or special cleaning supplies, however, it may last a long time. On the other hand, a less expensive material might be very easy to clean but may not withstand frequent use or abuse in a school.

Design Convenient and Cost-Effective Restrooms - Sinks and dispensersFour Common Mistakes When Renovating Restrooms

  1. Downgrading Materials: As tempting as this might be in order to save some money, choosing your materials for partitions, countertops, or even flooring, shouldn't be based on upfront costs. One must consider how long the material will last and how cost-effective it is to clean and maintain.

  2. Not Addressing Security and Privacy Concerns: Making restrooms secure and private cannot be overlooked in the educational facility. It's important that students and other restroom users feel secure and safe. 

  3. Not Creating a More Welcoming Environment: Their experience will affect how they feel about the facility and the school and therefore, indirectly, affect their learning experience.

  4. Not Paying Attention to Traffic Flow: When considering the layout of your restroom, how users will move and interact within the space must be taken into consideration. When a restroom is designed correctly for traffic, it can increase hygiene and reduce waste as well as decrease the cost of cleaning, maintenance, and restroom supplies.

Quick-Ship Restroom Stall Toilet PartitionsDetermine the Benefits of Restroom Renovations to Assist with Planning

  • Improved Sanitation: Upgrading partitions, fixtures, and other surfaces to materials that are easy to clean and maintain will make restrooms easier to clean and therefore be more sanitary. This also improves the health and well-being of the users.

  • Greater Comfort: A fresh and attractive restroom reflects well on the school or facility, and provides a more welcoming and comfortable environment for the user.

  • Easier Access: Many times renovations are done because the restrooms are not up to code or accessible by ADA standards. After making these adjustments to be ADA accessible, users will find a more comfortable and attractive environment as well.

  • Lower Costs: Savings occur with renovations because the upgraded materials are easier to clean and maintain, therefore saving in cleaning products as well as maintenance and custodial time. If waste-reduction fixtures are installed, then savings occur in minimizing supply and resource usage. 

Renovation Planning for Restrooms Needs to Include ADA-Compliance StandardsRenovation Planning Must Include ADA-Compliant Restroom Design

When planning for restroom renovations, you should determine if a restroom is accessible and meets ADA-compliance standards. The easiest way, and least expensive, is to review the American with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) and the American National Standards Institute's standard (ICC/ANSI A117.1). Then grab your tape measure and conduct a walkthrough to evaluate any changes that might need to be made.

This article, "The ADA-Compliant Restroom" from gives a very thorough overview of what to measure and what dimensions you need to achieve ADA-compliance. 

4 Common Restroom Partition LayoutsWe've Made Restroom Partition Ordering Easy

On our website, we've made ordering partitions easy. You can choose from ordering common full partition layouts, replacement pieces such as door, panels, or pilasters, or if you need a custom layout, send us your sketch and we'll send you a quote. To make custom ordering simple, just use our Toilet Partition Quote form which you can add your sketch too, plus get quotes of your layout in multiple materials and mounting styles. We also carry replacement toilet partition hardware, restroom accessories, and restroom signs for a complete restroom renovation or upgrade.

We hope that you found this guide helpful. To learn more about solutions to common school maintenance concerns, please visit the School Fix® Blog.


1. "The ADA-Compliant Restroom". 30 May 2018. Blog. Retrieved 27 April 2020.

2. Lorenz, Brandon. "Restrooms - Operational Costs Factor into Restroom Design". Blog. Retrieved 27 April 2020.

3. Westerkamp, Thomas A. "Restroom Renovations, Big Benefits". Blog. Retrieved 27 April 2020.

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