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Restroom Renovations: Quantifying Benefits
February 28, 2012 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I'm Dan Hounsell, editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is, restroom renovations.
Restroom renovations in institutional and commercial facilities are among the most complex projects maintenance and engineering managers can undertake. At the same time, such projects can create cost-saving opportunities.
For example, installing products such as waterless urinals, low-flush commodes, automatic flush valves, faucets, soap and paper-towel dispensers, and automatic cleaning-chemical dispensers for commodes and urinals can produce tangible cost savings.
Many of these products require electrical power to function, either in the form of batteries or direct wiring. But direct wiring can pose concerns, as many older restrooms only have power for lights and exhaust fans. Adding equipment might require bringing in more power.
Renovations also allow for the installation of ceiling-mounted partitions and wall-mounted stools, which removes these obstacles from floors and can result in easier, faster, and better floor cleaning. But managers must remember that in older facilities, such products also might require additional structural reinforcement and plumbing, which means higher costs.
Installing a grouted, ceramic tile floor is another popular renovation option. Grouted tile provides better slip resistance, lower cleaning costs, and greater life-cycle benefits.
Epoxy grout is nonporous and provides better hygienic benefits and color stability. But managers must make sure to measure hydrostatic pressure on slab installations. Epoxy grout does not breathe, and if the pressure readings exceed 3 pounds per square inch, installers should use cementitious grout or prepare the floor to seal the slab. Cementitious grout will breathe, allowing slab moisture to evaporate and preventing pressure damage to the floor installation.