A washroom for all seasons
With winter almost upon us once more, the level of comfort we enjoy at home and in the workplace gains extra significance. A washroom, for example, can suddenly appear a far-less inviting place to visit when conditions outside take a turn for the worst.
Draughty, due to the extra aeration required to aid the escape of steam and natural odours; cold, on account of heat disappearing through continually opening-and-closing doors, and dangerous, for the less able-bodied who feel less steady on a floor rendered slippery by the proliferation of melted ice and snow brought in from outside; these are just some of the reasons why some of us might wish to give public washrooms a miss during winter – even when nature’s call is at its most urgent.
What can be done, then, to create sanitary areas which retain a welcoming glow during the bleak midwinter? Firstly, it’s worth stating that an overheated washroom, particularly in the busiest public environments such as shopping and leisure centres, is never a good idea.
Germs thrive within warm, damp, poorly-ventilated interiors, therefore careful consideration should be given to how and where heating is applied in washrooms. Underfloor heating is an option. It would certainly aid the drying process when floors become more susceptible to pooling during winter months. Another solution is to install air heaters over entrance doors to counteract draught issues caused by continual comings-and-goings.
Non-slip flooring is increasingly seen as an essential feature for safe washroom usage, particularly during the wet winter months. Personal injury claims as a result of slips, trips or falls can lay a large financial burden at the door of a school or local authority, which for organisations such as councils is an unnecessary drain on already over-stretched resources.
Hand dryers offer warming comfort on cold days. As well as being kinder to the environment by eliminating the need for multiple paper towel usage, hand dryers are more hygienic than the material alternative.
An entrance mat offers a simple, effective and more cost-effective solution to the washroom- wet-floor syndrome. Its success, of course, relies on people displaying the courtesy of ‘wiping feet before entering’, making it a system open to abuse.
Ultimately, a well-designed, well-lit area containing smart, durable fixtures-and-fittings which are expertly-appointed and regularly maintained will go a long way to creating a washroom for all seasons, not just the spring and summer months.