Common Signs Showing Your Washroom Needs Refurbishing
Washrooms are indispensable to any building or facility and yet, often, these are overlooked when it comes to refurbishing projects.
In a workplace setting, a poorly maintained washroom can become a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria, which can easily spread, cause health issues and affect productivity. It can also push employees to go farther to search for a more suitable facility, which takes time away from work or from their break time. In some cases, it may even cause injury or accidents wherein the employer or property administrator can be held liable.
Beyond its obvious purpose, a clean and well-maintained washroom can help promote a healthier work environment and, in effect, improve employee morale.
In any location, the washroom experience affects the impression on or assessment of a building or facility. It is an extension of an organisation or brand’s image, which is why it is important to invest in its regular upkeep.
How do you know when it’s time for a much-needed washroom refurbishing? Here are some tell-tale signs.
Cracked wash basins and leaking toilets.
Leaking toilets are unsightly and costly because it also means water wastage. It can be caused by several factors including cracks on the tank, rusty pipes or worn out parts. It’s a tedious maintenance job but it is to be expected in a commercial washroom because of the daily wear and tear. Do not wait for the leak to cause flooding or for the sanitaryware to completely deteriorate. It is probably easier to fix a hairline crack on the toilet pan than to completely replace it.
Broken locks, hinges and washroom fixtures.
A cubicle that won’t lock or a door that won’t close properly makes the washroom practically useless because privacy is one of the mandatory features in any toilet facility. If you frequently need to hang the ‘OUT OF ORDER’ sign or if a majority of the cubicles remain unused, then it’s time to rehabilitate your washroom.
Deteriorating laminate panels.
Laminates are used for interior doors, panelling and other washroom applications. There’s high pressure laminate (HPL) which is durable but not suited for constantly wet environments. Solid grade laminate (SGL) is considered more ideal for heavily used and high-traffic washrooms because it is resistant to water and can withstand humid environments.
Panels also cover the piping and plumbing around sinks and urinals. As they are constantly exposed to water, some panels may start to delaminate and chip off. For the regular user, this looks unsanitary and can make them think twice about going to the washroom.
Mouldy tiles are repulsive to look at and instantly makes people feel uncomfortable. While there are many ways to keep washroom tiles clean, a refurbishing project may be the perfect opportunity to reassess your washroom’s tiling based on the anticipated level of use, durability, cost and ease of maintenance.
You’d think that aesthetics would be the least of anyone’s concern when it comes to washrooms. On the contrary, your washroom’s visual appeal does matter.
A washroom that looks like it was left out when the rest of the building was redecorated can stick out like a sore thumb. Brighter colours and loud patterns may have been all the rage a decade ago, but contemporary washrooms tend to gravitate towards wood patterns or neutral colours because of their timeless appeal. Light hues can also make the washroom “feel” cleaner and create the impression of a larger space.
Don’t forget to check the bulbs too. Flickering lights inside a washroom can make users feel like they are in a horror movie scene instead of a well-maintained commercial space.
To complete the look and feel, some commercial washrooms even feature soft ambient music to create that relaxing atmosphere of a private sanctuary, in contrast to the hustle and bustle outside. This multi-sensory experience transforms the washroom from a mere functional facility to a safe space where people can go to quickly recharge.
Other ways to level up the washroom can include simple touch-ups like glass tiles on the wall, lamps that add warm lighting, or extra amenities including a vanity area with some personal care items. Installing a full-length mirror also adds value, not just functionally, but also aesthetically.
You don’t necessarily have to choose the most high-end or most technologically advanced fixture, but it does help to upgrade because of the long-term benefits.
For instance, did you know that sensor taps can actually be more energy efficient? You can control and maintain temperature unlike in a traditional tap which consumes energy every time a user adjusts the water temperature. Sensor taps can also help you manage water usage by reducing wastage. For users, they are deemed more hygienic because of its hands-free feature.
Some commercial washrooms, particularly smaller ones without separating walls or panels, also now feature ceiling lights with motion detector so that the light will only turn on when someone is inside. It helps save energy and minimises touching so in a way, it is also hygienic.
Vandalism or graffiti in walls.
Vandalism may be a bigger issue in certain washroom locations like schools or transport hubs. Minor instances can be covered up or in many cases albeit not recommended, ignored. However, if vandalism is a persistent problem, then it may be time to refurbish and upgrade to a material that is resistant to graffiti like high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This can be produced in a dark colour to discourage vandalism.
Aside from graffiti, destruction of fixtures is also a common issue in publicly used washrooms. If your porcelain fixtures are broken (which is dangerous because of shards that can cause injury), consider investing in stainless steel sanitaryware which are more durable and can withstand heavy use.
Remember: Never underestimate the importance of a clean and well-maintained toilet facility. Regardless of who uses it, the washroom is always a reflection of an organisation’s commitment to the safety, comfort and well-being of its users. Refurbishing your washroom is an investment so make the most out of it by identifying the key improvement areas and working with a professional to ensure a successful outcome.