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View Full Version : Why don't bathroom stall partitions go all the way down to the ground?


Polerius
08-12-2004, 07:13 PM
I searched both the SDMB and Google and found no answer.

Possibilities
1) To quickly see if there's anyone occupying the stall
2) It's cheaper this way
3) Easier to clean the bathroom this way


But:
1) The lock on the stall can be made to show red if it is locked
and green when it is not locked, so you can quickly see if
anyone is occupying the stall (like in airplanes)

2) How much money do a few inches of that cheap material cost,
compared to the cost of the bathroom as a whole?

3) Maybe point three is somewhat valid, but I don't think it makes
cleaning *that* much easier

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts, or does anyone know
the actual reason? (If there is an actual reason)

Mr. Blue Sky
08-12-2004, 07:18 PM
I would imagine point #3 is the best answer. Most public bathrooms have floor drains. You can just wash down all the fixtures and then mop the the floor with the runoff going into the drain.

If the partition walls went down to the floor, that would create a lot more places for disgusting crud to build up.

silenus
08-12-2004, 07:20 PM
I just asked one of the school custodians. He said #3.

Burrido
08-12-2004, 07:22 PM
And why is it that the spaces between the doors are left open? How expensive can it be to put a little plastic flap that covers the gap on the stalls? Granted, people shouldn't be trying to look between the gap anyways, but if I can see the person from inside, they can see me. And why can't they pipe some white noise or Muzak into those rooms? Preferably at a relatively high volume. Ever been in a bathroom with 3 guys pulling a number 2 and being able to hear a pin drop? I'm pretty sick and immature, so I can't stop laughing when guy in the stall next to me is exploding last nights Taco dinner all over the porclain.

scr4
08-12-2004, 07:54 PM
But if it's #3, why do you need a 10-inch gap under the door? I'd think an inch or two would be sufficient.

I'd always assumed it was to limit privacy, to make sure the stalls were not used for illicit purposes. But maybe not, since bathooms at presumably secure and safe locations (e.g. offices) also have the gap...

Mangetout
08-12-2004, 08:00 PM
But if it's #3, why do you need a 10-inch gap under the door? I'd think an inch or two would be sufficient.Not for a mop or broom; you'd need enough clearance to be able to get it under there without having to lay the stick parallel to the floor.

Nonsuch
08-12-2004, 08:04 PM
Were you just watching the Seinfeld rerun where George asks George Steinbrenner to make the doors in the Yankee Stadium bathrooms go all the way to the floor? Just saw it on Fox now; weird bit of synchronicity.

Punoqllads
08-12-2004, 08:06 PM
4) So you can reach under the partition for more toilet paper.

Lissa
08-12-2004, 08:52 PM
1) To quickly see if there's anyone occupying the stall

<snip>
But:
1) The lock on the stall can be made to show red if it is locked
and green when it is not locked, so you can quickly see if
anyone is occupying the stall (like in airplanes)


If I have learned one thing from my time in working with the public, it's this concrete, immutable, and universal fact: People don't read signs.

Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows this. People become mysteriously blind before them, even facing a sign the size of a billboard. (Or, they feel that for whatever reason, the sign's message does not apply to them, but that's another thread.)

I imagine myself using a stall when the only indicator is a tiny red line below the knob, and hearing some moron on the other side, shoving, pulling, and shaking the door, unable to comprehend why it will not open. I think I'd constantly be repeating, "Uh, I'm in here. Excuse me! There's someone in this stall."

Spavined Gelding
08-12-2004, 09:16 PM
Not only is the general public blind, it is made up of pigs. The best way to clean a public restroom, oh, Hell, public latrine (that is what it is) is with a fire hose. Brooms and mops are fine for during the day touch ups but to get the all day accumulation of torn up soiled and wet paper, the skid marks, the dingle berries, the sprays of excreta, the occasional lump of congealed and adhesive feces, a fire hose is the sovereign remedy. Just stand back and hose the place down. Get those partitions up off the floor for the water to go in with pressure and run out without impediment.

God, Iím glad Iím not a junior high school janitor any more.

Zebra
08-12-2004, 09:19 PM
It is much easier to mop the floor with the stall doors the way they are.


Also when it is required to have a plumber work on the toliet, it's much easier on him to be able to have that extra room.

Zsofia
08-12-2004, 09:32 PM
In Europe, I noticed a lot of the bathroom stalls were little "rooms", nearly soundproof.

It was nice, but the flush was always in a different, new, exciting place. It was always an adventure. Once or twice I never found it. Shh.

roger thornhill
08-12-2004, 09:33 PM
Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think Big Brother's at work here.

A year or so ago, the directors decided to renovate the "restrooms" here at work. After this littlke exercise we ended up with air-con, which was nice. But true to form what they gave with one hand they took with the other. Instead of the approx. 9 inch gaps at the bottom (that's the door) that we used to have, we've now got 12 inch gaps. I know - I just took my 12" ruler out and it fit snugly in the gap. They also lopped about 6" off the top of the panels (for cleaning?!) so that know its only 5'6" high.

Reasons:
1) to make the occupier feel uncomfortable and ensure a quick turnover and higher productivity
2) to let you know that you're never alone
3) to stop you smoking in the stalls

Sod them - I use the disabled bog and puff away with a copy of the newspaper.

Of course, none of this applies to the executive washrooms on the top floor.

RevCo
08-12-2004, 11:02 PM
I searched both the SDMB and Google and found no answer.

Possibilities
1) To quickly see if there's anyone occupying the stall
2) It's cheaper this way
3) Easier to clean the bathroom this way

You know, I just noticed a disturbing trend in new bathrooms - the line where the door meets the panel it locks to (there's probably a name for that...) The gap between them is lining up with the center of the toilet with alarming frequency.

Is there some kind of new rule or regulation to make sure we're really doing number 2 or something? No jokes about the Patriot Act, please...

smam
08-13-2004, 07:42 AM
Also what's with the reverse TURDIS effect? I seem to be able to breeze into a cubilcle, but when it comes time to leave you have to crush your legs against porcelin and grimace as the door scrapes your nose before you can get out again.

Eva Luna
08-13-2004, 10:40 AM
What about safety issues? Imagine you're the mother of a 4-year-old who insists she can go all by herself, but then gets stuck because she can't figure out how to open the door. You'd want to be able to get in there without busting the door down. Or what if someone slipped and fell in the stall, and couldn't stand up to get out or was knocked unconscious?

gfloyd
08-13-2004, 12:10 PM
I always assumed it was to crawl out if need be. I rue the day when the lock finally gives out in the ladies' room in the building that I work, as it sticks quite badly. The bathroom is used by so few people, if I were left to the mercies of others, then I would be there for quite some time. At least this way I could slip under the door, maybe. Also, when they clean the bathrooms (not exactly sure how often that occurs, as it isn't really needed, there are only maybe three or four people that use it) it would be easier.

wisernow
08-13-2004, 12:11 PM
Damn. Eva got to it first. But yes, IMO it is for safety reasons. If you drop dead while pooping they do not to waste a door braeking ti open to get you out.

Shoeless
08-13-2004, 12:32 PM
If I have learned one thing from my time in working with the public, it's this concrete, immutable, and universal fact: People don't read signs.
This is soooo true...
Completely off the subject of the OP but back when I was in college and worked at the college bookstore, people would come up to me all the time and ask "Where are the blue books?" (The little booklets that you were required to use for essay tests, english compositions, etc.) There was a free-standing display right in the middle of the floor filled with blue books, with a huge sign hanging overhead pointing down which said "BLUE BOOKS", you couldn't miss it, and half the time I was standing about three feet away from it when people would ask (which would generally elicit a :smack: response.) It just got to be a running joke after a while...

As for the OP, my vote is for #3 as well.

BobLibDem
08-13-2004, 12:39 PM
I have my own theory on this.

Part of it is to make it so others can see that there is only ONE person in the stall, if you catch my drift. Some guys get around that by having one of them stand in a paper grocery sack.

Part of it is, well suppose you decide to die or have a major health incident in there. If you fall on the floor, you'll be seen and helped much quicker.

Mostly, the less stuff that meets the ground, the less places for crud to gather.

Polerius
08-13-2004, 01:22 PM
Part of it is to make it so others can see that there is only ONE person in the stall, if you catch my drift.
What do people care how many people are in the stall?

Part of it is, well suppose you decide to die or have a major health incident in there. If you fall on the floor, you'll be seen and helped much quicker.
If this were the reason, wouldn't bathrooms at home be designed the same way?

BobLibDem
08-13-2004, 01:58 PM
We've had incidents where highway rest areas have become havens for homosexual solicitation. Personally, I wouldn't care to have my children in the vicinity of people in the act in the restroom regardless of their orientation. I'd rather use a stall that has been used as designed rather than spattered with bodily secretions that really don't belong there.

If someone conks out in a public restroom, generally it isn't that hard to open the door and get him out if it has a large gap at the bottom. Try that with a full height door.

Polerius
08-13-2004, 02:53 PM
We've had incidents where highway rest areas have become havens for homosexual solicitation. Personally, I wouldn't care to have my children in the vicinity of people in the act in the restroom regardless of their orientation.
Well, if the stalls did have full height doors, and they were more like little rooms, no one, including children, would know what was going on in there, so wouldn't that be better for the children?

I'd rather use a stall that has been used as designed rather than spattered with bodily secretions that really don't belong there.
Agreed

If someone conks out in a public restroom, generally it isn't that hard to open the door and get him out if it has a large gap at the bottom. Try that with a full height door.
But that's exactly my question. If a large gap at the bottom is such a benefit when trying to help someone who conks out, why aren't there similar gaps in restrooms in the home?

When guests visit other peoples' homes, they lock the door to the bathroom they are using. If they have a heart attack or something like that, no one can help them. Why not have large gaps at the bottom of all restroom doors then, whether at home or in public restrooms?

BobLibDem
08-13-2004, 02:58 PM
True, you generally lock the door in a bathroom when you visit. But if you do conk there, you would be missed in a fairly short time. Bathroom locks are generally easily opened using a bent coat hanger in the center hole of the doorknob, they aren't nearly as secure as outside doors. And generally home bathrooms are much larger than restroom stalls, so you could push a door in against an incapacitated party on the floor at home but perhaps not in a public restroom.

suranyi
08-13-2004, 03:50 PM
In Europe, I noticed a lot of the bathroom stalls were little "rooms", nearly soundproof.

It was nice, but the flush was always in a different, new, exciting place. It was always an adventure. Once or twice I never found it. Shh.

There was a hotel in San Francisco whose public bathrooms I used on occasion. It too had stalls that were little rooms. The door came all the way down to the floor, and the walls went all the way up to the ceiling.

It was quite cozy!

Ed

RevCo
08-13-2004, 08:38 PM
There was a hotel in San Francisco whose public bathrooms I used on occasion. It too had stalls that were little rooms. The door came all the way down to the floor, and the walls went all the way up to the ceiling.

It was quite cozy!

Ed
Did it rent by the hour?

vinniepaz
08-13-2004, 09:03 PM
I used to be a member of a pool, and little kids would always go into the stalls, lock them, and then slide out under the door so no one could get in. s found it disgusting to slide on the floor of a bathroom so it was hard to get back in, but kids have an immunity to disgustingness.

kniz
08-13-2004, 09:22 PM
There was a hotel in San Francisco whose public bathrooms I used on occasion. It too had stalls that were little rooms. The door came all the way down to the floor, and the walls went all the way up to the ceiling.

It was quite cozy!

Ed
Yeah, but then San Francisco has it's own agenda. :rolleyes:

In Europe, I've been in restrooms that had enclosed toilets and they were nice and clean. but I'm sticking to the above.

08-13-2004, 09:29 PM
to make sure the stalls were not used for illicit purposes. But maybe not, since bathooms at presumably secure and safe locations (e.g. offices) also have the gap... Your assumption that offices are not used for illicit activities is quite incorrect. I could tell some stories about activities in various offices I've worked in over the years, but it's probably TMI for this thread.

Flutterby
08-13-2004, 11:51 PM
What about safety issues? Imagine you're the mother of a 4-year-old who insists she can go all by herself, but then gets stuck because she can't figure out how to open the door. You'd want to be able to get in there without busting the door down. Or what if someone slipped and fell in the stall, and couldn't stand up to get out or was knocked unconscious?

In every bathroom I can think of like the one described in the OP the locks can be opened by simply taking a quarter or similar size coin, sticking it in the little indentation and turning. There are exceptions, which have just occured to me, but in the majority of bathrooms you can do this.

What do people care how many people are in the stall?

Talk to some of Mall security sometime. I heard a number of things when I worked at the mall and got to know some of the guys. We'd hang out and talk on break. I would think it would allow someone to notice if a child is being harmed in a stall as well.

I used to be a member of a pool, and little kids would always go into the stalls, lock them, and then slide out under the door so no one could get in. s found it disgusting to slide on the floor of a bathroom so it was hard to get back in, but kids have an immunity to disgustingness.

See above about the coin. This is how I get into those locked stalls. Unless the lock is stuck, or designed differently, it's quite easy.

Billdo
08-14-2004, 11:05 AM
I think you're all missing the main reason, that was number 2 in the OP.

They're cheaper.

The partial height partitions and frames are inexpensive and easy to install and repair and consume very little space. Similar full-height partitions would be more expensive, give little advantage, and likely easier to damage from kicking and the like. Making separate toilet rooms would be much more expensive and the walls would each take up several inches, as opposed to the inch or so for partitions.

Although there are all sort of other reasons, when you're talking about real estate, if it's cheap and effective, Occam's Razor says that's got to be the main reason.

medstar
08-14-2004, 08:27 PM
Your assumption that offices are not used for illicit activities is quite incorrect. I could tell some stories about activities in various offices I've worked in over the years, but it's probably TMI for this thread.

[email protected], I would like to re-educate you on your comment above. In this message board, there is no such thing as TMI on this message board. Sure, those initials appear on some truly disgusting threads, but they serve as a beacon rather than as a warning. I think I speak for most Dopers here when I say, spill the beans about those activities you referred to. I'm pretty sure there's a clause in the member user agreement which requires full descriptions with exacting attention to lurid details. ;)

Mister Rik
08-15-2004, 12:16 AM
True, you generally lock the door in a bathroom when you visit. But if you do conk there, you would be missed in a fairly short time. Bathroom locks are generally easily opened using a bent coat hanger in the center hole of the doorknob, they aren't nearly as secure as outside doors. And generally home bathrooms are much larger than restroom stalls, so you could push a door in against an incapacitated party on the floor at home but perhaps not in a public restroom.

I once had a roommate who would get drunk and pass out on the bathroom floor. With his head against the door. Couldn't get it open, even though he hadn't locked it. Yes, I banged the door repeatedly against his head, but he wouldn't stir. I was left to pee in empty bottles until he woke up. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I don't worry so much about the doors and partitions not going all the way to the floor. What I do wish is that they would go all the way to the ceiling. I've had too many instances of the guy in the next stall being six-foot-six and unable to keep his eyes forward. Nothing like trying to crap with a big guy looking over the wall at you.

Chairman Pow
08-15-2004, 02:41 AM
What do people care how many people are in the stall?


If this were the reason, wouldn't bathrooms at home be designed the same way?

In some public places "living on the d'lo" is a legitimate concern. I will leave it up to you to find out about this practice on your own.

Chairman Pow
08-15-2004, 02:43 AM
Occam's Razor says that's got to be the main reason.

Not when you're dealing with building codes. Your reasoning is correct with regard to making the tops of the stalls go to the ceiling, but not the bottoms in this case.

EvilGhandi
08-15-2004, 03:37 AM
Google this:

"building code public restroom"

As a builder, I am frequently perplexed as to why codes are put in place. For instance, we are now required to idiot proof showers, so no-one can be scalded.

Problem is these fixtures can be very expensive. In single family houses its of no real concern as these no scald fixtures work on pressure. But in high rise units hot water pressure and cold water pressure can be VERY different. Add in multiple condo owners using different plumbers.

The reason public bathroom partitions are as they are is because city code specifies it. There is no other reason.

don't ask
08-15-2004, 04:03 AM
So that when the killer follows you into the bathroom, or the conspirators get together to reveal who the secret mastermind is the camera can pan along the gaps in the doors until it reaches your cubicle to reveal no feet because you have pulled some brilliant switch that lets you hear all that goes on and still live to run from the crooks with the help of the beautiful woman or disgraced cop, until....

suranyi
08-16-2004, 02:39 PM
Did it rent by the hour?

Regarding the San Francisco hotel with floor-to-ceiling stalls: No, actually, it was one of the most expensive in the city. At the time it was the Four Seasons Hotel; I believe it's now called the Clift Hotel. (Four Seasons built a new hotel elsewhere.)

Ed

Weirddave
08-16-2004, 02:55 PM
Your assumption that offices are not used for illicit activities is quite incorrect. I could tell some stories about activities in various offices I've worked in over the years, but it's probably TMI for this thread.
Yea, for example, if you see a line of women outside an office that you know is vacent, and you hear a woman moaning inside and they tell you "She's just sick".....






Boy, that reference goes back a ways. I wish I could find that thread, it was brilliant!

Weirddave
08-16-2004, 03:24 PM
Link to the thread I'm referencing (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/showthread.php?t=80750).

kushiel
08-16-2004, 09:59 PM
My old school just built new washrooms with industrial doors. You know, those big heavy metal ones that are used for storage rooms and stuff. Sorry, hard to describe. And the walls are that white smooth concrete brick or whatever. Anyway, so there is no gap - at the bottom, anyway. There is about a foot tall gap at the top of the stalls.

Then again, there is a half-door above the sinks in the girls washroom, so maybe that school is just weird.

tailake
08-17-2004, 01:11 AM
Anything reaching the floor rots, rusts, or otherwise discintigrates in an alarmingly short time. Thats why the partitions are held with metal brackets . So it is far cheaper maintenance -wise to leave them up high enough so that this does not happen.

Jervoise
08-17-2004, 02:44 AM
In Europe, I noticed a lot of the bathroom stalls were little "rooms", nearly soundproof.

It was nice, but the flush was always in a different, new, exciting place. It was always an adventure. Once or twice I never found it. Shh.My office bathroom in London has ceiling-to-floor cubicle walls. They're not just partitions either; they're solid brick and tile. It's quite tempting to lock oneself in and take a nap someday.

Many pubs and nightclubs I know have very abbreviated cubicle doors. Half the concern is to stop the punters going in in pairs to shag (or more than pairs :eek: ). The other half is to prevent people snorting drugs off the cistern.

PS: once in Greece, I had to search for the flush for a full five minutes. It was a round black tile hidden in the floor mosaic, which you had to step on!

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