Commercial restroom design trends drive cleanliness and operational efficiency

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As the market for commercial building restroom renovations and construction picks up steam, more attention is being focused on what matters most to all facility stakeholders – owners, employees, business patrons, facility maintenance, and so on.

While most of today’s restroom design trends aim to increase durability, maintainability, ease-of-installation, convenience and sustainability within restrooms, perhaps the two most important goals are cleanliness and operational efficiency.

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Bradley Corp. recently conducted research, which shows the condition of restrooms has taken a nosedive, according to consumer perception. Almost 70 percent of Americans reported experiencing unpleasant conditions in restrooms in 2015 – a 20 percent increase since 2012. When asked the most important improvement they’d like to see in restrooms, survey respondents overwhelmingly said “clean them more regularly.”

As for building owners, the challenge is optimizing the appearance and cleanliness of restrooms while minimizing time and costs for installation, maintenance repairs and replacement parts. Gaining operational efficiency on the front end of restroom design can free up valuable staff time and extend the lifespan of restroom fixtures.

Here are some restroom design trends that enhance cleanliness and efficiency in the eyes of both restroom users and building owners.

Touch-free fixtures. Touchless fixtures can help users in their quest to avoid touching restroom surfaces, reduce the transmission of germs and bacteria from users’ hands, and improve overall facility hygiene as users leave the restroom area and enter other parts of the building. These fixtures are also easier for staff to keep in good working condition. The “hands-free” design reduces wear and tear from usage, and helps discourage vandalism attempts such as leaving a faucet running to create a mess. Sensored faucets, and automated soap and towel dispensers prevent waste and overflows with an automatic shut off.

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Some newer touchless fixtures use 0.38 GPM faucets vs. 0.5 GPM, which achieves a 24 percent water savings. A new “all-in-one” completely touchless hand washing fixture – with touch-free soap, faucet and hand dryer in the same unit – eliminates dripping water on the floor and safety in commercial restrooms since the user’s hands stay within the sink area until they are dried.

Sustainable materials. Made of natural and recycled materials, sustainable materials can increase the durability, maintainability, life span and aesthetic of countertops, basins and lavatory systems. For example, molded natural quartz material, which has the resilience of granite, can be sculpted into a range of design options for lavatories. Natural quartz is virtually maintenance-free, since it does not require sealing, buffing or reconditioning like granite.

In addition, solid surface material made of recycled materials and rapidly renewable material is also a popular choice. Solid surface resists stains, chemicals, scratches and heat, which reduces the likelihood of repairs and the need for replacements. Both natural quartz and solid surface utilize integrated bowl designs, which eliminate crevices for microbes to hide, are easy to clean and help prevent the spread of germs. These materials also have nonporous properties, helping them to stay cleaner and germ-free longer.

Flexible and durable products. Choosing products that are engineered to address specific restroom needs and environments also promotes operational efficiency. Products that optimize flexibility require few connections and parts help to simplify installation, adjust easily to low or fluctuating water pressure and reduced water flow, stand up to harsh water conditions and high restroom traffic, and are adaptable to both aged infrastructures and new construction. Flexible product features also include universal design and vandal resistance. The result of using such products optimizes time and costs and minimizes headaches.

In all, today’s commercial restroom design innovations improve the customer experience, promote lasting durability and efficiency, and increase satisfaction for all stakeholders.

Restroom Trendwatch:
express® Elx-series Lavatory System offers updated and cost-effective multi-user design
Bradley Corp., introduces its Express® ELX-Series Lavatory System – a contemporary alternative to china sinks and laminate counter tops designed for commercial restrooms. Its single bowl, multi-user design is easy to install and maintain, while offering contoured styling and personal hand washing space.

A step up from ordinary lavatories, the award-winning Express ELX-Series is a cost-effective fixture that is easy to specify, install, clean, and maintain. With the look and feel of an individual lav, this streamlined hand washing system provides the economies and conveniences of a group fixture, which accommodates up to three people at one time.

Made of Bradley’s Terreon® Solid Surface material, the Express ELX-Series Lavatory offers superior durability and is easy to clean and repair. In addition, its contemporary contoured design elevates the look of commercial restrooms while being easy to clean. The bowl’s seamless construction eliminates mold and delamination, offering a more hygienic and attractive washroom solution.

Due to its long-term durability and simplified maintenance qualities, the ELX-Series is a cost-effective choice for high-traffic washroom applications, such as schools, retail, recreation centers, municipal office buildings and transit stations.

The Express ELX-Series Lavatory also cuts down on installation time and costs, and requires few connections and parts. It incorporates a unique mounting plate for faster installation, and requires only a single drain and supply rough-in for new construction, or for an easily installed retrofit.

For more information, visit

Kris Alderson is a Senior Marketing Manager at Bradley Corporation, a leading manufacturer of plumbing fixtures, washroom accessories, partitions, emergency fixtures and solid plastic lockers. She can be reached at Bradley Corp., W142 N9101 Fountain Blvd., Menomonee Falls, Wis., 53052-0309. For more information, call (800) BRADLEY or visit

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