Toilet Cubicles have traditionally been made from a wide range of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages in terms of factors such as price, durability, and ease of construction. Naturally, all materials used will need to be resistant to water, detergents, and disinfectants.
Nowadays, some of the most usual are:
- Melamine Faced Chipboard – MFC partitions are particularly suited to general commercial washroom environments, such as offices, with low to medium usage. Created by high pressure heat-bonding impregnated paper to particleboard, they offer a wear- and water-resistant surface finish. They are an economical choice, most appropriate for use in dry environments, but are unsuitable for use in wet areas such as swimming pool changing areas and shower cubicles. However, they are sufficiently water-resistant for general washroom use. MFC may not be a good choice where partitions may be subject to scratching of burning from, for example, lighted cigarettes; and they cannot withstand excessive rough usage or deliberate vandalism.
- High Pressure Laminate – HPL is made from moisture resistant chipboard, impregnated with phenolic and melamine resins, with water resistant laminate facing. A popular choice, HPL will withstand medium to intense use, making it the perfect specification for toilets in colleges, offices and restaurants. It is resistant to burning and impact and can be cleaned with some organic solvents.
- Solid Grade Laminate – SGL (also known as Compact Grade Laminate) is an excellent choice for areas with high usage such as schools, campsites, leisure centres and service stations. The resin-impregnated layers from which it is made form a single, high-strength, totally waterproof panel. It is resistant to vandalism and extremely hard wearing, so partitions made from SGL are often selected for sites which are open to the general public. Surface scratches can be polished out. Because of its antibacterial properties SGL is also often used in medical facilities.
- Painted metal – whilst producing a rather industrial feel in some settings (which might or might not be a design advantage), painted metal is nevertheless economical to install and relatively hard-wearing. (Stainless steel is a more luxurious alternative, which resists the rusting which can spoil the appearance of painted metal.) Metal can easily be damaged by scratching and graffiti.
All these materials can be supplied in a wide range of colours; neutral colours such as greys and beiges produce a calming, muted effect, whereas brighter shades can be used to create an upbeat, stimulating environment. An increasing trend is for company washrooms to be decorated in corporate colours, harmonising with the rest of the office environment.