Why are there Gaps in Bathroom Stalls?

If you’ve ever used a public restroom, you’ve noticed the restroom stall doors never reach the floor – there is always a fairly large gap between the floor and the end of the door. You might be surprised to know there are actually several important reasons why this design is completely intentional.

Why do bathroom stalls not go to the floor?

The below factors are key reasons why there are gaps in bathroom stalls:

Air Circulation

Imagine how terrible a public restroom would smell if each stall had doors that completely touched the ceiling and floor? This would be the perfect recipe for zero air circulation and therefore a foul scent. Having space between the floor and bathroom partitions creates natural airflow that is much needed in a public place.

Easy to Clean

The open floor plan makes it easy for janitors to clean the stalls. A mop or pressure washer can easily fit into the stalls and between the doors on the floor. If these floor plans were closed off in public restrooms, it would make it much more difficult for janitors to reach those tight corners and tough-to-reach places. In the long run, this could create a breeding ground for terrible things such as E. Coli and other bacteria that easily thrives when bathrooms are not maintained properly. For sanitary purposes, the space in partitions is a welcomed design.

Seeing if the Stall is Occupied

Rather than having to knock on the door to see if a restroom is available, a gap at the end of the stall helps to determine if the stall is vacant or not.

Space for Wheelchairs

In order to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public restrooms need to provide enough space for wheelchairs – least 9 inches of space between the floor and door is required.

Discourages Inappropriate Behavior

You’ll often notice gaps between the sides of the stall doors as well – This is in place to discourage inappropriate behavior within the bathroom stalls. It’s also easier for law enforcement to locate criminals if they are on the run and have chosen a public restroom as their hiding place.

Space to Leave in Case of Emergency

In the case that the lock on the door becomes jammed and you are stuck in a restroom stall, the space on the end of the door gives you a way out. And while crawling on the bathroom floor isn’t an ideal situation, it’s much better than being locked in a public restroom for hours.

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