Inswing vs. Outswing: Which Way Should Toilet Partition Doors Open?
When installing your toilet partition doors, you want to make sure that everything is just right. You need to ensure proper security, privacy, hygiene, and code compliance. One of the key design requirements is inswing vs. outswing. Which one should your toilet partitions use?
You might have realized that most of the public bathrooms you’ve visited have stall doors that open inward. This is an almost universal rule. Whenever you visit a retail business, school, hospital, office, or other building with multiple stalls, you’ll find that the doors swing inward into the stall.
This might seem like a bit of an inconvenience. If stalls aren’t large enough, it can be challenging to open and close the door from the inside. This is particularly true if you’re trying to juggle a purse, bookbag, or other items at the same time.
However, most buildings do this to maximize floor space in the entire bathroom. If the doors swing outward, they would have to ensure proper clearance. This would likely mean making the bathroom larger, cutting into the overall available space. They could also have to reposition sinks or other fixtures.
They can also help with privacy. Because the door swings inward, anyone checking to see if a stall is available will simply push the door slightly. It will be obvious that it is locked. However, if a door swings outward and has a handle, they may jiggle the handle or pull harder, potentially opening the door if there is worn or faulty hardware.
An inward-opening door also prevents someone from holding the door closed from the outside or pushing something against the door to trap occupants. Given the widespread use of bathroom stall partitions in schools, these types of incidents are of enough concern to be taken into account.
The Americans With Disabilities Act sets a wide range of requirements for publicly accessible buildings and workplaces. Many of these concern doors and bathrooms, so there are, of course, regulations concerning bathroom door stalls.
First, there are size requirements for your bathroom stalls. Toilet stalls can be 56 inches if they have a wall-mounted water tank or 59 inches for those with toilet-mounted water tanks. They must be at least 60 inches in width.
There are also requirements for grab bars and the specific type and size of the toilet in use. The rules provide some exceptions for instances where alteration work would be technically infeasible or are in conflict with other plumbing code requirements.
The most notable part of ADA compliance for toilet stalls is that doors must open outward. This is to ensure that there is sufficient space within the stall. The door opening must also be 32 inches. This means that there must also be sufficient clearance outside the stall.
In most cases, these stalls are placed at the end of a row of stalls. This prevents the outward opening door from interfering with people accessing other stalls. While these design requirements mean that your bathrooms will take up more space, you don’t want your business to run afoul of the ADA and incur potential legal action and fines.
Having regular bathroom stall doors swing inward is a common convention but isn’t actually required due to building codes or other regulations. This means that some facilities can choose to have doors that swing outward instead, but should they?
There are a few reasons that your business might choose that. First, if your restroom only has one stall, then you will have to have an outward swinging stall door to meet ADA requirements.
Second, outward swinging doors allow more space in stalls at the cost of overall floor space. This can create a more luxurious restroom experience if you have the space to spare.
Having visitors push the stall door open to exit the stall lets them do so with a foot or elbow rather than their hands. This can help stop the spread of germs. Despite these potential benefits, most stalls still use inward swinging doors to save space.
Fast Partitions can provide your facilities with top-quality toilet partition doors in a variety of materials and finishes. Make sure that your toilet partitions meet your needs and satisfy regulatory compliance. Get your quote on new toilet partition doors today.