Restroom Divider Walls for Restaurants: Which Material Is Best?

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Perhaps you’re a restaurant owner who is looking to redesign the bathroom with updated sinks, toilets, and divider walls. 

Or, you’re an entrepreneur interested in the culinary arts, wanting to invest in a small cafe and researching the necessary elements needed to make renovations. 

Regardless of your circumstances, knowing what material suits your needs will help you financially by making a smart investment that will last a long time and contribute to the respectability of your business. Upgraded dividers will give your restaurant a certain look that will impress customers with a sleek, new design.

There are five common types of divider walls, all with unique advantages and disadvantages. Each is designed for certain things, and depending on your restaurant, you might need strength in one aspect compared to another. Ask yourself these questions: will I have a lot of guests coming and going? Is my restaurant more fancy or casual? What’s the best color scheme? 

That said, let’s dive into the different types of restroom divider walls for restaurants. 

Powder-Coated Steel

This first option is the most commonly used and is derived from a panel of honeycomb cardboard, making it lightweight and durable. Each side is covered with thick sheets of metal, then coated in a colored powder which is baked into the applied metal.

They’re easy to install and are better for low-traffic environments. They are also largely fire resistant. Powder-coated dividers are the most seen in restaurants since it’s affordable for the size and quantity you order. 

However, there can be limited color options depending on what company you employ, and it doesn’t hold up well in excessive amounts of water. Regardless, this option is rust- and corrosion-resistant, making it a strong contender.

Pros:

  • Economical and environmentally friendly
  • High-quality

Cons:

  • Fewer selections of colors and patterns

Plastic Laminate

The second pick comes from particle boards that are covered in laminate and a thin steel sheet. It’s an improvement from the former and is equally popular, available in multiple colors and patterns. It’s one of the more customizable options on this list and remains inexpensive. 

You’ll be able to place the plastic laminate in pretty much every space, but it retains the inhibitor of not doing well in a lot of water or humid spaces.

Pros:

  • Customizable; available in wood grain, marble, granite, and solid color patterns
  • Sturdier than powder-coated

Cons:

  • Humidity and water can damage these dividers

Solid Plastic

Compared to the previous option, solid plastic can handle a lot of damage in various environments and is resistant to mold and moisture. 

These dividers are composed of solid panels of thick polymer plastic, making them durable and resistant to scratches or graffiti. These panels are easy to clean, avoiding noticeable odor, in addition to their strength that will make them last years to come. 

Nonetheless, solid plastic has a high cost and is a considerable investment.

Pros:

  • Will last a long time
  • Use in any conditions, hot or cold, wet or dry

Cons:

  • Expensive

Phenolic Core

This variation of restroom divider walls has layers of paper pressed together and soaked in a phenolic resin coating. In other words, a synthetic polymer, making this option resilient and can hold up well throughout its long lifespan. Not only is the phenolic core restroom divider resistant to impact, but it’s also not a hassle to clean and does well in water.

Furthermore, this option prevents bacteria growth and is ideal for places that are consistently having people come in and out. Despite all the positives, one negative would be the price range. Phenolic core dividers can be expensive.

Pros:

  • Long-lasting
  • Tough and easy to clean

Cons:

  • Can be pricey

Stainless Steel

Finally, stainless steel is high-quality and classy. This look gives your restroom a smooth and sophisticated ambiance. You can also have it engraved with patterns for an aesthetic approach to your restroom. It’s durable, rust and scratch-resistant, and can suit any environment. 

Nonetheless, stainless steel can cost about twice as much as powder-coated dividers. If you favor looks and durability, stainless steel will last you many years into the future, despite its hefty investment.  

Pros:

  • Rigid, waterproof, and sanitary 
  • Luxurious with various options

Cons:

  • Other than the price, none

What Material Is Best?

While there is no definitive answer to which material is best, seeing that it depends on the scale of your restaurant, hopefully, this article helped answer your questions and elaborate on the choices you can opt for. 

Whether you need durable HDPE for bars or high-traffic restaurants, or stainless steel for high-end restaurants due to its long-lasting nature and quality appearance, there’s something out there that can match your vision perfectly. Your price range also factors in with what you’re able to afford when investing in renovating your restroom. 

Each option has good and bad qualities. It’s up to your preference, your industry, and what will work best in your restaurant. Overall, stainless steel is a solid choice for anyone redesigning, but the price range is high, and not everyone could invest that amount solely for restroom dividers. 

Another piece of advice is to consider the thickness of each option. Bathroom stall dividers vary between ½-inch and 1-inch, depending on the material. This matters because customers like to feel safe and private, reflecting the image of your business overall. 

The biggest recommendation to take away is to find dividers that can hold up for several years down the road, so you won’t have to spend additional money replacing them. Being easy to clean and resistant to damage is a plus too. Be sure to ask about warranties because knowing that you’re protected if anything does happen within a specific year timeframe is important.  

Final Thoughts

With the insight you gained from reading this article, you now have a better understanding of what differentiates each divider wall. Hopefully, the upcoming project of renovating should feel less intimidating. Keep in mind that practicality is a huge part of divider walls, and you want your customers to have a good experience at your restaurant all around.