Prior to the undertaking of a major university building or renovation project, the university officialsies, architects, and contractors need to consider a few questions to avoid making common mistakes when it comes to the bathrooms.
- How do we ensure the easiest possible installation, requiring the least amount of time?
- What do we need to consider to ensure the showers are the most durable to avoid future costs?
- How do we keep students safe?
Let’s review some common misconceptions made about university bathrooms, the mistakes they can lead to, andhow to avoid them.
Misconception #1: Keeping Installation Materials Cheap Lowers Overall Costs
When designing university shower projects, planners tend to think, “Let’s keep it cheap.” Unfortunately, that often leads to materials that take more time to install, thus increasing installation costs. A project involving tile, for instance, might seem to have significantly less upfront material costs than a solid surface shower installation. However, tile involves a very lengthy installation time frame with the need to meticulously grout and set each piece. Not to mention, waiting for dry time.
On the contrary, solid surface showers require fewer pieces to install, and they require a considerably less amount of time. Although certain types of shower materials could cost less upfront, installation labor time needs to be considered in the overall cost of the project.
Misconception #2: Most Shower Materials Offer the Same Level of Durability
The after-installation factors are also an important consideration, especially in a highly used area like a university bathroom. During the planning of a university shower project, it is a big mistake not to consider the costs associated with the durability of the shower (how long before the shower needs to be replaced), as well as the ongoing maintenance (how often the shower will need to be repaired and what is involved in the repair.)
Tile is a popular shower material and can be visually appealing when newly installed. But the aftermath of highly used tiled showers is not so attractive. It has a tendency to crack, chip, and grow mold and mildew, requiring regular tile replacement, re-grouting, and heavy-duty cleaning. Taking it one step further, cracks and chips could lead to water damage within the structural walls and floor, increasing long-term costs with pricey wall repairs and mold removal.
Solid surface showers, on the other hand, are very strong, do not require any grouting, are very easy to clean, and are non-pourus, which means no growth of mold and mildew. In addition, solid surface showers are seamless, so water won’t leak through to the walls and floors behind and beneath the showers. Ultimately, solid surface showers offer a long-term cost savings in ongoing maintenance due to the product’s inherent durability.
Misconception #3: Most Shower Bases are Generally Safe
Aside from trying to protect money in the project, the largest protection factor should be the students’ safety. Showers are not, by nature, the safest places in a student’s living quarters. As a result, extra steps need to be taken during the planning phase to ensure safety. Mold not only causes shower and structural damage, but can also be very dangerous to a person’s health. Working with materials that allow mold and mildew to grow can lead to more serious problems for a university, such as a widespread illness throughout a residence hall.
Beyond mold, the surface of the shower base also is also important. Tile, for instance, does not offer a naturally non-slip surface. Solid surface shower bases, though, can be manufactured with a special texture to prevent slipping.
Additionally, meeting the requirements of the end-user, particularly in the case of a person with special needs, is imperative for safety planning. Because they are completely customizable, solid surface showers meet the requirements here as well.
When designing a university bathroom, it is essential for architects and builders to consider all aspects of the project, not just initially visible expenses. Cheap materials don’t always equal lower overall costs, durability can vary amongst different materials, and your shower bases can play a large part in the overall safety of university showers.
Solid surface showers offer the necessary requirements to ensure long-term cost savings, not to mention a reliable product that will help to keep students safe.
Not sure if solid surface showers are right for your project? Call us today at 330-837-2216, or contact us here to discuss your needs.