College dorms, although filled with busy students, flurries of activity, and loads of livelihood, are also home to some hidden dangers, particularly in the bathrooms and showers.
College students might not think much about the risks, but when planning for the design, building, remodeling, or maintenance of residence hall bathrooms, awareness is a key factor in the prevention of potential hazards.
Let’s take a closer look at some vulnerabilities and potential solutions.
Undoubtedly, in any common area, bacteria are bound to be lurking. University bathrooms, often moist and humid environments, tend to house considerable amounts of bacteria, as well as mold. With very high usage, dorm bathrooms, in particular, can be a breeding ground for both. Of course, regular cleaning and maintenance of the bathroom area—the bathroom floors, shower floors, sinks, and toilets—will help reduce the uncleanliness. But also, some often-forgotten areas must be included in the standard cleaning cycle, such as:
- Toilet paper holders
- Toilet switches/handles
- Behind-the-sink surfaces
- Light switches
Incorporating regular doses of disinfectants with antibacterial ingredients will help solve pesky bacterial problems in these areas. In addition, showerheads and shower curtains are extremely susceptible to bacteria and mold. Mold-resistant shower curtains will help reduce maintenance and extend the life of the curtains. Both the showerhead and curtain, though, require more involved cleaning with vinegar or even bleach solutions and must be incorporated into a regular replacement cycle.
Focusing on the shower, the most consistently damp area of the bathroom; particular attention must be placed on the prevention of mold growth in this space. Mold grows in warm and moist environments, and regarding showers specifically, feeds on body oils and soap scum. Simply put, residence hall showers can be a mold’s fine dining dream come true. Mold can lead to structural damage and health risks. Exposure to certain types of molds could lead to allergic, asthmatic, or even more severe physical problems. Not only is mold growth an unsightly find on shower floors, walls, or corners, but it also could lead to mold growth within the walls, causing major damage and rebuilding requirements.
Waterproofing, therefore, is of extreme importance during the planning phase. One method is to consider controlling humidity and ensuring proper ventilation with the installation of windows and fans. Allowing the moisture to escape, rather than being confined, will aid in drying the room. Another more direct method in this area is the usage of water-resistant shower surfaces. If planning to use tile for the shower, keep in mind that recurring maintenance will need to be performed. Regular grouting and replacement of cracked tiles are imperative in the prevention of water absorption.
Solid surface, on the other hand, is a more cost-effective, low-maintenance, and longer-lasting solution. Because there are no seams and the material is non-porous, solid surface shower bases and shower wall panels offer true water-resistance, and, in turn, mold resistance. Plus, to aid in the maintenance of the regular cleaning cycle, solid surface is easy to clean, requiring only a simple soap-and-water solution.
In summary, a regular cleaning program, with particular attention to some of the commonly forgotten places, will help conquer some of the hidden dangers of your residence hall bathrooms. Taking a few steps further by investing in some heavier cleaning and part-replacement cycles, as well as thoughtful design and product usage, will help to protect the structure of the your university bathrooms, not to mention the people using the space and equipment.
Want to learn more about how solid surface shower bases and shower wall panels can help protect your university bathrooms? Call us today at 330-837-2216, or contact us here to discuss your needs.