Maintain Your Restroom Structures
From daily wear and tear to harsh weather to vandalism, you need to make sure you know how to handle the regular maintenance needs of your restroom structures—and how to deal with damage when it does occur. If you begin with a well-constructed restroom structure designed to fit the needs of your site and then follow proper maintenance practices, you're off to a good start.
Q: We'd like to add restroom structures, but want to ensure maintenance is simple. What should we consider?
A: Look for a restroom structure that is designed for easy maintenance. High-strength precast concrete roofs and walls that are welded together will ensure your restroom can handle tough conditions, including inclement weather. Keep bolts and fasteners from becoming loose by looking for steel door and window frames that are cast into the concrete walls. A precast restroom is generally durable and easy to maintain. All-concrete construction withstands rot and rust, further simplifying maintenance.
Pay close attention to how the interior of your structure is designed. Soap and paper towel dispensers should be built into the wall. Tamper-resistant screws used for wall vents, grab bars and toilet paper holders will also prevent trouble.
Once your restroom structure is installed, you should create a schedule for regular maintenance sweeps. Staff should inspect the restroom for damage or vandalism, check and refill toiletries, and clean the facility at regular intervals. When you choose the right structure, cleaning will be simple. Soapy water or disinfectant solution can be used on walls, riser and floor of precast restrooms. You can also remove the toilet paper and then hose out the entire facility.
If your park is in an area that experiences freezing temperatures and your facility is unheated, be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions to winterize your restroom structure to prevent costly damage.
Q: We'd like to purchase a vault restroom. What should we know about maintaining our vault restroom?
A: Vault restrooms need to be pumped out regularly. Ask your manufacturer about the capacity of your vault, and then talk with your pump service provider about usage and set up regular service. If you look for a vault that features Sweet Smelling technology, developed by the U.S. Forest Service to facilitate maximum airflow to reduce smells and odors, you will not need to add any chemicals to the vault to keep it smelling fresh and clean.
Q: What about vandalism and graffiti?
A: First, know that the number-one reason for vandalism in restroom facilities is a lack of toilet paper, so you should be sure you are regularly checking to ensure there is plenty. In addition, look for a restroom that features toilet paper holders designed to prevent theft.
It's best to try to prevent graffiti and vandalism. Begin by looking for restrooms that deter vandalism. Concrete structures are durable and can withstand a lot of abuse. Proper lighting and motion detectors are a good idea, as nighttime vandals will usually avoid well-lit areas.
When graffiti or vandalism do occur, be sure to take care of the problem quickly. Studies show that when graffiti is removed within 48 hours, the recurrence rate will be close to zero.
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