Feature Article - March 2020
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Get Smart

Locker Rooms in the New Decade

By Rick Dandes

Maintenance Factors

Use of light colors can make small spaces feel larger and brighter, Springs said. "They also reveal dirt easily, which is a double-edged sword. It is much easier to effectively clean what you can see, but it is also harder to keep up. Dark colors can look clean until they dry, then revealing what was missed."

Focus on color to your advantage, Spring advised. Lighter colors on walls and ceilings, darker colors on floors and accents. Always use dark grouts on floors and bases. Make sure your bases match the floors instead of the walls, and use coves to make the corners easy to clean. "Linear trims will allow you to use any tile you want and still have it be easy to clean," he suggested. "In new projects, we recommend thick-set tile flooring and linear drains. These allow much greater control in installation for positive drainage. Large format tile is increasingly popular, which dramatically reduces grout lines and maintenance."

The double-loaded corridor and straight locker aisle design provides a space that is easy to supervise, as well as to maintain. Custodial rooms should be nearby. Hose connections should be provided at wet areas for cleanability.

Flooring selection is critical. Careful consideration should be taken when designing potentially wet areas to avoid slip-and-fall occurrences. There are many options to meet a variety of budgets. Positive drainage to floor drains should be incorporated in shower areas and restrooms, as well as circulation zones, in order to keep flooring dry and to facilitate housekeeping. Again, creating a clear distinction between wet and dry zones is achieved with effective space planning.

It bears repeating that durable materials, such as solid surface or quartz countertops, are worth the investment due to the ease of maintenance and the longevity of the materials, Boyer said. Painted concrete block walls are durable, yet utilitarian; polished stone or tile are durable and provide an enhanced finish. A decision regarding materials of lockers and toilet partitions is influenced by the desired feel of the space, as well as the sustainability goals of the project. Many sustainable durable products are available for these purposes. Building systems should not be overlooked with respect to maintenance. An efficient and effective exhaust system is necessary in locker rooms to maintain air quality and avoid mildew.

If you have rows and pods, Gabel advised, you can shut that down during slow times, during the week. Or close off half of the room during slow periods, Gabel suggested. "One section of a locker room can be open in the morning, the other in the afternoon. That allows staff to have time to clean up at different times of operation. It also helps reduce the number of staff, potentially."

Bottom line, Gabel said, is to make sure your maintenance crew and owners have the proper manuals, a facility guide, which will dictate how you clean various surfaces because there are so many different materials. Every month it seems there are new products that you have to be an expert on. RM