Feature Article - November 2005
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Handy Solutions to Common Problems

By Stacy St. Clair, Jenny E. Beeh and Kelli Anderson

How To Design Custom Restrooms on a Budget

When planning public restrooms, the prime goal is to create facilities that not only look great but function well. Major design concerns include building size, fixtures and hardware, accessibility, vandal-resistance, and ease of maintenance. Aesthetic appeal and flexibility of function are also key considerations.

How can parks get public restrooms with customized design features but without the high-cost and long lead times often associated with custom architectural design?

Pre-engineered public facilities can offer many choices. With design help from the building's manufacturer, a wide variety of materials and features are available to tailor the building to fit just about any site and situation.


A tough-as-nails exterior also can look great. Masonry surfaces can establish a unique style, or they can match the appearance of other buildings nearby. Masonry choices include:

  • split-face or smooth concrete bloc in various colors
  • brick or stone (or manufactured concrete look-alike materials)
  • stucco in a variety of colors and textures

Masonry materials offer unsurpassed weather- and graffiti-resistance, yet many attractive wood siding options also are available and suitable for use in locations less prone to rough conditions or abuse.


There are numerous attractive and utilitarian roofing options that emphasize both form and function, whether in urban centers, rural areas or residential neighborhood parks. Pre-engineered restroom manufacturers offer roofing choices at various price points, while making a clear design statement with each:

  • metal roofing in various colors and profiles
  • concrete tile roofing
  • composition shingles
  • optional skylights of durable Lexan

A light and bright restroom interior is essential. White FRP is a great wall and ceiling surface because it reflects light so well, resists graffiti, and is easy to clean with soap and water. Concrete restroom floors should have an impervious sealer applied at the time of installation. Other floor finish choices include epoxy coatings and ceramic tile.


Once upon a time, there was only one decision to be made about restroom fixtures: vitreous china (porcelain) or stainless steel. That's still an important choice—the more durable stainless is often nearly triple the cost of china—but now there are many more possibilities: hands-free electronic flush valves and faucets, electric hand dryers, automatic door-locking systems, occupancy-sensor lighting and ventilation, and the list goes on. Shop around for the fixture features that best suit your site and style. Likewise, make sure you select components that promote accessibility and easy maintenance and can stand up to high use and abuse.


Often, parks need the building housing public restrooms to serve multiple purposes. Pre-engineered restroom manufacturers offer design services to craft a durable multiuse facility with additional space for showers and dressing rooms, concession booths, and outdoor covered shelters, equipment storage and mechanical rooms, and even office space.


Besides lower costs, pre-engineered restrooms offer a shorter time from concept to completion. Whole building packages ship right to the project site, saving parks from having to go through the design and review process every time another new park restroom is needed.

  F O R   M O R E   I N F O R M A T I O N  

Romtec, Inc. 541-496-3541

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