Feature Article - November 2006
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Special Supplement: Problem-Solver Guidebook

By Stacy St. Clair and Emily Tipping

Preventing Pool Water Damage and Dangerous Floors in Locker Rooms

If you spend countless hours making sure your pool and deck area are safe havens for patrons, please give yourself a hand. Just don't clap too long. You still might have some work to do. In addition to making sure your pool and spa are well-kept, injury-free zones, your locker rooms also must be safe places for patrons. Thankfully, with a little forethought—and help from modern-day technology, such as a swimsuit water extractor—it's not hard to do.

Q: What's the number-one threat to my locker room?

A: Nothing threatens locker rooms like excess water. Slick floors increase the chances of patrons slipping and hurting themselves. And, as recreation managers know too well in this litigation-happy time, injuries can become legal (not to mention financial) nightmares.

Q: Why can't I just post signage that says "Slippery when wet"? After all, it's next to a pool and has a steam room. Shouldn't patrons expect the floors to be a little damp?

A: Of course they should. But safety isn't the only reason to keep your locker room floors dry. Wet floors can do serious damage to your locker room. They can cause rust, mildew, warping, wood delamination, peeling paint and corrosion. Not only do these conditions make your locker room unappealing to users, they threaten the area's fixtures and foundation as well.

Q: I don't have a lot of money to revamp my locker room. Is there something quick, easy and affordable that I can do?

A: Yes. Install a swimsuit water extractor, which can remove up to 95 percent of the suit's moisture in 10 seconds. These machines—which cost between $1,300 and $1,400—will help keep soaked suits from dripping on your floor. They'll also keep lockers dry and odor-free.

In addition to saving your floors, your patrons will appreciate this easy-to-use amenity. They won't have to stand futilely in front of hand dryers for extended periods in hopes of drying their suits. The machines also reduce theft and the unsightly clutter of hanging suits.

Q: How difficult is it to install a suit dryer?

A: It's a snap. A typical 55-pound machine comes with a wall-mount bracket for hanging and a moisture-proof electrical junction box to be hard-wired to your electrical system. It also allows for water disposal to be directed to a floor drain or piped to the wastewater system.

Q: What about flooring?

A: You need to select flooring that is clean, sanitary and slip-resistant. The floor should also be able to tolerate constant exposure to water. In the case of shower flooring, it must be waterproof as well.

Bacteria can build up in tiled floors, so you might want to consider a seamless system. Some manufacturers even offer flooring with an anti-microbial additive that protects the floor from fungal staining, odor and inferior hygiene.

Q: Anything else I should do?

A: Make an effort to choose non-corrosive elements. This means finding the right grade of stainless steel, for example, not just the cheapest one available. The non-corrosive policy should extend to every facet of the facility. Even nuts, bolts, floor grates and drain covers should be treated against corrosion.


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