Why don't bathroom stall partitions go all the way down to the ground?

I searched both the SDMB and Google and found no answer.


  1. To quickly see if there’s anyone occupying the stall

  2. It’s cheaper this way

  3. Easier to clean the bathroom this way

  4. The lock on the stall can be made to show red if it is locked
    and green when it is not locked, so you can quickly see if
    anyone is occupying the stall (like in airplanes)

  5. How much money do a few inches of that cheap material cost,
    compared to the cost of the bathroom as a whole?

  6. Maybe point three is somewhat valid, but I don’t think it makes
    cleaning that much easier

Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts, or does anyone know
the actual reason? (If there is an actual reason)

I would imagine point #3 is the best answer. Most public bathrooms have floor drains. You can just wash down all the fixtures and then mop the the floor with the runoff going into the drain.

If the partition walls went down to the floor, that would create a lot more places for disgusting crud to build up.

I just asked one of the school custodians. He said #3.

And why is it that the spaces between the doors are left open? How expensive can it be to put a little plastic flap that covers the gap on the stalls? Granted, people shouldn’t be trying to look between the gap anyways, but if I can see the person from inside, they can see me. And why can’t they pipe some white noise or Muzak into those rooms? Preferably at a relatively high volume. Ever been in a bathroom with 3 guys pulling a number 2 and being able to hear a pin drop? I’m pretty sick and immature, so I can’t stop laughing when guy in the stall next to me is exploding last nights Taco dinner all over the porclain.

But if it’s #3, why do you need a 10-inch gap under the door? I’d think an inch or two would be sufficient.

I’d always assumed it was to limit privacy, to make sure the stalls were not used for illicit purposes. But maybe not, since bathooms at presumably secure and safe locations (e.g. offices) also have the gap…

Not for a mop or broom; you’d need enough clearance to be able to get it under there without having to lay the stick parallel to the floor.

Were you just watching the Seinfeld rerun where George asks George Steinbrenner to make the doors in the Yankee Stadium bathrooms go all the way to the floor? Just saw it on Fox now; weird bit of synchronicity.

  1. So you can reach under the partition for more toilet paper.

If I have learned one thing from my time in working with the public, it’s this concrete, immutable, and universal fact: People don’t read signs.

Anyone who has ever worked with the public knows this. People become mysteriously blind before them, even facing a sign the size of a billboard. (Or, they feel that for whatever reason, the sign’s message does not apply to them, but that’s another thread.)

I imagine myself using a stall when the only indicator is a tiny red line below the knob, and hearing some moron on the other side, shoving, pulling, and shaking the door, unable to comprehend why it will not open. I think I’d constantly be repeating, “Uh, I’m in here. Excuse me! There’s someone in this stall.”

Not only is the general public blind, it is made up of pigs. The best way to clean a public restroom, oh, Hell, public latrine (that is what it is) is with a fire hose. Brooms and mops are fine for during the day touch ups but to get the all day accumulation of torn up soiled and wet paper, the skid marks, the dingle berries, the sprays of excreta, the occasional lump of congealed and adhesive feces, a fire hose is the sovereign remedy. Just stand back and hose the place down. Get those partitions up off the floor for the water to go in with pressure and run out without impediment.

God, I’m glad I’m not a junior high school janitor any more.

It is much easier to mop the floor with the stall doors the way they are.
Also when it is required to have a plumber work on the toliet, it’s much easier on him to be able to have that extra room.

In Europe, I noticed a lot of the bathroom stalls were little “rooms”, nearly soundproof.

It was nice, but the flush was always in a different, new, exciting place. It was always an adventure. Once or twice I never found it. Shh.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I think Big Brother’s at work here.

A year or so ago, the directors decided to renovate the “restrooms” here at work. After this littlke exercise we ended up with air-con, which was nice. But true to form what they gave with one hand they took with the other. Instead of the approx. 9 inch gaps at the bottom (that’s the door) that we used to have, we’ve now got 12 inch gaps. I know - I just took my 12" ruler out and it fit snugly in the gap. They also lopped about 6" off the top of the panels (for cleaning?!) so that know its only 5’6" high.


  1. to make the occupier feel uncomfortable and ensure a quick turnover and higher productivity
  2. to let you know that you’re never alone
  3. to stop you smoking in the stalls

Sod them - I use the disabled bog and puff away with a copy of the newspaper.

Of course, none of this applies to the executive washrooms on the top floor.

You know, I just noticed a disturbing trend in new bathrooms - the line where the door meets the panel it locks to (there’s probably a name for that…) The gap between them is lining up with the center of the toilet with alarming frequency.

Is there some kind of new rule or regulation to make sure we’re really doing number 2 or something? No jokes about the Patriot Act, please…

Also what’s with the reverse TURDIS effect? I seem to be able to breeze into a cubilcle, but when it comes time to leave you have to crush your legs against porcelin and grimace as the door scrapes your nose before you can get out again.

What about safety issues? Imagine you’re the mother of a 4-year-old who insists she can go all by herself, but then gets stuck because she can’t figure out how to open the door. You’d want to be able to get in there without busting the door down. Or what if someone slipped and fell in the stall, and couldn’t stand up to get out or was knocked unconscious?

I always assumed it was to crawl out if need be. I rue the day when the lock finally gives out in the ladies’ room in the building that I work, as it sticks quite badly. The bathroom is used by so few people, if I were left to the mercies of others, then I would be there for quite some time. At least this way I could slip under the door, maybe. Also, when they clean the bathrooms (not exactly sure how often that occurs, as it isn’t really needed, there are only maybe three or four people that use it) it would be easier.

Damn. Eva got to it first. But yes, IMO it is for safety reasons. If you drop dead while pooping they do not to waste a door braeking ti open to get you out.

This is soooo true…
Completely off the subject of the OP but back when I was in college and worked at the college bookstore, people would come up to me all the time and ask “Where are the blue books?” (The little booklets that you were required to use for essay tests, english compositions, etc.) There was a free-standing display right in the middle of the floor filled with blue books, with a huge sign hanging overhead pointing down which said “BLUE BOOKS”, you couldn’t miss it, and half the time I was standing about three feet away from it when people would ask (which would generally elicit a :smack: response.) It just got to be a running joke after a while…

As for the OP, my vote is for #3 as well.

I have my own theory on this.

Part of it is to make it so others can see that there is only ONE person in the stall, if you catch my drift. Some guys get around that by having one of them stand in a paper grocery sack.

Part of it is, well suppose you decide to die or have a major health incident in there. If you fall on the floor, you’ll be seen and helped much quicker.

Mostly, the less stuff that meets the ground, the less places for crud to gather.