What Are the Different Types of Washroom Partitions?

Rebecca Mecomber

A washroom, also known as a powder room, lavatory, restroom, bathroom, water closet or loo, is a room that contains at least a toilet and hand basin. Larger washrooms might also contain a shower or tub, baby diaper changing facilities, a bidet or numerous fixtures as seen in public washrooms. A washroom partition is a wall or part of a wall that separates one or more of the washroom fixtures from the other, usually to provide privacy or enhance interior design. Different types of washroom partitions abound and are built according to need, design, comfort and space available. The most common types of washroom partitions are glass block or tile walls, steel toilet partition walls as seen in public places and decorative washroom room dividers such as western-style swinging doors.

All public washrooms have partitions between toilets.
All public washrooms have partitions between toilets.

Public places have partitions between toilets. Restroom partitions are usually comprised of utilitarian steel or wooden walls with swinging doors, organized into toilet stalls for privacy. Shower partitions in hotels or luxurious homes might be constructed of mosaic or ceramic tiles or glass blocks that provide privacy and style without sacrificing light. A bathroom might feature a separate toilet or bathing area with a half wall constructed of simple drywall or elaborate glass blocks. The bathroom partition usually reflects the design of the building, combining aesthetic appeal with the need for privacy.

A single user washroom may not have any partition between the toilet and sink.
A single user washroom may not have any partition between the toilet and sink.

The public latrine plumbing system is based on a system used by the industrious ancient Romans. Aqueducts brought fresh water into a city, which flowed below very long stone benches with holes that served as toilets; waste was channeled out to a cesspool. It was a brilliant system, but the washrooms afforded no partitions and thus no privacy for the patron.

Chamber pots in bedrooms served as miniature lavatories. Outhouses, which are small outdoor sheds with latrines, gave the user some privacy. Washroom partitions and separate rooms were developed later as modern plumbing systems became more common in homes.

As people became more educated about sanitation and as improved health brought affluence, bathrooms became more commonplace in homes. The bathroom partition arose in larger bathrooms, giving a bather some privacy while allowing another person to use the other bathroom facilities. Public facilities, such as restaurants and schools, devoted entire rooms as public toilets. Washroom partitions became necessary to divide one facility from another. Today, washroom partitions are a normal aspect of public washroom facilities and can be a pleasing amenity in personal bathrooms.

Washroom partitions became necessary to divide one facility from another.
Washroom partitions became necessary to divide one facility from another.

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Discussion Comments


I have also been in many different kinds of bathrooms in different kinds of places. Recently, I had to go to the hospital to pre-register my son to have tubes in his ears. I had my one-year-old granddaughter with me. While in the waiting area, she soiled her diaper.

I went to the very nice restroom down the hall and was appalled that they did not have a changing station in there. That is the first medical facility that I had been in that did not have one in the bathroom. I went and asked the receptionist where the closest bathroom was that had the changing station for babies in it and she said I would probably have to go to the pediatric wing.

Even Wal-Mart has changing tables in their restroom stalls. I could not believe that a medical facility did not have them.


If you have a bathroom that is heavily trafficked I think that putting in stainless steel washroom partitions are probably your best bet. Stainless steel is easy to clean and doesn't really hold onto germs like other surfaces. While things like textured tiles may look nicer I think they just end up being harder to clean.

It seems to me that most shopping malls and public washrooms use stainless steel partitions because they are also really durable. I have seen an angry man kick a stainless steel wall and all it did was hurt him. I was shocked that it didn't even dent. Definitely a good feature in a public place.


One of the most stylish bathrooms I have ever went into was at a fancy restaurant. It had gorgeous, frosted glass wall partitions between all of the stalls and managed to create a private, almost spa-like feel, despite it still being a public restroom.

One of the things that impressed me most about the glass wall partitions was that while they allowed for all the privacy you could need, they also let in a lot of light so you didn't end up feeling claustrophobic. I have always hated dark metal partitions because they make me feel like I am stepping into a dark metal box.

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