You’re probably sitting there wondering why Americans love a large gap in their toilet stalls. Your family bathroom seems to have no gaps and is just so…normal. So, what’s all the fuss with the gaps in American bathroom stalls?
Public bathroom stalls in America often have a gap of about 9 inches between the bottom of the door and the floor. Several reasons have been fronted as to why this is so, and we will discuss some of them below.
Why do U.S. Bathroom Stalls Have Gaps?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was an act that was enacted in 1990. Its purpose was to provide a better quality of life for people with disabilities by making public places more accessible. One of the ways that this law helps people with disabilities is by making restrooms more accessible.
The ADA requires public bathrooms to have a gap of at least 9 inches between the bottom of the door and the floor. This allows for the toe space, making it easier for wheelchair users to maneuver.
Discourage Undesirable Activities
Another reason is to discourage undesirable activities such as doing drugs, having sex, vandalism, graffiti, and many other illegal activities.
The large gap in American bathroom stalls makes it easier to see what’s going on in there, so anyone who tries these things can be easily spotted by the public or a security guard and easily arrested by law enforcement.
You don’t want to walk into a public bathroom and find that it’s being used as a place for people to have sex and do drugs. This can be very uncomfortable for everyone else in the bathroom, so it’s important that there is enough space between the door and floor to allow you to see anything going on inside.
Cheaper to Install and Easier to Maintain
This design is also more cost-effective to install and easier to maintain in the long run. U.S. businesses are notoriously frugal, and this is especially true when it comes to installing restrooms.
A toilet with its walls and doors not going all the way to the floor definitely uses less material and is easier to install. In addition, if there are any maintenance problems with this design, it’s usually easier to figure out what is wrong with them and make the necessary repairs.
Easy to Clean
In places like schools and public restrooms, where there is a lot of foot traffic, the floor can get dirty quickly. The wide gaps between the doors are designed so that the cleaning staff can easily and quickly clean the toilets.
Cleaning the floor under the toilets is a simple matter of pushing a mop along the floor. This design also allows for easy cleaning of the toilets themselves. They allow for the water to freely drain, making cleaning them much easier.
Easy to Notice Emergencies
Another advantage of the gap between the toilet and the floor is that it makes it easy to see if there is a problem. If someone falls or slips in the bathroom, suffers a heart attack, or needs assistance, it is much easier for other people to see what is happening and offer help.
Other emergencies like fire or overflowing toilets are also easier to spot. The gap between the floor and the toilet can be a lifesaver in many situations.
You know how a toilet with poor ventilation can get smelly, especially for the next user. This is because there’s no air circulation inside the stall, or even worse—it has no ventilation at all.
Well, the gap between the floor and toilet helps aerate the room. This prevents odors from developing in the bathroom and makes it easier to keep clean.
Better aeration also prevents dampening of the bathroom stalls, thereby preventing the growth of molds and mildew. This can be a huge benefit for people with allergies or asthma.
Prevents Unnecessary Lines Outside the Bathroom Stalls
Looking for a bathroom stall can sometimes take a lot of time. This is especially true in places where there are a lot of people using the restroom at once.
However, with this gap between the floor and the toilet, you can easily see when someone has left or entered their stall. You don’t have to wait as long for someone else’s stall to become available because you’ll know if it’s occupied or not.
Easy to Pass Toilet Paper In case it’s Finished
One of the most common problems with a toilet is when it runs out of toilet paper. This can be incredibly frustrating if you desperately need to use the restroom.
However, with this gap between the floor and toilet, this problem is easily solved by simply passing some more toilet paper under the stall door. Your privacy will be protected, and you won’t have to go without toilet paper.
Are Large Gaps in American Bathroom Stalls Worth it?
It depends on the setting. Public restrooms are the most common place where you’ll find gaps in toilet stall doors. This is because public restrooms are usually very busy, and it’s hard to control who comes into them, how they conduct themselves, and other things.
Privacy might be your biggest concern with these kinds of gaps. You need not to worry since they are built in a way that your privacy is guaranteed.
The gaps are just large enough for one to have a glimpse but not everything or anything in detail. The gaps are also placed strategically so you can’t see anyone’s face or body.
Privacy is important in a public restroom, and it’s something that’s taken seriously. The last thing you want is someone seeing you doing your business or, worse yet, someone catching you looking at them while they are doing theirs.
However, gaps are not encouraged in home bathrooms. You should always have the door closed so that no one can walk in on you while doing your business. This is especially important if you have children. If you want to keep them out of your bathroom, ensure that they cannot see through the gaps