The Anatomy of a Bathroom Stall: What Makes Up an Effective Stall?

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Heather Jones
Heather Jones
I'm Heather, an author passionate about home improvements. My writing is your guide to making homes better. Let's explore easy ways to enhance your living spaces, from small fixes to exciting projects. Join me on a journey of making your house a cozy and stylish haven.

Toilet partitions are important fixtures in the public restroom setting. They give users much needed privacy in an otherwise public facility. This article discusses the different parts of a toilet stall and the different configurations of these parts that allow them to effectively serve their purpose.

Nobody really considers finding out more about toilet stalls unless they actually have to work with them, maybe to sell them or install them. Otherwise, the only time someone would even consider thinking about a bathroom stall is when there’s graffiti on it.  

Bathroom Stall

Toilet stalls provide bathroom users with a safe, private area to do their business in a public setting. It may not seem so, but so much work goes into installing a toilet stall properly so that it can effectively serve its purpose. A typical toilet stall has a number of parts, and if any of these parts are not installed correctly, a user’s safety and privacy inside the stall may be compromised.

The Different Parts of a Bathroom Stall

Bathroom stalls consist of headrails, pilasters, pilaster shoes, hinges and brackets, panels, doors, and latches. These parts work hand in hand to keep toilet users safe from prying eyes.

In designing and planning out how these parts are installed, architects and subcontractors must comply with ADA codes concerning these partitions. These codes ensure that certain conflicts don’t happen:

  • The toilet stall door must not come in contact with the actual toilet bowl.
  • There must be ample space between the toilet stall door and the toilet so that users can have comfortable leg room as they use the toilet.
  • Gaps between the panels, pilasters, and doors must be avoided. Should there be any gaps, they are to be as minimal as possible.
  • The toilet stalls must have ample space for users to move around – basically enough for someone to get into and out of the stall. 
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The headrail is the topmost part of the toilet partition. In US public restroom designs, the headrail is only connected to the pilasters of the stall. There should be a gap between the headrail, the door, and the panels.

However, in UK public restroom designs, this kind of set up is rare. Headrails are usually connected to both the pilasters and the panels, making for little to no gaps in between.

The gap in the US design is meant to promote good airflow inside the restroom, ensuring that no unwanted smells or gasses build up inside a single stall.


The pilasters are the “columns” or the “legs” of a toilet partition. In most public restroom set ups, these are the only parts of a toilet partition to touch the floor. This allows for a gap between the partition door and panels and the floor. As with the gap between the headrails, doors, and panels, this gap allows for better air circulation in the bathroom.

The gaps in these partitions are also useful in case of emergencies. For instance, during a fire, one can crawl through the gaps at the bottom to get away safely.

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Pilaster Shoe

Pilaster shoes are basically anchors that keep the pilasters grounded and stable. Along with the brackets, they keep the toilet partition from swaying or even falling.

Pilaster shoes are usually made up of stainless steel as they need to be strong and durable to keep the toilet partitions upright and steady. Pilaster shoes can also be made of Zamac and can come in different finishes as well.

Hinge and Bracket

Toilet stall door hinges need to be especially strong to protect the stall user. This helps prevent any accidental opening of the stall doors. Even when a door’s latch mechanism has an “occupied” feature, some people overlook it and still try to pry these doors open. Hinges, along with the latches, help keep these doors closed even through the most forceful of pulls.

Brackets, on the other hand, attach the toilet partition panels to the bathroom walls, further stabilizing the partitions.


The panel is what separates different stalls from one another. This part of the toilet partition is what truly keeps things private inside each stall. To effectively do so, they have to be made of sturdy materials. Some of the most common bathroom stall materials are:

  • Plastic Laminate
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Plastic laminate is made by soaking layers of thin Kraft paper in melamine resin. This is then subjected to high pressure and temperatures to harden it.

Plastic laminate partitions can come in different colors and designs. It’s pretty easy to customize! Decorative paper can be used as a top layer – on top of the initial layers of Kraft paper – before it is soaked and hardened. 

Best of all, among all the other toilet partition materials out there, this one is the most affordable.

  • Solid Plastic

Solid plastic is also known as high-density polyethylene or HDPE. It’s a heavy duty, moisture resistant material that would take a lot to damage.

Vandalism isn’t a problem for toilet partitions made out of HDPE because it is resistant to minor scratches and even graffiti. 

  • Stainless Steel

Stainless steel partitions don’t only look strong, they look luxurious, too. This material is usually in high demand due to its sleek appearance.

  • Phenolic

Solid phenolic is considered to be one of the strongest materials for toilet partitions. It is made up of multiple layers of Kraft paper, bound together with phenolic resin through a process involving intense heat and pressure.

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Despite being more expensive than other materials, this material is preferred as it effectively protects partitions from vandalism. It’s water-resistant and graffiti-proof as well.

Door and Latch

Finally, the door and latch of a toilet partition. These keep the user safe by securing it from being opened by other bathroom users. 

Latches can come in many different forms. Simple public restrooms usually only have a bolt lock mechanism for their toilet stall doors. Another common lock is the stall lock. Stall locks come with a slide mechanism or a thumbturn lock mechanism.

Indicator locks are preferred by most architects and subcontractors for toilet partitions because they offer a better sense of security for users. These indicator locks come with an “occupied/vacant” sign to let other bathroom users to know when the stall is indeed occupied or vacant. 

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