Ever wandered into a public restroom only to overhear people taking care of their business? If so, ever wondered why the bathroom stalls do not go all the way down to the floor?


It may be hard to believe but bathroom partitions do not have large gaps to embarrass anyone at all. Public bathroom stalls that have gaps between individual stall panels have surprisingly a long list of reasons why they are designed that way. And they are what one can appreciate once one has known them.


Here are 8 explanations that justify bathroom partitions that do not extend down in no particular order of importance:

  • These bathroom partitions make the whole restroom easier to clean and maintain.


It can be an agreeable, instantaneous thought for bathroom partitions and doors to reach the floor. This idea though will comprise the majority of reasons that make a bathroom dirty and not to mention make the general cleaning process longer.


Because bathroom stalls have big gaps, dirt is not accumulated in the wall corners and can be quickly and efficiently cleaned. The sanitation workers can just mop the floors with ease by moving the mop directly from side to side under the bathroom partition gaps and around the restroom area. They can also hose down or power washes the whole restroom area. Given that there are gaps in between the bathroom stalls, the water has somewhere to run even when a drain is not available in every stall. Cleaning is a breeze to do for the maintaining crew.

  • These bathroom partitions can serve as emergency access.


Because bathroom partitions and doors are not fully enclosed and have gaps at the bottom, it will be easily noticed when someone passes out or has an emergency inside. Otherwise, if someone lost consciousness in a completely enclosed space, in this case, a bathroom, it might take a long time before someone notices and gets help for them. And during these emergencies, every second often matters and spells the difference between life and death. So, the sooner they are found, the greater the help.


The patient can also be retrieved more easily. The emergency responder can crawl through the bottom gaps of the bathroom partitions. Responders can then unlock the door to do first aid instead of breaking down the door.

  • These bathroom partitions deter inappropriate behaviors.


People can somewhat see into bathroom partitions with bottom gaps. Thus, it comes as a natural discouragement for people from using the bathroom space for inappropriate activities like vandalism, sexual activity, doing illegal drugs, among others.


People thinking about engaging in activities with criminal liabilities in less enclosed spaces, like the public restroom’s bathroom stalls are less in probability. Having fully enclosed bathroom partitions will likely evoke the opposite and they’d feel secluded and in private thus promoting these illicit activities instead.


The gaps at the bottom of bathroom partitions serve as a reminder that a public restroom is a highly public space.

  • These bathroom partitions are more affordable and easier to install.


Bathroom partitions that do not go all the way down to the floor do not have to be customized to fit a restroom’s specifications. Also, they require fewer materials to put up and install. This characteristic makes them pretty more affordable.


A floor-to-ceiling bathroom partition would entail customized cutting to fit the full height of the area to a T. It would also need more materials to construct so it may cost 2-3 times more than the typical bathroom partition.


Financially, shorter and more versatile types of bathroom partitions are more sensible to acquire.

  • These bathroom partitions make for better air circulation.


This rationale for having bathroom partitions that do not stretch from floor to ceiling is at the top of the list. These bathroom stall partitions give better aeration and would lessen the overwhelming experience of the next person to use the bathroom stall. Of course, these types of bathroom partitioned stalls may still stink from time to time, but even more so if it were a fully enclosed stall.


This reason makes it a much better idea to walk into a public bathroom partition with bottom gaps. The user immediately knows that air can circulate much freely.

  • These bathroom partitions keep the line moving.


Having gaps at the bottom of bathroom partitions allows for people queueing to use to see if a stall is unavailable or vacant. This visibility urges users to take care of their business quickly, preventing longer waiting times. 


On the other hand, when a bathroom partition is full-length, stretching from ceiling to the floor, users feel isolated and may tend to take their time to do their business, without having an idea of the long line of people waiting for their turn.


Another thing about keeping the line moving is that people can avoid lining up in bathroom stalls that are occupied. This visualization is easy with bathroom partitions with gaps and/or with the aid of a mechanical device that signals that a bathroom stall is occupied.

  • These bathroom partitions can serve as an escape route.


Locks in bathroom doors can get jammed for several reasons. When this eventuality happens, the bathroom partition gaps at the bottom can be made use as an escape route. People trapped inside can simply crawl out of the bathroom stall. They will not have to suffer being trapped inside the stalls for extensive periods. Not to mention, asking for help comes easier too.

  • These bathroom partitions make sharing toilet paper possible.


If anyone ever ran out of toilet paper and had to ask the person in the next bathroom stall for a few, then they have come across one of the main reasons why bathroom partitions do not extend to the floor.


Perhaps the user realized late that no toilet paper is available, the bathroom user will at least need someone – a friend or a stranger – to help him out of the unhappy scenario. With a full-length bathroom partition, it would be impossible to pass toilet paper without having the doors open.


With bathroom partitions that have gaps in the base though, this glitch can be dismissed by passing the toilet paper through the bathroom partition gap.


To add to these rationales, bathroom partitions with gaps at the base allow for easier maneuvering within the bathroom stall for patrons in wheelchairs. As per ADA guidelines, the gap must allow toe space of at least 9 inches for wheelchair users.


Now, learning that bathroom partitions exist for several valuable reasons, the experience of walking into a public restroom with bathroom partition gaps will never be the same again.