Strategies for Choosing the Correct
Rule #1: One Size Never Fits All. Begin by defining
as precisely as possible, your athletic locker needs. For instance, how much
personal and equipment storage does the facility need? Locker strength and
security should be considered as well. Fortunately, given today's locker
selections, schools and hospitals can meet the equipment storage needs of
virtually any sport or athletic activity and in an economical way.
Rule #2: Know Your Locker Body Parts -
Backs—Tops—Bottoms—Sides—Shelves. In high abuse areas, locker damage is
usually limited to shelves, bottoms and exposed ends (sides). Only rarely are
internal surfaces damaged. As a result, most manufacturers will supply 16-gauge
tops, bottoms and/or exposed sides as an alternate package. For a slight
additional charge, most locker manufacturers will punch diamond, square or round
shaped ventilation perforations in the locker sides. Most lockers used for
standard, general use are constructed of 24-gauge steel.
Rule #3: Construction - Knock-Down vs.
Pre-Assembled. Lockers are delivered in one of two ways: knock-down,
requiring on-site assembly or pre-assembled, saving on installation labor
expenses. Pre-assembled lockers can be all-welded and are generally perceived as
being more durable. However, all things being equal in terms of steel gauges,
etc., knock-down lockers are just as strong and provide a considerable cost
savings. Most knock-down lockers are furnished with legs that rest directly on
the floor. Closed bases are also available. Concrete bases or continuous channel
"Z" bases are the most popular method of installation. Although these approaches
are more expensive, they provide better long-term appearance. Lockers for "Z" or
concrete bases are furnished without legs.
Rule #4: Talk To An Expert First. Cost effective,
long-lasting locker room design does not occur by accident. It is a direct
result of paying close attention to detail in the planning, selection and
installation of the locker system. It is strongly recommended that facility
managers begin by consulting with a locker manufacturer in order to discuss
locker type, size, security and additional features your institution needs.
Accessories: Slope Tops-Available as individual
tops or as continuous hoods in lengths up to 6 feet long. Slope tops prevent
accumulations of trash or unwanted storage on top of locker installations.
Locks-Your locker supplier can give you a list of
recommended locks for the lockers your facility purchases. Most lockers will
accept keyed or combination padlocks, flat or grooved key locks, coin, token or
card operated locks.
Filler & Trim-Filler and trim are a necessity for a
completed and finished look to a locker installation.
Choosing the Correct Lockers for
Locker Rooms and Restrooms
Selecting the right locker size and style for a
particular facility involves a lot of good old-fashioned common sense. Here
are five simple rules to keep in mind.
RULE #1: Buy "enough locker" to meet your
anticipated needs. For
example, the standard sheet-metal locker features 16-gauge doors and frames
with 24-gauge body parts. This is more than adequate for many applications.
If, however, you consider your facility subject to "heavy use and abuse,"
you may want to upgrade your locker specs to heavy-duty construction, which
features 14-gauge doors and 16-gauge body parts. More steel obviously means
greater abuse resistance.
You can further enhance the durability of your locker
room by specifying all-welded construction, which ensures maximum abuse
resistance. Although the initial cost is higher, all-welded lockers offer
longer service life and can be set in place and anchored in a fraction of
the time required for on-site assembly.
RULE #2: Choose the paint finish that fits your
application. Here again, the standard enamel finish (either baked-on or
powder coated) is adequate for many applications. On the other hand, if your
locker room is high humidity, consider a corrosion-resistant finish or use
of galvanized steel. At least one manufacturer also now offers an
antimicrobial finish that prevents bacterial and mold growth on locker
surfaces, as well as the touch transfer of microbes on locker handles and
doors. This space-age finish is growing in popularity, particularly in
health clubs, schools and hospital facilities.
RULE #3: Do not overlook the importance of proper
ventilation. Standard door
louvers—regular or mini—are not designed to provide thorough ventilation. If
your priorities include reducing odor through increased ventilation,
optional diamond perforations will fill the bill while adding an appealing
design element to the locker door fronts.
If maximum available ventilation is required, along
with visual inspection to encourage neatness and/or discourage storage of
unauthorized articles, consider lockers made of 13-gauge expanded metal,
which provide approximately 74-percent unobstructed ventilation.
In the case of both diamond perforations and expanded
metal, the ventilation pattern can be repeated on locker sides and backs for
additional air circulation.
RULE #4: Keep in mind special considerations.
For example, if your lockers must accommodate coat hangers, you will need
18-inch deep lockers (minimum) or the hangers won't fit.
Also, if the lockers are not recessed into a wall, you
may want to consider closed bases and/or sloping tops to enhance aesthetics
and to facilitate cleaning.
You may also want to include handicap-accessible
lockers in your installation. These lockers feature a low-profile design and
easy-to-reach, easy-to-open handles. A typical handicap-accessible handle,
for example, requires less than a 20-percent downward rotation to pop the
door open, and the handle returns to the closed position automatically.
Deluxe club lockers include such amenities as a
lockable inside compartment, door trays, mirror and towel bar in addition to
large, roomy interiors for apparel, footwear, equipment and personal
There are a wide variety of lock options available,
including coin-operated lockers that are becoming increasingly popular in
public locker facilities because they eliminate the need for assigned locker
locations. End users simple select any available locker. A coin activates
the lock and releases the key. When the locker is reopened the coin is
returned or retained (your option), and the key is recaptured.
Another locking system that is gaining in popularity
is the single point latch. It has no moving parts and is securely welded to
the locker body, providing a firm seat for repetitive door openings and
closings. The door is held closed magnetically.
RULE #5: The locker style you choose must meet your
end users' storage requirements within constraints of available space.
Single-tier lockers provide the most storage capacity but at the
highest cost per person and with the least efficient use of space. If your
storage needs involve long coats or heavy winter wear, you will have to give
serious consideration to single-tier lockers, which also have a storage
shelf for personal effects.
If you have determined that full-height storage isn't
required, you next should consider double-tier lockers, which will
accommodate twice as many people as single-tier lockers in the same square
footage. Double-tier lockers are tall enough (the standard height of a
locker opening is 30 inches or 36 inches) to store car coat length outerwear
and umbrellas. Hats can be hung from a side hook.
Double-tier lockers are ideal for use in areas where
winters are fairly mild, thus eliminating the need for bulky outerwear and
The next step down—triple-tier lockers—are very
popular in regions featuring three seasons, where only light jackets are
required on cool days. The standard height of a triple-tier locker opening
is either 20 inches or 24 inches, with widths up to 15 inches and depths
from 12 inches to 21 inches in 3-inch increments.
Multiple-tier lockers are available four-, five- and
six-tiers high. They work well if your storage needs are limited to purses,
lunches and other personal effects. These lockers can accommodate a large
number of people in a relatively small area but are very limited in storage
Multiple-tier lockers also have limited lock
options—pull handles with built-in padlock hasps are standard, with built-in
key locks optional.
Getting back to our original promise, locker selection
involves a lot of good ol' common sense. The goal is to select lockers that
fit both your needs and budget. As you can see, there are many options to
consider when making a locker purchasing decision. Careful evaluation of
your specific locker usage factors will maximize your return on investment
and keep your locker facilities attractive and functional at the lowest
A DICTIONARY OF
Door Frame (16-gauge) - Door frames are almost
never damaged from use or abuse. Most manufacturers provide frames in 16-gauge
Doors (18-gauge) -On smaller or multi-tiered locker
installations, some manufacturers provide 18-gauge doors that are suitable for
installation where rough use is not the norm and where attempts of forced entry
are not anticipated. *Remember, the lower the gauge number, the stronger and
thicker the steel.
Door (16-gauge) -Standard for most locker doors.
Suitable for general use and resistant to user damage from prying, twisting or
attempted illegal entry.
Doors (14-gauge) -Recommended for installations
where vandalism is a problem, most often used in school athletic team and
gymnasium locker rooms. Increasingly used in fitness club locker installations.
Door Handles (standard) -Economical, usually
supplied with 18 and 16-gauge doors.
Door Handles (recessed) -Slight additional cost.
Advantage—the handle does not protrude and may be a deterrent to vandalism.
Non-protruding handle can also be safety factor, particularly in schools where
horseplay in locker rooms is not uncommon.
Latching (1, 2 and 3 tier) -Standard latching is a
bar with nylon clips, steel clips or steel wire. This allows the locker to be
locked and door then closed. 3-Point latching for 60" and 72" doors and 2-point
latching for 20", 24", 30" and 36" doors.
Alternate Latching (1,2 and 3 tier) -Single point
latching eliminates all moving parts and is maintenance free. When used with a
padlock and with a 14-gauge steel door with full-height stiffeners, single point
latching makes for a virtually tamper proof locker installation.
Latching (Box Lockers - 4,5,6,8 or 9 tier)
-Standard is a padlock lug or a bullet catch that holds the locker door shut
when not locked. Built-in locks with spring bolts allow locking before closing.