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Stainless steel urinals: installation, maintenance and more

If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve already decided on a stainless steel urinal. Excellent choice! But before you reach for your chequebook, there are a few things to consider: how are urinals installed? How many cisterns will you need? And what’s the best way to clean stainless steel?

In this article we’ll answer all these questions and more; first, let’s take a look at the different types of urinals on offer.

Trough or bowl?

Stainless steel urinals come in two different varieties: trough urinals and bowl urinals. But which is the right choice for your washroom? There’s no ‘right’ answer as it’s down to personal preference and what works best for the location, but there are a few things to bear in mind when making your decision.

When it comes to cost, trough urinals are naturally the cheaper of the two - not surprising, given that a single trough urinal can accommodate as many users as four or five individual bowl urinals. Because a trough urinal only requires a single waste pipe, this makes them much easier to install and repair.

On the other hand, bowl urinals do away with awkward shoulder-to-shoulder contact, making for a more private user experience, which can be further enhanced with the use of divider screens. Some people also find them more visually appealing - although of course, this is entirely subjective. The other benefit of having individual bowls is that they can be mounted at varying heights to accommodate users of different ages. We’ll cover mounting heights in more depth later in this article.


The Health and Safety Executive recommends providing one urinal per 30 users for workplaces, although this rule of thumb can be applied to any wash room. This makes selecting an appropriate number of bowl urinals a fairly straightforward affair - but what about trough urinals?

When dealing with trough urinals, we would normally advise you to allow about 600mm per person; however, there’s nothing to stop you from giving more room if you wish to enhance user privacy. Paruresis, or ‘bladder shyness’, is estimated to affect up to one in three men by the UK Paruresis Trust; they recommend allowing a minimum of 800mm per person.

Our trough urinals are supplied in five standard sizes: 1200mm, 1500mm, 1800mm, and 2400mm. They can also be made to measure in any size up to 3300mm.

If you wish to make the most of the space you have available, you may choose to install a corner urinal, in which case all of our trough urinals can be supplied as two separate units with the appropriate corner cappings and cover trims.

How high?

The height at which you mount your urinals depends on who will be using them. If the urinal is to be used exclusively by adults, you should mount it 660mm high from floor to lip; however, in places like schools and youth centres, the urinal will obviously need to be mounted lower down. Many sources recommend 560mm for children of secondary school age, 500mm for juniors, and 430mm for infants.

Trough urinals should be mounted at the lowest appropriate height for your users. One handy thing about bowl urinals is that they can be mounted at varying heights, which makes them a better choice for venues that accommodate different age groups, such as cinemas or public conveniences.

All cisterns go

In addition to the urinal itself, you’ll also need to install a cistern - otherwise, your urinal won’t be able to flush. We supply cisterns in plastic or stainless steel finishes. Stainless steel is longer-lasting and more durable, although it carries a higher price tag; that said, we normally find that investing in a stainless steel cistern will save you money in the long run, because it’s far less likely to break down or need replacing. Stainless steel cisterns are also less vulnerable to vandalism.

A single cistern will flush up to four bowl urinals at a time, whereas a trough urinal will require a cistern of its own. When you buy two or more bowl urinals, we’ll also throw in a cistern and the appropriate pipework for free. All of our trough urinals come supplied with an auto-flushing cistern as standard.

Location, location, location

When the time comes to install your urinal, it’s important to select a sufficiently stable portion of wall to mount it on - otherwise, the unit could detach, causing untold damage both to your new urinal and to the building itself.

If you’re mounting a trough urinal to a stud wall, you can use a stud finder to determine an appropriate place to install the supplied wall-mounting brackets. The urinal can then be slid onto the brackets and secured to the wall using the fixing holes at the bottom of the unit.


We offer a range of urinal accessories to improve efficiency and enhance user experience. If you decide to go for individual bowl urinals, you may wish to install privacy dividers between them in order give users more privacy.

We would also recommend that you install an infrared flush controller such as the Marnic Water Watch. These devices use infrared sensors to detect when a fixture has been used, meaning that urinals are flushed only when necessary, rather than at set intervals. As well as being good for the planet, flush controllers can save you significant amounts on your water bill - we find that the device pays for itself within a few months.

All of our urinals come with a urinal waste outlet, which should be mounted to a waste trap via the hole in the bottom of the urinal. The urinal trap; creates a water seal, which prevents foul odours and bacteria from travelling up the waste pipe from the sewer.

Cleaning and maintenance

Although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise, stainless steel isn’t actually ‘stainless’. It gets its name because, unlike regular steel, it doesn’t rust, thanks to a special surface layer of chromium oxide.

The good news is, stainless steel is very easy to clean and maintain. For regular cleaning purposes, all you need is a solution of mild soap (such as washing up liquid) and warm water. First, wash the entire unit in the solution, then rinse with clean water before drying with a soft cloth.

We would recommend cleaning the entire product in this manner immediately after installation in order to remove any residue or debris left behind during the installation process.

At some point, you will inevitably encounter more troublesome stains, such as paint or limescale buildup. Thankfully, this handy guide from the British Stainless Steel Association details the most appropriate cleaning methods for a variety of hard-to-remove stains.

Find out more

A stainless steel urinal makes a perfect addition to any washroom. If installed and cared for in the proper manner, it will last for many years, if not decades. To find out more about the urinals we offer and for further information on installation and maintenance, please feel free to check our urinals section.

Posted by Paul Thorn
20th February 2018

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