How to Replace A Toilet Seat

Whether you want to replace a broken toilet seat or have moved to a new home and want an upgrade, you must have the basic knowledge of how to replace the toilet seat in question.

Toilet seat replacement is a straightforward task as long as you have the required tools. In this guide, you'll learn the essential tips on how to change a toilet seat. The task at hand takes approximately half an hour, after which you will have a new toilet seat in your bathroom.

Why Should I Replace My Toilet Seat?

Toilet seats don't come with an expiration date. It's therefore hard to tell if it's time to replace it or not. Generally, toilet seats last for 5 to 7 years before you can think of replacing them. However, other factors can prompt you to change the toilet seat sooner than that.

  • Moving to a new house - one of the essential things you need to do when you move to a new home is to replace the toilet seat. The former tenants might have cleaned the toilet seat before moving out. However, replacing the toilet seat allows you to deep clean under the bolts and hinges and disinfect every hidden part of the seat.
  • When your child starts potty training - consider replacing your toilet seat if your child wants to start potty training. In this case, you need a small toilet seat that fits securely inside the big toilet seat to help with training.
  • If the toilet seat becomes loose - one of the significant signs that your toilet seat is loose is when it starts moving. A loose toilet seat poses hygiene and safety concerns and needs constant tightening. If you find yourself having to tighten the seat now and then, consider that as a sign that it's time to replace it.
  • If the seat is broken - if your toilet seat is broken, the cracks are breeding grounds for bacteria. Before that happens, consider investing in a new toilet seat.

After you replace your toilet seat, make sure that you clean the new one using anti-bacterial soaps. Then dry the seat and the ring thoroughly with a paper towel. In addition, avoid using harsh chemicals and abrasives such as chlorine, acid, vinegar, bleach, or essential oils. These chemicals rub away the paint finish on the hinges, leaving them looking dull and worn out.

Does It Matter What Size Toilet Seat to Buy?

Toilet seats come in different sizes but since it's not every day that you go toilet seat shopping, you may not be aware of the various standard toilet seats available. It's therefore advisable that you take the proper measurements to ensure you buy a toilet seat of the right size.

Are Toilet Seats a Standard Size?

The first thing to understand when deciding on the size of your toilet seat is whether you have an elongated or round bowl. You can tell what kind of toilet seat you have by taking simple measurements.

Generally, the round toilet seats measure about 16.5 inches, while the elongated ones measure around 18.5 inches. So, once you understand the toilet seat shape, you are all set.

How to Measure a Toilet Seat

Before you go shopping, make sure you take measurements to help you buy the right size. When taking the measurements, you need to focus on three points:

  • The length of the bowl from between the seat bolts to the outside edge of the front of the bowl. This size depends on whether you have a round or an elongated bowl.
  • Measure the distance between bolts and where the toilet seat attaches to the bowl. For your reference, the standard measurement for a UK toilet seat between the fixing holes is 155mm.
  • Measure the width of the bowl at its widest point. When taking this measurement, place your tape measure on the outside of the brim to ensure accurate dimension.

If you take these measurements correctly, you can be sure to buy the right size toilet seat.

How To Remove an Old Toilet Seat

Installing a new toilet seat is easy as all you need is to tighten the nuts with a wrench and a pair of pliers. However, things get tricky a few years down the line when you want to uninstall the seat. The humidity and lack of ventilation behind the toilet seats make the bolts corrode. When that happens, removing the seat will require spraying some lubricant, drills, locking pliers, and deep socket wrenches.

The difficulty or ease of removing the toilet seat depends on whether you have plastic or metal bolts. In the fortunate event that you used plastic bolts, the removal process will be easier. You only need to spray the bolts with a soap solution and then unscrew the nuts. The soap solution prevents the threads from stripping.

On the other hand, removing metal bolts is quite a chore, especially when working under the toilet. In this case, you'll need to lubricate the bolts with a lubricant for about five minutes before trying to unscrew the bolts.

Do I Need to Take Any Safety Steps Before I Change My Toilet Seat?

Before you get on with removing and changing the toilet seat, remember that toilets are habitats for harmful germs. Exposure to these germs can lead to infections. Therefore you must take the necessary precautions before starting the job.

Some of the essential preventive measures to take include:

  • Wearing rubber cleaning gloves
  • Cleaning the toilet before removing the seat
  • After removing the seat, clean the toilet again thoroughly with an anti-bacterial spray
  • Once you're done changing the loo seat, wash your hands using an anti-bacterial handwash to kill any harmful bacteria

What Tools Do I Need to Change a Toilet Seat?

During the toilet seat replacement, you need to gather a set of tools to make the exercise easy. The project requires a few simple tools you can get from the hardware store if you don't have them at home. These include;

  • Pliers/ adjustable wrench - use these to remove the nuts that secure the seat to the toilet.
  • Flathead screwdriver - use this tool if the nut heads are covered with plastic caps.
  • Tape Measure - this is essential in taking your toilet seat measurements before going to buy a replacement.
  • Spray lubricant/ soap solution - if your toilet seat is fixed using metal screws, you'll need to spray them with a lubricant before unscrewing. But if you have plastic screws, then you should use a soap solution.

Step 1

When removing the old seat, start by popping off the bolt caps. These are located at the edge of the old toilet seat, where the seat's hinges attach to the bowl. Some bolts have the caps while others don't. If your toilet has them, use the flathead screwdriver to pry them off gently.

Step 2

Now use the adjustable wrench to loosen the nuts. There are usually two nuts, one on each side. Attach the wrench on each of them and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the nuts.

Step 3

The next step is to remove the bolts. These are located at the base of the hinges, on top of the toilet bowl. Their location makes it difficult to remove them using a screwdriver. Therefore, you need to use your hands to turn each bolt counterclockwise until they come off. If the seat has washers, make sure you remove them as well.

Step 4

If the bolts are stuck due to rusting that occurs with time, you'll need to wrestle with them until they come off. In this case, the first thing to do is spray the bolts with a lubricant and let them rest for about ten minutes before you start unscrewing again.

If the lubricant doesn't help loosen the bolts, hold the wrench on the nut as you use the screwdriver with the other hand to try and untighten it. If this proves unfruitful, use a small hacksaw to cut them off.

Step 5

Once you manage to remove the old toilet seat, dispose of it together with its hardware.

Toilet Seat Being Removed

How to Put a New Seat On

After discarding the old toilet seat, it's time to install the new one. You can do this with a few simple steps.

Step 1

Unpack the new seat and set it in place. Ensure that the hinges of the new seat go precisely where the hinges of the old one were.

Step 2

Now take the bolts in your hands and drop them in place through the holes in the hinges. If you place the new seat in the exact position the old seat was, inserting the new one will be easy as the hinge holes will be directly on top of the bowl seat. When dropping the bolts through the hinges and bowl holes, ensure that the head is facing upwards. The bolt head prevents the bolts from falling through the holes.

Step 3

Once the bolts are in place, pick up one nut and turn it clockwise on one of the bolts. You should see the bolt ends sticking through the top of the bowl. Tighten the nut using an adjustable wrench. Repeat the process with the other nut and bolt. If the bolts have plastic caps, snap them in place by firmly putting them down the bolt heads.

Step 4

If you bought a toilet seat model that doesn't require driving bolts through the hinges, drop the bolts on the holes located on the side of the toilet bowl. Once the seat snaps in place, fix them in place using the nuts. If this is your variety, make sure you double-check with the user manual before installing the seat.

Choosing the Right Replacement Toilet Seat

Choosing a replacement toilet seat can be more confusing than you think. One of the main reasons many people postpone changing a toilet seat is that toilet seats don't come in standard sizes. However, you can easily choose the correct replacement by taking the measurements of your old toilet seat.

Once you have the measurements, you need to take them with you to the hardware store. When here, you'll have a variety of styles to choose from. There are a few factors that you can consider, and these include:

The Type of Toilet Seat

There are two types of toilet seats:

  • Soft-close toilets - these toilets have a gentle closing mechanism that prevents the lid from banging when closing. This is the best type to give your bathroom a stylish look and avoid trapped fingers.
  • The standard close seats - these can have a contemporary or traditional style. They can be made of various materials and finishes. Choose these if you want an easy-to-install toilet seat that suits any bathroom.

The Shape of the Toilet Seat

Toilet seats are available in two shapes:

  • Elongated toilet seats - these are oval-shaped and are a bit longer than the traditional round toilet seats. These seats are usually more comfortable and hence a bit expensive.
  • Round toilet seats - this is the most common type of toilet seat. It is round in shape, costs less, and is most suitable for a small toilet space.

The Material

Do you want plastic, cushioned, or wooden toilet seats? Various materials have different features. For instance, the plastic seats are available in different colours but can get very cold during winter.

Wooden seats are warmer but can get stained quickly. Cushioned toilet seats, on the other hand, are very comfortable. However, they tend to crack and split over time. When choosing the material, it is up to you to decide which shortcoming is easier to deal with.

Wooden Toilet Seat

Bottom Line

Hopefully, this guide covers everything you need to know about the different types of toilet seats and the steps to install one. But, if you are looking for a new toilet seat replacement, look no further. At PlumbNation, we offer a wide range of toilet seats ideal for any bathroom size and design.

We are dedicated to bringing you the best quality brands at affordable prices. With us, you can be sure to find a toilet seat that will make your time in the bathroom pleasant. Take your time to browse through our catalogue before placing your order online. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us.