It’s without much argument that we can say the toilet, the porcelain throne, is one of the most important seats in the entire household. While most toilets can last up to 15 years, the toilet seat that accompanies it, typically does not last quite as long. On average, a toilet seat will last between 5 and 7 years before it cracks, shifts, or becomes hopelessly strained from years of use.
Learning how to replace a toilet seat is a relatively easy task to grasp and is rather inexpensive depending on the make, model, and style of your brand new toilet seat.
Before you remove the old toilet seat, you may want to consider giving the toilet seat and rim of the toilet bowl a quick cleaning to protect yourself from germs and bacteria. Once you’ve done that, you can begin following the steps listed below!
- New Toilet Seat
- Adjustable Wrench or Pliers (optional)
- Screwdriver (optional)
- Socket Wrench (optional)
How to Measure a Toilet Seat
- Before you begin to unscrew your old toilet seat, you’ll want to measure it. Toilet seats come in 3 different shapes – round, elongated, and compact elongated – so you’ll need to measure the toilet bowl to ensure you are purchasing the right toilet seat. First, measure the distance between the two bolts near the rear of the seat.
- Next, measure the width of the seat at its widest point, usually in the middle.
- Finally, measure the toilet seat vertically (from the center point between the mounting bolts and the outermost lip of the seat). For standard toilets with a round bowl, you should be measuring around 16 1/2 inches while elongated bowls should measure around 18 inches. Compact elongated toilet seats usually measure somewhere in between the other two measurements.
Now that you’ve measured your toilet seat and know what type of seat you need, you can begin shopping. It’s important to take into account the extra amenities you can include into your upgrade of the porcelain throne.
Quiet/Soft Closing: With a quiet closing or soft closing toilet seat, the days of slamming toilet seats are over. These toilet seats are outfitted with hinges designed to close the lid gently back into the closed position.
Molded Bumper(s): The rather simple advantage of having a molded in place bumper on your toilet seat is that they prevent damage from happening to the toilet bowl, add stability to the toilet seat, and reduce noise when closing the lid.
Colors: In the last couple of years, manufacturers have listened to consumer demands and we now have toilet seats available in dozens of different colors. So, when you’re choosing your new toilet seat, be sure to take into account what color you’d like your upgrade to be.
Cleaning: When shopping for a new toilet seat, take into consideration how the seat is mounted to the toilet bowl. Looking for something that can easily be taken off with a screwdriver or a few clicks on a quick release hinge will allow you to clean the toilet bowl a whole lot easier.
Comfort: When choosing a new toilet seat, always take into account your own comfort. If you dread sitting on an ice-cold toilet seat on those early winter mornings, perhaps consider investing into a wooden toilet seat or even a heated model.
How to Replace a Toilet Seat
Now that you’ve measured your old toilet seat and picked out a brand new toilet seat to go in its place, you’re ready to replace the old toilet seat.
- To begin removing the toilet seat, locate the bolt caps at the back of the toilet seat if you have hidden fixings. Otherwise, the toilet seat fixings, the hardware, will be out in the open such as toilet seat hinges. Open the bolt caps and expose the seat fasteners. Some toilet seats may not have bolt caps, the plastic cap that goes over the bolts, but if yours does simply pry the covers upwards. If you can’t get the plastic cap loose, you can pry them open with the screwdriver.
- Determine the type of screwdriver you will need. Usually, the bolt or screw that is used to keep a toilet seat in place is a phillips head style. Next, you’ll need to locate the bottom of the bolt or screw where there is a nut fasted to the end. Some nuts may be similar in shape to a wingnut which would allow you to hold in place with your hand. However, if the bolt is not a wingnut or you have a weak grip, you can use a pair of pliers or adjustable wrench to grip the nut.
- For this next step, you’ll need to unfasten the bolts with the correct screwdriver. Continue to grip the bolt nut that is threaded to the end of the bolt. Using the screwdriver, insert the end into the bolt head and turn counterclockwise until the bolt breaks loose from the nut.
- If you are unable to remove the toilet seat fixings with a screwdriver, attempt to use a socket wrench with a deep-well socket attached to it. This should give you enough torque to break the bolt loose and allow you to remove it from the bolt hole.
- Be sure to discard the old seat as well as the old toilet seat fixings. If you’re replacing the old seat due to instability or breakage, the old toilet seat fixings are likely to fail in the future if you attempt to reuse them. Save yourself the time and hassle by throwing away old toilet seat fixings.
- Now you’re ready to install the new seat. If your toilet seat is right out of the packaging toilet seats will come with paper or QR code directions on how to install them but for most standard toilet seats, it’s a matter of slipping a bolt into the bolt hole and tightening. If that’s the case, position the toilet seat so that the holes in the seat align with the bolt holes. Slide the bolts through the bolt holes. Use an adjustable wrench or a pair of pliers to apply enough torque to the nut until it’s tightened.
Note: If your toilet seat is using a plastic nut or bolt, ensure that during installation you aren’t applying too much force. Too much force can cause the plastic nut or plastic bolt to bend and twist making it unusable.
- Some replacement toilet seat kits have speciality nuts and mounting bolts that are accompanied with a specific tool to tighten them into place. Should your new toilet seat have this, consult the manufacturers’ directions and install them accordingly.
While there is no expiration date for an old toilet seat, it’s a good idea to replace a toilet seat if it becomes cracked, unstable, stained or if the mounting bolt(s) become corroded. At this point, your toilet seat can become a hazard and possibly cause bodily harm.
Thankfully, replacing a toilet seat is one of the easier DIY bathroom makeover tasks you can take on. Most newer toilet seats use plastic hang tightened bolts that don’t corrode or tools for installation. Just be sure that when you’re shopping for a new toilet seat, measure the old seat to ensure you’re buying a toilet seat that will fit your toilet.
I am John Kluge, co-founder of Toilethackers.org. With 10+ years of experience working with toilets, I have garnered a lot of understanding about resolving toilet-related issues. Knowledge is meant to be shared and I am passionate about teaching people the right way to keep toilets clean and also fix toilet-related issues. I co-founded this blog to share my experiences and keep readers updated about toilet-related issues. Knowledge sharing is my forte and I always do so with ease. With exceptional writing and analytic skill, I use my skill to simplify complex terms and ensure readers grasp more understanding about toilet issues.