How to Change Toilet Seats? – Shapes, Sizes, and Fixings

How to change toilet seats? The first thing to do is to choose a new seat, but when you look at the market shelves, all seats may look similar. In practice, toilet seats are divided by a number of characteristics. The first and foremost are shape and size: depending on them, you see if the new seat fits the toilet bowl.

Can you replace a toilet seat yourself?
You won’t need anything fancy, just some standard tools. Generally, replacing a toilet seat is one of the less time-consuming and simpler DIY projects in regard to your bathroom, and it can be done rapidly.

The next feature is material, you might choose a standard plastic seat or search for something more specific. In this article, we will take the closest look at changing the toilet seat step by step: from choosing the new seat to replacing the old one.

Quick Guide on Changing a Toilet Seat

  1. Choose the new toilet seat taking into account the size and shape of the bowl.
  2. Open the bolt caps, remove the nut under the toilet bowl, then remove the seat bolts. Now remove the toilet seat.
  3. Clean the toilet bowl before installing a new seat.
  4. Install the toilet seat, put the bolts into mounting holes, and thread the nuts.

toilet with wooden seat

Types of Seats for Toilet Bowls

Although at first, the toilet seat may seem a minor detail, you’ll change your opinion when trying to install the wrong one. Choosing the toilet seat takes more time than installing it. Let’s take a quick look at the market shelves, to which characteristics should you pay attention?

  • The shape is the first thing you notice about the seat. There are three main types of toilet bowls and seats that fit them: round, oval, U-shaped, and you can also find square seat. The difference between them looks non-essential, but you can’t grab the first one you see or like as the shape is always tied to the size.
  • Size is the most important parameter, you should carefully measure the toilet bowl before buying a seat. To find the right seat, measure the distance between the center of the mounting holes and between the mounting holes and the outside edge of the bowl. These figures are the main ones for choosing a new toilet seat, but knowing the width of the bowl might also be useful in case you want to be 100% sure.
  • The most common material for seats is plastic. Plastic seats are easy to wash and they don’t absorb the smell, they are also the cheapest ones. However, this feature is completely up to you, you might choose anything that suits the design of the bathroom or just to your liking. There are wooden and polyresin seats for those who pay as much attention to decoration as to cleanness.

Shapes and Sizes

Successful installation of the new toilet seat depends on these two parameters: shape and size, and they are closely linked. Choosing the seat depends on the size of the bowl, in particular its length, width, and distance between the mounting holes.

toilet seat on green background

Pay attention to the type of fixing, there are two ways to strengthen the seat bolts. The top fixing means tightening the bolts with the nuts from the top; the bottom fixing means tightening the bolts with nuts from the bottom of the toilet bowl.

  • The most widely-used shape is oval which is also called elongated. It is considered the most ergonomic and adapted for the body’s proportions. On the other hand, such seats take up more space than others, so they are not the best choice for small bathrooms. Oval seats are usually 18.5 inches from the outside edge to the center of the mounting hole.
  • Round seats are less comfortable and therefore less popular. They are usually chosen for tiny bathrooms where every inch counts. Standard round seats are 16.5 inches long, but remember, there is just the most common figure, and there is a variety of toilet lid sizes and no standard one.
  • U-shaped seats are usually associated with contemporary design, they are also sometimes called European. Such seats fit new apartments and balance modern design and comfort. There is no standard size, as every manufacturer sets its own parameters.

Toilet Seat Materials

Requirements for the material are always the same: it should be durable, easy to wash, and comfortable. There are three main materials toilet seats are made of and each has its pros and cons. Depending on your priorities, you can choose between plastic, wood, or polyresin.

  • No wonder plastic seats are the most common as they meet all the requirements. This kind of seat is easy to keep clean, easy to replace, they are light and most important, they are the cheapest.
  • Wood is always considered the most comfortable material whether we talk about floor covering, furniture, or such details as a toilet seat. On the other hand, wood may be less durable, so you should fit cleaning products to the material to keep it in good condition. Wooden seats are also more expensive than plastic ones, but it is comfortable and aesthetic in some way.
  • The third option is polyresin. The main advantage of polyresin seats is the wide variety of prints and colors they can have. They can be extremely specific while having all the advantages of both plastic and wooden seats. Polyresin is easy to wash, and it requires no special care, but it may appear a bit pricy compared to plastic ones.

How to Remove or Replace a Toilet Seat

Сhanging a toilet seat is the easiest repair in the bathroom you can imagine, there is even no need to turn off the water supply. Here is the detailed step-by-step instruction on how to install a toilet seat.

  • Measure the main parameters I mentioned above: the distance between the mounting holes and the distance between the mounting holes and the edge of the bowl. Measuring the width might also be useful.
  • According to these figures and your own taste choose the new seat that fits the toilet bowl and the design of your bathroom. Notice the type of fixing: is it top or bottom?
  • Open the bolt caps, remove the nuts under the toilet bowl, and remove the seat bolts. Now you can take off the old seat.
  • I recommend taking the opportunity and carefully cleaning the bowl before putting on a new seat as dust and dirt might become a source of unpleasant odor over time. You can buy a household cleaner or prepare your own using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Set the new seat. Put the bolts into mounting holes, and thread the nuts to fix them. There are two types of fixing, if your new seat has bottom fixing, tighten the nuts beneath the bowl. Top fixing is less common, but it just means you should place the nuts on the bowl.

FAQ About How to Put on a Toilet Seat

How to replace a toilet seat?

First of all, measure the toilet bowl and choose a new suitable seat. To take off the old seat open the bolt caps, hold the nut under the toilet bowl, and remove the seat bolts. Then set the new seat, put the bolts into mounting holes, and thread the nuts.

How to know what size toilet seat to buy?

The main parameters you should pay attention to know what size to choose is the distance between the mounting holes and the distance between mounting holes and the edge of the bowl. Also, consider the shape of the toilet bowl. Oval seats are usually 18.5 inches long, and round ones are 16.5 inches, but it is always better to double-check as there is no standard size for all manufacturers.

How to measure a toilet seat for replacement?

To be sure your measurements are accurate, remove the nut and the bolts and take the old seat off. Put the end of the measuring tape straight between the mounting holes and note the distance from this point to the outer edge. The next step, measure the distance between the holes. To be absolutely sure, you can also measure the width of the bowl.

Replace a Toilet Seat in Five Minutes

Replacing the toilet seat takes no more than 5 minutes, it is the easiest repair you can do in the bathroom. Depending on the parameters of the toilet bowl and your own preferences, choose a suitable seat.

You might want to spend no more time searching than on installing and thus choose the ordinary plastic seat, but for those who enjoy little details around their home, there are a lot of options. Parameters that no one can ignore are shape and size. Carefully measure the bowl before buying, it will definitely save you time.

After choosing the seat, spend the next five minutes in this way: open the caps, remove bolts and take the old seat off, then install the new one and fix it.

Do you pay attention to the design in the bathroom or is your priority simplicity and time-saving? Please, share in the comments.

Gerald Carpenter

My name is Gerald Carpenter and I am a professional plumber in the third generation. My father was a plumber, my grandfather was a plumber. I wish I had records on my other ancestors.

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