Toilet seats are simple to replace, yet many people continue to use old, stained, or uncomfortable seats on a daily basis. If your toilet seat is worn-out, ugly, or simply not providing a level of comfort you need, then think about replacing it. It's an easy job and one that you can do in just a few minutes with ordinary tools. Here is a little information about toilet seats and a guide to installation:
Toilet seat shapes, materials and hinges
Before you purchase a new toilet seat, you should learn a little more about your options. Here are some basic factors that will help you make an informed decision:
- Shapes - toilets are manufactured in two general shapes: round and elongated. Traditionally, toilets were constructed with round bowls, but elongated toilets are now more popular, mainly for their ability to offer a higher level of seating comfort.
- If you have an older round toilet, then you may benefit from purchasing a new elongated toilet. While it is possible to install an elongated seat on a round toilet, it will appear awkward, and the unnatural fit with the bowl could cause embarrassing messes.
- Materials - toilet seats come in a variety of materials:
- Wood - some individuals prefer the vintage look of a wooden seat, particularly if it's stained, but they are hard and usually not the most comfortable option. In addition, children sometimes have a hard time lifting them.
- Composite wood - these seats are molded from a sawdust and glue mixture and painted; they provide a low price, cosmetically pleasing option. However, the painted surfaces of these seats tend to wear over time, and they are also susceptible to absorbing liquid and odors.
- Plastic - molded plastic seats come in a wide variety of shapes and price ranges, and their chief advantages are durability, light weight and low cost. They are also odor and moisture-resistant, and their easy-to-clean construction makes them a popular option in many homes. Some users don't find them as comfortable or supportive, so take that into consideration before purchasing.
- Foam - plastic seats with covered foam padding are both lightweight and comfortable. However, their soft covers wear over time and are likely to develop cracks or rips that expose the foam pad. This foam will absorb odors or liquids should it become exposed and necessitate replacement of the seat.
- Hinges - toilet seat hinges are constructed from plastic or metal. Some hinges offer additional functionality, such as slow-closing mechanisms that prevent accidental slamming. Lower-cost toilet seats usually have less-durable plastic hinges that are prone to twisting and breaking over time. Metal hinges are often available on higher-priced seats and provide an attractive, strong option. However, some metals become pitted or discolored with exposure to moisture, so be sure that you can keep these hinges consistently dry.
Removing and installing toilet seats
Once you have purchased a new seat, the next thing to do is remove your old seat and install the new one. You will need a flat blade screwdriver and an adjustable wrench for this task:
- Toilet seats are typically mounted to the bowl using two bolts measuring five and one-half inches apart. The seat hinges may have an exposed top bolt head, or they may be hidden beneath a "cap" that you need to pry-up with the flat blade screwdriver.
- The bolts are fastened to the toilet by nuts that are tightened against the underside of the bowl. Use your adjustable wrench to remove these nuts.
- Once the nuts are removed, pull the bolts out of the hinges, and lift the seat assembly from the bowl.
- Use your favorite bath and counter cleaner to thoroughly wet the area in and around the exposed mounting holes; wipe everything clean with paper towels.
- Place the new toilet seat on top of the bowl, and align the bolt holes in the hinges with the mounting holes in the bowl.
- Insert the new bolts included with the seat all the way through the hinges and mounting holes.
- Screw the included nuts onto the bolts, and tighten with the adjustable wrench. Be careful not to over tighten the nuts, or you could crack the bowl. Some nuts have a "break-off" feature that automatically prevents you from applying too much torque to the wrench. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding these special fasteners.
- Check your seat for functioning and fit once you have installed it, and make any adjustments necessary.
For additional information on toilet seat installation, or any other plumbing question you might have, visit Plumb Perfect Ltd.