How to Replace a Toilet Seat
Installing or replacing a toilet seat is a fairly straightforward job. Whether you’re replacing your loo seat because it’s old, damaged or you want a new style; all you’ll need are some basic tools.
Fitting a toilet seat is often one of the easier and quicker DIY jobs in your bathroom, and can be done in a matter of minutes. Read on for our complete guide that explains the steps involved in the process.
Why should I replace my toilet seat?
Toilet seats can be replaced for several reasons. These can include the seat being broken or cracked, the fixtures may have gone - making it wobble and move around when sat on, or you want a new style.
If you’ve had a new bathroom fitted, the seat will likely be done for you, but if not, this will be the other reason to fit a seat to your loo.
Do all toilet seats fit the same?
No, not all toilet seats fit the same because toilets come in a variety of different shapes, so you’ll need to check yours before buying.
There are three types of toilet shapes commonly found in UK homes. These are the traditional pointed-nose, D-shape, and round-nose seats.
Replacement toilet seats can usually be adjusted to fit older or non-standard toilets; however, the seat must be supported at the contact points or hinges.
Most toilet seats are an oval shape, although some may be more of a contemporary square or D-shape. So, it is important to remember this when looking for a replacement in a shop or from the original manufacturer.
Before you buy a seat, there is something essential to do first…
How to measure a toilet seat
This is, arguably, the most important part of replacing your toilet seat - you don’t want to buy one that doesn’t fit.
Are toilet seats a standard size?
No, there isn’t a standard size for all toilet seats, due to a variety of toilet styles. To find out the best seat for your toilet, you will need to measure your loo. Read below for how to do this.
There are key measurements that you will need, even though most seats are adjustable to fit the most common toilet bowl shapes. The measurements are:
- The distance between the fixing holes - where the screws are. This will often be a standard measurement of 155mm, but it is worth checking
- The width of the toilet bowl at its widest point
- The length from the front of the bowl back to the two seat-fixing holes
By using these measurements, you can be sure to buy the correctly sized toilet seat.
Do I need to take any safety steps before I change my toilet seat?
Toilets are an obvious place for harmful germs to grow and can be a source of potential infections, therefore you should take precautions before starting.
Wear rubber cleaning gloves at all times when changing a loo seat. Ideally, clean it before removing it. Then, once you have taken the seat off, give your whole toilet a thorough cleaning. Use an anti-bacterial spray, which you can pick-up from most shops.
Use an anti-bacterial handwash once you’ve finished replacing your toilet seat to make sure you’ve removed any harmful bacteria.
What tools will I need to change a toilet seat?
You will need a set of pliers or adjustable wrench to remove the nuts that secure the seat to the toilet - these will often be wingnuts.
You may also need a flathead screwdriver to remove any plastic caps that cover the nuts. Most of these tools can be found in a garden shed or purchased for little cost at most stores.
Depending on the seat you buy, it could come with a kit to attach it. If you are simply replacing the fittings, such as the nuts and not the whole seat, you will likely need to buy the parts yourself.
With some newer toilets, they may not come with traditional screw-on seats but instead a slot-in style, so it is best to check this before buying a replacement.
How to remove an old toilet seat
Most toilet seats are attached to the toilet with fittings. These are held together by two bolts usually hidden by plastic caps at the back of the seat.
You may need to crouch or get on the floor to access them properly.
If there are plastic caps over the nuts, use your flathead screwdriver to remove them. This can be more difficult for older seats if they have sat there for some time. Work your way around the cap, not being too rough to damage the toilet itself, to carefully remove the caps.
Once you’ve removed the caps, you’ll see the top of the screws with wingnuts holding your seat in place. These nuts are often plastic but may be made from metal - depending on the age of the seat. Use your pliers to loosen the nuts, and then remove them by hand.
The seat should then lift away, but depending on the make, you may need to unscrew it with your screwdriver. If it is stiff or too rusted to lift away on its own, spray some WD-40 to lubricate it and wait for up to 10 minutes before lifting the seat away.
If they are still stuck, you may need to use a small hacksaw to saw them off gently.
Some toilet seats vary in how they are held in place, but most will work in a similar way. If your seat is different, take a look at the fittings and you should be able to work out how to remove it.
It can be tricky and not the most pleasant job, but shouldn’t take long. Just remember the process for next time.
As mentioned above, once you have removed your old toilet seat, give the whole toilet a thorough clean with anti-bacterial spray.
How to put a new toilet seat on
Once you’ve removed your old seat, it’s time to fit the new one. You will have fittings provided with the new seat, including instructions from the manufacturer on how to assemble them.
Essentially, fitting a new toilet seat the reverse of the removal process.
Firstly, line up and attach the new fittings - by slotting the bolts through the toilet fixing holes. Make sure that your seat sits evenly on the perimeter of your toilet bowl and centre it. Use your hands or pliers to secure the wingnuts once you’re happy with the seat’s position.
Be careful not to over-tighten them as you may want to adjust them once the new toilet seat is fitted. Furthermore, plastic bolts - if it is the case - will not need a lot of punishment before they either give way or snap.
You may also have rubber washers to place between the nut and toilet, to act as a cushion.
You will do this on both sides of the seat as there will be two bolts, so two wingnuts to tighten into place in total.
If plastic caps were included with the new toilet seat, snap them into place by pushing them down on the bolts, onto the wingnuts.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to replace your toilet seat quickly.
Find more bathroom advice and DIY tips by reading the Plumbworld blog. You may also like these posts…