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A Guide to Toilet Seats from the Plumbing Joint, Seattle, WA

January 11, 2019

Have you ever walked into a bathroom and the moment you sit down you can’t seem to find your balance because the seat is too loose or wobbly? Poorly fitting seats are what lead to unrepairable cracks. The “throne” room is a highly used room in the house, therefore it’s important to have a toilet seat that’s sturdy and reliable; not to mention, comfortable. Here is some advice on how to choose the best toilet seat for your home and family.

First…Measure the toilet seat!

Before replacing anything, it’s absolutely vital to measure. You’d be surprised how easy it is to buy a seat that you think fits but actually doesn’t. Here are three points on the toilet you’ll need to measure:

  • Measure the two back postholes that hold down the toilet seat. The standard measurement is 5.5 inches for U.S. seats but that’s not always the case.
  • Measure the width. Make sure when you measure this part of the toilet, you are finding the absolute widest point of the bowl and bringing your measuring tape to the very brim. This will help give an accurate measurement of its dimensions.
  • Don’t forget to measure its length. Measuring the length points starts from between the seat bolts and stretches to the front edge of the toilet. The measurements for length will be determined by whether you have a round or elongated bowl. Round bowls tend to measure at 16.5 inches and an elongated one tends to measure around 18 to 18.5 inches in length, but again, you could have slightly different measurements so don’t skip this step!

Second, Choose your style of the toilet seat!

Like most things in the US, there are choices. You can choose from a wide array of materials and styles. The most popular style is the high-impact white plastic or wood with a protective plastic coating. You could even make a statement by choosing a colored seat. The colors range from generic white to a fancy black and even come in fun prints and patterns.

Maybe you are looking for a sleek and modern feel but don’t want the traditional white plastic. In this case, wood is a great option. This common choice comes in all types including natural wood, bamboo, and even fiberboard. Wood is naturally hygienic and is known to remain cleaner than the normal, more popular plastic toilet seats. While wood seats have wonderful benefits and natural aesthetics, be aware that wood can suffer water damage. So, like with any wood surfaces, promptly dry the seat after cleaning to prevent any possible damage.

There are also toilet seat options using special materials like cushions or elevated seats. The cushioned toilet seats are soft and warm, making colder mornings a little less harsh. Cushions are also handy for making longer sessions a bit more pleasant and comfortable. A downfall to this material is that the longevity tends to be cut short due to the inevitable splits and cracks that occur over time. Cushioned seats can also be a little difficult to rise from. If a person’s strength is a consideration, elevated seats are much nicer for a smooth transition from standing to sitting and vice versa. Both of these styles of toilet seats are often used to help accommodate people who are recovering after childbirth, surgery or aging illnesses.

Thirdly, Install the Toilet Seat

The new seat you have selected is fabulous, fits your household and will complement the bathroom beautifully. Now it is time to install. Here’s how…

  • Old toilet seat must go! Use a screwdriver and pry open the bolt caps and unscrew the bolts. Sometimes to get a good grip on the bolt you’ll need to hold the nut down on the underside of the bowl. Once the bolts are removed the seat should easily lift off.
  • Clean the old before placing the new. Give the new toilet seat a clean slate by thoroughly cleaning the bowl as well as the exposed postholes before attaching it.
  • Attach the new toilet seat. Install the seat by bringing the seat bolts and post holes together. Screw on the nuts from underneath the toilet but don’t tighten them too much before adjusting the seat. Center the seat and make sure it is laying properly before tightening down the bolts. Lastly, snap the caps back on and give it a test drive. If you notice any wobbles, you may want to tighten it up just a bit more.

Having a fancy new toilet seat is nice but won’t prevent a plumbing disaster if something goes wrong or your toddler flushes a toy so if that’s the case, remember that The Plumbing Joint is always readily available to save the day!