How to Replace a Toilet Seat – From Measurement to Installation

The seat on your toilet isn’t an item in your home that you think about very often. But when it wears out, breaks, or becomes loose, it can be a major inconvenience. Luckily, installing a new toilet seat is an easy, inexpensive project, and you don’t have to replace the entire toilet.

However, you may be surprised to learn that there are different-sized toilet seats. And for sanitary reasons, most stores will not allow you to return a seat after its purchased. That’s why it’s important to spend a few minutes to measure your existing toilet seat before heading out to buy a new one.

Before we get started, a quick word of caution. A porcelain toilet can crack or break if uneven weight is placed on it, so be sure not to stand or kneel on your toilet while following these instructions.

What you’ll need:

Measuring your toilet seat is a quick, simple job. All you’ll need is a:

  • Measuring tape
  • Pen/pencil and paper to write down measurements

The three points to measure on a toilet seat.

  1. Length: Determine if you have a round bowl or an elongated bowl. To do this, measure from the seat bolts (where the hinge of the seat attaches to the base) to the front of the bowl (make sure you’re measuring to the outside edge). Round bowls have about 16 to 17 inches for this measurement, while elongated bowls are 18 to 18.5 inches.
  2. Width: Find the width of the bowl by measuring the brim from side to side at its widest point. This will usually be 14 to 14.5 inches.
  3. Bolt spread: Measure and record the length between the two seat bolts. Most US toilets have a bolt measurement of 5.5 inches, so it’s important to know if yours is any different.

Shopping for a replacement toilet set

You can find new toilet seat at almost any home improvement or plumbing supplies store. Bring your measurements (not your old toilet seat) along and find a product that matches your needs.

While you’re shopping, you’ll also notice there’s a number of other options to choose from, including:

  • Material – The most common toilet seat materials are plastic, wood, cushioned vinyl, and resin.
  • Color – White is by far the most popular, but you can also find a wide range of colors.
  • Other features – From antimicrobial surfaces, slow-close cover, heater technology, you can go beyond your standard toilet seat.

Installing the new toilet seat

To replace your old toilet seat with the new one, you’ll need two extra tools: a flathead screwdriver and an adjustable wrench. Follow these steps.

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the caps that cover the seat bolts.
  • On the underside of the bowl, hold the nut with the adjustable wrench. Use the screwdriver to unscrew the bolts and remove the old toilet set.
  • Clean off the surface of the bowl.
  • Take your new toilet seat, line up the anchor bolts with the holes, push the seat down to the base, and hand-tighten the nuts.
  • Check to make sure the seat is centered, then use the adjustable wrench and screwdriver to tighten the nuts snug (avoid over tightening).

There you have it—a shiny, new, and functional toilet seat. While this repair is typically easy and painless, we know that issues can arise during a plumbing job. For help with any toilet issues, don’t hesitate to give Reichelt Plumbing Inc. a call at (219) 322-4906.


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