Replacing an old or broken toilet seat is a fairly straightforward process and one that usually begins with a quick trip to the hardware store. However, before grabbing your keys and running out to the car, take a moment to ask yourself: “what type of toilet of toilet seat do I have?” Do you have elongated toilet seats? Do some bathrooms have round toilet seats, padded toilet seats, or standard toilet seats? Do you perhaps have a heated toilet seat?
If you need a new seat for your throne, but don't know the answer to this question, don't worry – after years of performing bathroom renovations – we do. We also recommend checking out how to clean toilet seat while you replace your old toilet seat.
Toilet Seat Sizes: Round Toilet Seat or Elongated Toilet Seats?
Nearly all toilet seats are designed to fit one of two toilet bowl sizes, round or elongated. To find out which size you have, grab a tape measure and head to the bathroom. Once there, measure the distance between the front rim of the toilet bowl and the midpoint between the toilet seat mounting holes or where the toilet seat bolts are (seat post holes.) If the measurements come out to 16.5 inches, then you know you have a rounded toilet seat. Similarly, if the distance turns out to be 18.5 inches, you have an elongated toilet seat.
Although round and elongated toilets follow a standard measurement regarding length, some vary somewhat when it comes to width. Because of this, it's important to take a minute and measure the width starting from the widest point. Elongated seats typically measure 14 1/4 inches in width, while round seats are slightly wider, coming in at 15 inches.
Without a doubt, the most critical part of purchasing a new toilet seat is determining if you need a round or elongated toilet seat. However, as we will see in the following sections, there are still a few more items to consider.
Note: A round toilet seat won't work with elongated bowls and vice versa, so make sure you purchase the right one.
Check What Kind Of Toilet You Have
While most toilets will fit into the standard round or elongated category, not all do. Before setting out for a new toilet seat, make sure you know what kind of toilet you have.
Specialty Toilets or Non-Standard Toilet Seats
Some toilets are specially designed to accommodate children, elderly individuals, or disabled people. How these toilets are constructed varies case by case, and in most instances, standard round seats will not fit. If you have a specialty toilet that needs a new seat, consider contacting the manufacturer.
Square And Rectangular Toilets
Some toilets employ a modern design to be more visually appealing. Unfortunately, these types of toilets don't usually follow a standard design, and you may have to look at many different types of toilet seats before you find one that works for you.
Not all toilets are made out of porcelain, and some feature a metal construction or outer coating for design or aesthetic reasons. In this case, you may have to look at alternative toilet seat materials than the standard plastics ones to find a good match.
Tankless toilets are becoming increasingly more popular because of their simple yet elegant look. However, most tankless toilet seats are slightly different in design than elongated or round seats, and you may have to order one online if you wish to replace your old one.
Standard Round Or Elongated Bowl Toilet
As we have covered in sufficient depth already, an elongated or round toilet is by far the most common. Chances are, the toilet in your bathroom will fall into this category. It is worth noting that tall toilets almost always fit into this category as well.
How To Replace A Toilet Seat
Once you've correctly identified what kind of toilet seat you need, it's time to remove the old seat and install the new one.
Step 1: Remove Toilet Seat
The first step involves removing the two mountings bolts to free the seat from the toilet. Once the bolts have been successfully removed, lift the toilet seat and any clips or bolt covering up and off the bowl.
Step 2: Clean Toilet Surface
If it's been a while since you've changed your toilet seat, certain areas on the toilet surface, especially the bolt holes and area under the bolt covers, may have become noticeably dirty. This is a perfect moment to use some bleach and other cleaning products and give the area a good wipe down.
Step 3: Install New Toilet Seat
Both elongated and round seats will have the same bolt spread, meaning the install process is the same for both. Simply position the new seat over the toilet bowl so that the new toilet seat hardware can be placed into the toilet bolt holes. If you purchased the wrong toilet seat (like you have a Toto toilet and you bought an American Standard toilet seat), it should be very apparent, as the edges of the toilet bowl won't line up with the outside edge of the toilet bowl.
Common Toilets Seat FAQS
Now that we have gone over the basics of choosing and installing a new toilet seat, it's a good time to cover three of the most frequently asked questions we receive about toilet seats. Especially for Toto toilets.
Elongated seats vs. round seats. Which is better?
Neither is truly better than the other and typically round seats are used in smaller bathrooms as they take up less space. Conversely, elongated seats are often preferred in more spacious bathrooms as they provide a more contemporary look and are slightly easier to clean
Who makes the best toilet seats?
While there are several quality seat manufacturers, the most trusted are usually also the same companies that also make the best flushing toilets.
- American Standard
- Bathe Royale
What are toilet seats made out of?
Most seats are made out of one of four different materials:
- Thermoset Plastic (lasts 2-3 years)
- Thermoplastic (lasts 5-7 years)
- Plastic Resin (lasts 2-4 years)
- Molded Wood (lasts 5-7 years)
- Bamboo (lasts 2-3 years)
- Solid Wood (lasts 2-3 years)