Installing a Toilet Seat (How To Guide)

Contrary to popular opinion, replacing or installing a toilet seat is a relatively easy affair. All you need are some basic tools and you’ll be able to replace your toilet seat at home in no time. Whether your current seat is too old, broken, or you just want a new style, use our simple guide to install a new toilet seat quickly and easily.

This article will break down the different steps involved in removing and replacing a toilet seat. Read on to review everything you need to know!

seat removal and install

Installing a Toilet Seat – Tools Needed

plumbing tools for bathroom

If you want your toilet seat removal and installation process to be as straightforward as possible, it’s helpful to gather all of the materials and tools needed for the job before you begin. These items include:

  • The new toilet seat (see additional tips in step 2!)
  • Small hacksaw (for the old seat)
  • Socket wrench (for the old seat)
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Putty knife (for the old toilet seat)
  • Basin wrench or Tongue-and-groove pliers
  • Protective gloves
  • Tape measure
  • Knee pads
  • Protective goggles

With all the tools and materials in place, you are now ready to remove your old toilet seat and replace it with a new one. If you’re installing a toilet seat on a new toilet that doesn’t already have a seat, you can skip stepping 4.

1. Measure the Toilet Seat

hands holding out a measuring tape

The first important step is to confirm your toilet’s measurements and ensure you have the correct replacement item. For this step, use a tape measure to get the correct size and shape for your toilet. Your new toilet seat should line up with these measurements.

In particular, check the distance between the bolt holes in the toilet bowl. Then, ensure that the distance between the bolts on the replacement seat is the same, otherwise, you won’t be able to install your new seat.

2. Pick the Ideal Toilet Seat

Person making a frame with the hands

Note that toilet seats are available in two different styles: rounded ones and elongated ones. The style of the seat should match your toilet’s shape you can’t use a rounded seat on an elongated toilet bowl, and vice versa. Once you’ve confirmed the right style, you can consider additional features. For example, ‘whisper close’ seats feature special pads at the bottom to prevent them from slamming on the toilet bowl.

You should also keep in mind that toilet seats come in different colors. Traditionally, people select a toilet seat that matches the toilet bowl. Most toilet bowls and seats come in the standard white, but you can also pick a seat with a contrasting color like blue to deliver a bold statement.

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Check out our full toilet seat review for our top 8 toilet seat picks!

3. Remove the Old Seat

hand unscrewing toilet seat

Now that you’ve picked your new seat and confirmed it will fit on your toilet, it’s time to remove the old seat. In most cases, toilet seats are attached with fittings held together by two bolts. These bolts are normally hidden at the back of the seat by two protective caps.

To access these bolts, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the plastic caps. Keep in mind that the process may be harder for older seats that have been around for a while, so you may need some elbow grease to remove a particularly old cap.

Once the caps are off, you’ll see the top of the bolts holding your seat in place. The bolts will be sticking out of the toilet, held firmly in place by two nuts. You’ll need to unscrew these bolts to remove the old toilet seat. While unscrewing the bolts with your screwdriver, use the pliers to hold the nuts in place. After you’ve unscrewed the bolts, you should be able to lift away the old toilet seat, leaving room to install the new seat.

There may be some minor differences depending on your specific toilet seat, but you should be able to remove almost any toilet seat using the steps detailed above.

4. Fitting the New Toilet Seat

With the old seat out of the way, it is now time to install the new one. Typically, as long as you purchased a new seat for the replacement, it should come with all the fittings you’ll need. Start by assembling these fittings so they’re ready to go when you place the toilet seat. In most instances, the package features a set of instructions to guide you through the assembly.

Next, attach the new fittings to your toilet, using your hands to tighten the nuts on the bolts. We advise against over-tightening at this point because you may need to make adjustments after you test the seat.

Once the fittings have been installed, place the new toilet seat over your toilet, lining up the fittings to the back of the toilet seat. Set the seat such that it is central to the bowl, and be sure to quickly test the seat and make sure it’s lined up correctly. You can adjust the nuts as needed to tighten the seat or shift the position. Once you’re satisfied with the new seat on the toilet, you can finish tightening the nuts so everything is held firmly in place. You’ll want to have either pliers or a wrench handy to finish this last step.

Then, that’s it! You’ve installed your new toilet seat!

Safety Steps Before Changing a Toilet Seat

Lady plumber holding a wrench

Before diving into this DIY project, we do want to highlight a few hygiene precautions to keep in mind

  • Clean Before and During the Process: we recommend doing a quick wipe down of your toilet and particularly the seat before you remove it. Then, after you’ve removed the old seat, do an additional cleaning of the exposed toilet bowl surface using an anti-bacterial spray before you install the new seat.
  • Wear Protective Gear: throughout the process, you can wear gloves to help keep your hands clean especially while you’re working on parts connected to the toilet. Don’t forget to wash your gloves after using them as well so they’re clean for your next use!
  • Wash Up After: Once you’ve installed the seat, it’s always a good idea to use an anti-bacterial handwash to keep your hands clean. You can also spray any tools you used with anti-bacterial cleaner as well so they’ll be ready to go for your next DIY adventure.
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Installing a Toilet Seat vs. Bidet Seat

Not everyone can tell the difference between a bidet and a regular toilet. Especially now, you can change your normal toilet into a bidet by installing a bidet toilet seat. Essentially, a bidet is a bathroom fixture that uses a spray of water to help with cleaning after using the restroom. It functions the same way as toilet paper, except that it uses water instead of paper. Toilets without bidets have no self-cleaning technology and instead rely on toilet paper or other materials for self-cleaning after use.

Another major difference between a normal toilet seat and a bidet seat is installation. In general, the setup of a bidet seat is relatively complicated:

  1. First, you will have to connect the bidet seat to a water supply valve to provide the water for spraying.
  2. Then, you’ll need to connect the bidet seat to an electric outlet to facilitate warm water spraying and air drying.
  3. You’ll finally need to test all of these connections before using your bidet, otherwise, it may not function properly. You also need to complete the same standard toilet seat installation steps in addition to the bidet seat-specific tasks.

As you can see, bidet seat installation requires several additional steps compared to the normal toilet seat which doesn’t need additional setup after installation. Furthermore, when it’s time to replace or repair a bidet seat, you’ll have to factor in the water and electricity supplies when removing the seat. Depending on how complicated your seat is, you may need a professional to help with any repairs.

Ultimately, it’s up to the user whether the hygiene and environmental benefits of a bidet are worth the added installation and repair requirements for a bidet seat compared to a normal toilet seat.

Closing Remarks

We hope this article helped show how easy it is to remove and replace your toilet seat on your own. Provided you have all the right tools and materials in place, installing a new toilet seat is a project that you can complete within a day or even an hour.

We hope that you find this guide useful the next time you plan to install a new toilet seat!

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