Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Quick Fix: Replacing Your Toilet Seat

One of the secrets of home improvement is knowing that a project doesn't have to be huge (or expensive!) to have a big impact... as in the rest of life, sometimes "it's the little things".

With this in mind, our series of "Quick Fix" posts deal with small projects that don't require a lot of time or expertise, but hopefully have the potential to make your daily life a little brighter. Today's topic: how to get rid of that old, disgusting toilet seat in your bathroom.

There comes a time in the life of every toilet seat when it becomes so stained and mildewed that it defies salvation; when this happens, it's best to put aside bleach and sponge and simply put the poor thing out of its misery. Fortunately, this can be done quickly and humanely in less than 15 minutes and for less than $15.

The only feature it's missing is that fuzzy
cover like my grandma has on her toilet seat.
Also, you should think of replacing your toilet seat not as a chore but as an opportunity, because there have been wonderful advances in toilet seat technology. For example, we opted to replace our old seat with the Bemis NextStep ($43 on Amazon), which boasts quick-release fasteners (for easy cleaning), a built-in potty seat (which magnetically attaches underneath the lid when not in use), and "Whisper-Close" hinges (reducing the likelihood of bruised knuckles when our little ones use their sweet new high-tech potty seat).

Whichever brand and style you choose, make sure you get the correct size. Toilet seats come in two basic sizes: round, and oval or "elongated". Residential seats tend to be round, while oval is more like what you'd find in a public restroom or hotel, although it's possible you might have one in your home.

Hmm... I wonder how Joy feels
about me posting pictures of
our toilet on the Internet.
I bet she's not a fan.
Once you've made your choice, removing your old seat and installing the new one is easy. Toilet seats are typically secured with plastic bolts, so a screwdriver, an adjustable wrench, and the willingness to bear-hug a commode are all you need to make the switch. Note that you might have to remove a plastic cap to expose the screws on top, while the nuts should be accessible from underneath the bowl. (They often are also made of plastic, and may be more like wingnuts that you can unscrew by hand. Be careful not to snap them, especially if the plastic has become old and brittle.)

That's it! While this little project may seem like a trivial thing to spend your time and money on, keep in mind that your toilet is quite literally something you every day. In my experience, it's little improvements like these that quickly add up to making your home feel like a palace.

(See how I'm abstaining from a cheap "throne" reference here? Just a little something we call class.)


  1. You can start measuring from the wall behind the toilet to the center of the bolts at the base of the toilet. If your existing toilet has four bolts, measure to the center of the back bolts. This measurement is known as the rough-in measurement. Toilet Guide

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