How To Change A toilet Seat

Posted by Anthony Jones in DIY Advice |
3 mins read
How To Change A toilet Seat


Replacing a toilet seat may seem like a minor home improvement task, yet it is one of the most fundamental foundations of bathroom aesthetics and comfort.

Whether you're dealing with an old toilet seat that's seen better days or simply want to upgrade to a newer toilet seat with modern features, we'll walk you through the process step-by-step. From understanding the vast selection of toilet seats available to mastering the installation of a new seat, we've got you covered.

Choosing the Right Toilet Seat

The journey to replacing a toilet seat begins with selecting the right one for your toilet. Toilet seats come in various shapes, materials, and features.

Seat Shape & Size

Most toilet seats are round or elongated. It is typically easy to determine which shape your seat should be by simply looking at the shape of your toilet bowl.

A toilet bowl that is circular needs a round toilet seat whereas an oval-shaped toilet bowl requires an elongated toilet seat.

How To Change A toilet Seat

To be more certain, there are 3 dimensions of the toilet seat which you can measure using a tape measure. You will need:

  1. The width and length of your old seat or the bowl at its widest point from back to front to ensure you get a standard size that fits most toilets. The standard measurement for the length of a round toilet seat is 16.5 inches (41cm). An elongated toilet seat is 18.5 inches (46cm).

  2. The final measurement you need is the distance between the bolt heads. When making this measurement, note that the distance between the bolts should be measured from the centres of the bolts, not the widest point. The standard measurement for this distance is 5.5 inches (13cm).


After knowing which size and shape seat to install, it's time to consider which seat material is best for you. Materials range from wood to plastic, with plastic being a popular choice for its durability and ease of cleaning. The most common plastic toilet seats are made of polypropylene (PP) or urea-formaldehyde (UF).

PP is the most common and least expensive. It is shiny and closely resembles plastic. Though it is highly durable, it is not resistant to scratches.

UF is a higher quality alternative to PP. Though it is plastic, it resembles ceramic and is resistant to scratches and yellowing.

Some newer toilet seats also come with convenient features like slow-closing hinges or quick-release buttons for easy cleaning.

One major consideration is choosing between slim toilet seats which lie flat against the toilet lip and standard seats which are raised above the lip. Committing to either option will have different implications for cleaning and comfort.

When choosing the look, it's easy to find a new seat that not only fits your toilet but also complements your bathroom's decor as several brands offer a range of styles. Consider changing up the contrast in your bathroom with dark hinge covers or going for an extra seamless look in matte white.

Tools and Materials You'll Need

Before you begin to replace your toilet seat, gather the following basic tools:

  • Adjustable wrench

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • Tape measure

  • Spray oil (for rusty bolts)

  • Small hacksaw (if bolts are too stuck)

  • Cleaning supplies

These tools are readily available at any hardware store if you don't already have them at home.

Removing the Old Toilet Seat

Locating and Removing the Bolts on Older Toilets

The first step in removing the old seat is to locate the bolts that secure the seat to the toilet. These are usually covered by plastic caps at the back of the seat. Gently lift or snap off these caps to expose the bolts. Using your flathead screwdriver and adjustable wrench, unscrew the nuts from the bolts.

If you encounter any resistance from old bolts that have become corroded or stuck, applying spray oil can help loosen them. For bolts that won't budge, a small hacksaw can be used to cut them off directly.

Easy Quick-Release Button Removal for Newer Toilet Seats

Most toilet seats require bolt caps to be removed to begin the process. However, more modern models of toilet seats have a new style of attachment and removal. Instead of seat bolts, newer toilets have quick-release buttons.

To locate the button, lift the seat and look for a metal button. It is typically located between the cover discs at the back of the seat. Holding down the button, lift the seat simultaneously to remove it.

Cleaning the toilet

Once the old seat is removed, it's an excellent opportunity to clean the area around the bolt holes on the toilet bowl. Ensuring a clean surface will help with the smooth installation of the new seat.

Installing the New Toilet Seat

Positioning The Seat

Carefully place the new toilet seat onto the toilet bowl, aligning the bolt holes on the seat with the holes on the bowl. Most newer toilet seats come with hinges pre-attached, simplifying this step.

Double check that your seat is properly aligned to the bowl by positioning it flush against the bowl equidistantly. The lip of the bowl should not be showing nor should the toilet seat be overhanging.

Securing the Seat

Insert the new plastic bolts through the aligned holes, attaching the plastic nuts from underneath. Initially hand-tighten these nuts to keep the seat in place, ensuring not to overtighten and risk cracking the bowl or seat.

For installing a newer quick-release toilet seat, fasten the screws with a manual screwdriver without overtightening. Do not place the cover domes on the discs yet.

Note that it is crucial to not tighten the nuts or screws extremely tight at this stage as they need to be loose to make adjustments to the seat alignment before finishing installing.

Final Adjustments

Before securing the seat fully, make sure it is correctly aligned with the toilet bowl. With the seat down, adjust by gently pushing around the bowl until the toilet seat is perfectly centered. Once satisfied with the positioning, use your adjustable wrench to tighten the nuts securely until the seat does not shift around.

In the case of modern quick-release seats, carefully remove the seat off the toilet when you are happy with the placement of the discs. Take care not to jolt the positioning of the discs while removing the toilet seat. You can do this by removing the toilet seat while it is down, reaching under the back of the seat to press the quick-release button and carefully lift it off.

With the discs in their final position, hold them down and fasten the screws until the discs do not shift around. Attach the cover domes onto the discs and finally attach the toilet seat once more, aligning the holes in the seat with the pins attached to the discs.

Final Touches

With your new toilet seat installed, it's a good idea to sit on it to ensure it's secure and does not wobble. It's normal for the nuts to loosen slightly after the first few uses, so check and retighten as needed.

Maintenance Tips

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your new toilet seat will extend its life and keep it looking fresh. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to avoid damaging the material.

Periodically check the tightness of the bolts to ensure the seat remains secure.


Replacing a toilet seat is a simple yet impactful home improvement project that enhances the comfort and appearance of your bathroom. With as little tools as a wrench, screwdriver and new nuts and bolts, you can install your new seat and begone with the old, letting your toilet breathe life into a comfortable and hygienic bathroom environment.

Whether you're upgrading for aesthetic reasons or replacing a worn-out toilet seat, even without a crown on your head, keeping some how-to's in your head will help you transform your toilet into a throne.

Remember to choose a seat that fits well, matches your bathroom's style, and meets your functional needs for the best results.

For styling tips, book a virtual appointment with our design consultant here.