Replacing A Toilet Seat

Replacing a toilet seat is an easy quick bathroom repair.

Replacing a toilet seat is not the most complicated home repair project, but it can be a messy procedure if some preplanning is not done. First of all, a replacement toilet seat should already be acquired before removing the old one. Most department stores with a plumbing or home improvement area should offer a variety of new toilet seats. Hardware and home improvement stores may have an even wider selection to choose from, so you may want to do some comparison-shopping. Replacement toilet seats range from inexpensive but functional plastic to state-of-the-art foam padding with electrical heating elements. Some lids may swing freely while others are controlled by hydraulic levers to avoid sudden slams. You should try to match style for style- some toilet seats are round while others are oval or elongated. One difference between commercial toilet seats and those sold for home use is the front of the seat itself. Commercial toilet seats often eliminate the front portion in order to keep the rest of the seat more sanitary. Home toilet seats are generally solid circles or ovals, assuming that the few regular users are more conscientious.

Once you've acquired a new toilet seat, the next important step is to clean the area around the old toilet seat and clear away any objects around the toilet itself. Working with a toilet seat can be awkward, so it pays to have a clear workspace. Cleaning the area around the bolts and the rim will make the removal of the seat a little less odious. Wearing rubber gloves should help, as long as the gloves do not impede the use of basic hand tools. Standard latex gloves should be sufficient. Plan out a route from the toilet to the disposal area in order to expedite the removal process. No one wants to see an old toilet seat remain in public view for very long.

Now that you have a replacement seat and a clean, clear workspace, it's time to remove the old toilet seat. For this project, you will need a standard flat screwdriver, a pair of vise grips or small adjustable crescent wrench, and a towel for quick cleaning. Here's how to remove the old seat quickly and safely:



1. Most toilet seats are connected to the rim by two plastic or metal bolts located in the back of the seat assembly. The tops of these bolts may be hidden under plastic caps. Use a flat screwdriver or your fingers to pry off the caps covering the anchor bolts. Observe the bolts to determine if a flat or Phillip's head screwdriver would be needed and locate the appropriate tool. Most likely a long flat notch will extend all the way across the top of these bolts.

2. Look under the rim for the extension of these bolts. There should be one bolt on each side of a ceramic ridge behind the toilet bowl. At the top of the bolt should be a plastic or metal nut pressed snugly against the ceramic. Use a pair of vise grips, an adjustable crescent wrench or a proper open-ended wrench to hold this nut in place.

3. While holding the wrench or vise grips securely in one hand, use the screwdriver to loosen the bolt. Turn the bolt counterclockwise until it become loose enough to use your hand. Unhook the wrench or vise grips and continue to remove the nut from the bolt by twisting it counterclockwise. Once the bolt is free, pull it completely out of the seat assembly. Repeat this process with the second bolt. The loosened seat may make the second bolt removal a little trickier, but not unmanageable.

4. Once both anchoring bolts have been removed, there should be anything else holding the seat to the toilet bowl. The entire toilet seat should be easily lifted away and disposed of properly. It is never a good idea to leave old plumbing parts in areas frequented by people or pets, so be sure to get rid of the toilet seat as soon as possible and sanitize the areas the seat may have touched on its way out.

5. Replacing the old seat should now be a matter of following the standard instructions included with the new toilet seat. The toilet seat package should contain two new anchor bolts, a pair of self-tightening nuts, some washers for protecting the ceramic and the seat assembly itself. The seat is placed over the toilet bowl and the hinge is centered over the anchor holes in the ceramic behind the bowl. The anchor bolts and washers are then placed through the hinge and the nuts are threaded from the bottom. Once the nuts have reached the ceramic, a few twists with a screwdriver should secure the seat to the bowl.

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