Picture of an Unwrapped New Toilet Seat, Showing Hardware and Installation Instructions Bag.

How To Replace a Toilet Seat, Install a New One

Toilet seats today, with typical to moderate use and no abuse, rarely break or otherwise fail.  Still though, you might wish to change up the one in your bathroom.  Why?  Just to get a different look or style, an oak seat to replace a plastic perch, or to replace one that slams with a quieter, no slam, damped hinge model. So in this piece, we cover how to replace a toilet seat with a brand new, fresh one.

Whatever the reason(s), changing out the toilet seat has become quite the popular thing to do in a home, and why not?  Commode seats come in lots of colors, textures, materials, and the standard shapes (circular or oblong).  Furthermore, you can find a good quality model for under $50.  Plus, it will last for years besides.  So upgrading the throne is quite the common home-improvement task these days.  Fortunately, doing so is pretty easy; even for the novice home owner or renter.  A good thing for those who like to keep things fresh in their home decors.  In fact, we recently replaced our stock toilet seat with a no slam version.  Thus in this article, we’ll detail how we did it with both text and pictures.





How To Replace a Toilet Seat: Helpful Tools

In today’s do-it-yourself home maintenance climate, replacement commode seats have been designed and packaged such that most anyone that can use a screwdriver and wrench can install a new seat without difficulty.  The necessary hardware has been condensed as well as the set of needed tools.  Most toilet seats these days require no more than a strait or Phillips screwdriver for complete setup, and possibly an adjustable wrench, for removing an older seat and tightening the new seat down.

Picture of a Typical Toilet with Elongated Bowl Seat Being Replaced.
Typical Toilet with Elongated Bowl Seat Being Replaced.

Determine Size and Shape of Current Seat

Our toilet features the oblong bowl shape, and the seat is 18.5 inches from the securing nylon bolts in the back, up to the front of the seat.  Measure to the edge of the seat itself; not to the lid’s edge, as the lid is typically smaller than the seat.  Plus, it’s the seat itself that you want to assure will completely cover the toilet rim, and not jut out too far beyond it. Do this prior to opening the new toilet seat carton, to avoid having to return the seat to the store where you bought it and pay a restocking fee, should it turn out to be an incorrect shape or length.

Picture of a Brand New Mayfair No Slam Commode Seat.
Brand New Mayfair No Slam Commode Seat.

Buy the New Commode Seat

Take a ruler to the store with you, to verify correct measurements of the seat you’d like to buy.





Read All Included Instructions 

Be sure you well-understand an overview of this process, before removing any bolts and nuts.  Reading first, will better prepare you for any problems that, had you not read the instructions previously, you might not expect or know how to work around.

Picture of an Old Toilet Seat Being Removed, Showing the Nylon Bolts that Secure It.
Old Toilet Seat Being Removed, Showing the Nylon Bolts that Secure It.

Remove the Old Toilet Seat to Continue with How To Replace a Toilet Seat

Once you return home with the new seat, one more time, verify correct measurements.  Often, new seats include a ruler, printed somewhere on the packaging.  Go back to the store and get the right sized seat if you can’t verify correct measurements in this step.

Then, loosen the old toilet seat bolts either with a screwdriver, or by unscrewing the nuts holding them in, on the underside of the toilet.  Older seats may include brass-coated nuts, washers, and bolts, which can corrode over time, making unscrewing of the nut difficult without a wrench.  You may even have to drill out the very stubborn ones.  Today’s nylon nut and bolt sets that accompany most toilet seats nowadays however, do not rust or corrode, and typically the mating nylon nut can be removed with just the fingers.

With the old commode seat taken off, this is a great time to thoroughly clean around the rim; particularly in the areas where it was previously secured; near the bolt holes.

Picture of an Unwrapped New Toilet Seat, Showing Hardware and Installation Instructions Bag.
Unwrapped New Toilet Seat, Showing Hardware and Installation Instructions Bag.

Unwrap Packaging on New Seat

Be careful during this step, not to drop any loose hardware accompanying the new seat.  Typically though, manufacturers put all hardware in sealed plastic bags, along with the installation instructions.  But beware of falling screws and nuts as you remove the shrink wrap from the new fixture. Typically, there are four pieces of hardware; two toilet seat bolts and two mating nuts, as pictured next.  Some seats may include sealing washers, but many feature a sealing surface, built right into the nuts themselves, eliminating the need for any separate washers.

Picture of the Mayfair Stay Tite Seat Fastenig System Nuts and Bolts.
Mayfair Stay Tite Seat Fastenig System Nuts and Bolts




Install the New One, to Continue with How To Replace a Toilet Seat

Align the new seat’s hinge holes immediately above the corresponding holes in the toilet bowl itself.  Then, insert the included bolts, following any special instructions included with the new fixture.  The bolts may be inserted into the hinges in surprising ways, depending on the brand.  In the Mayfair seat we installed, the plastic bolt heads actually snap into the hinge sockets.

Picture of a Newly Installed No Slam Commode Seat, Showing Seat Lid Slowly Closing.
Newly Installed No Slam Commode Seat, Showing Seat Lid Slowly Closing.

Test New Seat for Tightness and Proper Opening and Closing

Of course, sit on it.  Move around, shifting your weight into various configurations.  Verify that the new fixture is rigid enough to hold you without too much give, and that the hinges remain tight while you weight shift.  For no slam models, nudge the lid into closing and verify that it falls slowly, and in fact, does not slam down.  If the seat works as expected, then you’re done. Enjoy.

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References for How To Replace a Toilet Seat

  1. Get New Toilet Seats at Walmart.com

Revision History

  • 2017-01-27: Revised tag list.
  • 2015-12-01: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2014-12-15: Tweaked the content.
  • 2014-11-10: Originally published.
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