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How To Install A Toilet Seat

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If your family is anything like ours, you probably have experienced a worn-out toilet seat or two. This condition can be a problem, particularly when you’re entertaining guests. In a pinch – or to avoid one – you can always cover the worn spot with a decal of a fish or, perhaps, a bird. Whatever you do, don’t select one depicting a snake getting ready to strike.

The best solution, however, is to replace the seat. In doing so, there are few important decisions to be made. If you have a designer toilet all you need to do is tell the counter person at the plumbing store the brand and model of the toilet. Others need only concern themselves with whether their toilet bowl is round or elongated (oval or oblong), and what color is needed for a perfect match. Better seats are made from molded plastic as opposed to lesser quality vinyl or plastic covered wood. The solid plastic ones will cost a bit more, but will last much longer. Also, we think that the plastic bolts are best. Unlike seats that are attached with metal bolts, plastic ones never rust and are always easy to remove. In some cases, the bolts that hold an old toilet seat have to be removed with a hacksaw. The time to think about this problem is when purchasing the toilet originally or when purchasing a replacement.

If you are considering purchasing a new toilet, remember that white and almond are the two most common colors of replacement seats.

As simple as it sounds, finding your replacement toilet seat often is more difficult than its installation. On most seats the tops of the bolts that hold the seat in place are hidden beneath covers in protrusions at the back of the seat-hinge assembly. These covers can be pried open easily with a screwdriver. A close inspection will reveal small notches that are designed to accept the tip of a standard screwdriver blade. All you have to do is insert the blade and gently twist. The screw head within is usually quite large and will require the use of the largest screwdriver that you own. The nuts that hold these screws are located on the underside of the rim and sometimes are located in a recess. In cases such as this, it is wise to use a socket wrench when the nut and bolt are made of metal. This reduces the chance of damage that can result when the wrench being used doesn’t properly grip the nut, slips and cracks the bowl or tank. For plastic all that is needed is a pair of pliers when the connection is more than finger-tight.

Once the seat is removed, cleaning is in order. Build-up around the mounting holes should be scraped away and sanitized. Incidentally, a clean connection can be a stronger one.

The mounting bolts are quite small as compared to the holes through which they go. This allows quite a bit of adjustment latitude. Be careful not to place the seat too far to the rear of the holes. In this position the seat is very close to the tank and may not stay up when opened. If this occurs, loosen the nuts slightly, adjust the seat away from the tank and retighten them. Test to ensure that the seat will stay up.

There are many high-quality, form-fitted toilet seats available. These “body contoured” seats are more comfortable to sit on and are more streamlined. There is even a seat that flushes when it is closed.