How to Quickly Measure for Your New Toilet Seat

Toilet with toilet seat down

Since it’s not every day you shop for a toilet seat replacement, you may be unaware that there are multiple standard toilet seat sizes. To make sure you pick a new toilet seat that will fit, take all the proper measurements before you head to the home improvement store. After all, they frown upon you bringing your own toilet seat from home for comparison.

How to Measure for a New Toilet Seat

You need to measure three points:

  • Find the bolts where the toilet seat attaches to the bowl and measure the distance between them. For your reference, the standard measurement for US toilet seat bolts is 5.5 inches.
  • Measure the width of the bowl at its widest point. Be sure to place your measuring tape on the outside of the brim for an accurate dimension.
  • Measure the length of the bowl from between the seat bolts to the outside edge of the front of the bowl. If you have a round bowl, this dimension should be about 16.5 inches. If you have an elongated bowl, the measurement should be around 18 to 18.5 inches.

Choose a Toilet Seat Material and Style

Armed with your measurements, you’re ready to hit the hardware store. Once there, you’ll realize you have many toilet seat materials and styles to choose from.

The most common material is high-impact plastic or a plastic coating over composite wood. You can find many colors and styles, from traditional white to classy black to spunky prints and patterns. If you want your toilet to make a statement, you certainly have the option to do so.

Wood is another common toilet seat material. Natural wood, bamboo, and medium-density fiberboard are popular options. Wood is naturally hygienic, so the surface remains cleaner than your average plastic toilet seat. However, if you forget to dry the seat promptly after cleaning, it could sustain water damage.

Specialty materials, including cushions and elevated seats, are suitable for people recovering from childbirth or surgery. Cushioned toilet seats are nice and soft, and elevated versions make it easier to stand up. These materials also feel warmer to the touch than wood or plastic, but they tend to split and crack over time, requiring more frequent replacements. Since they’re typically reserved for temporary use anyway, this may not be a problem for you.

Install Your New Toilet Seat

Once you’ve selected and purchased a new toilet seat, the final step is to install it.

  • Remove the old toilet seat: Pry open the seat bolt caps with a screwdriver and unscrew the bolts. If they don’t seem to come loose, you may need to hold the nut on the underside of the toilet bowl steady with one hand. With the bolts removed, lift the seat off of the toilet.
  • Prepare the surface for the new seat: Thoroughly clean the toilet bowl and the newly exposed post holes with a multipurpose cleaner.
  • Install the new toilet seat: Align the seat bolts with the post holes and push them through. Loosely screw on the nuts from the underside. Center the seat on the bowl and then tighten the nuts snugly. Snap the bolt caps into place, and your job is done!

Let Mr. Rooter® Plumbing Help You with Toilet Issues

Measuring for and installing a new toilet seat is something you can easily perform yourself. However, if you suffer from a badly clogged toilet or need a replacement installed, leave these tasks to Mr. Rooter Plumbing.

For answers to your remaining questions about measuring for a new toilet seat, or to schedule plumbing services, please contact Mr. Rooter Plumbing today.