How to Replace a (Broken) Toilet Seat and Lid

Your toilet seat is probably the last thing in your house that comes to mind when thinking about what needs to be replaced. Toilet seats are built to be sturdy, so they don’t need to be replaced often. Accidents happen, though, and sometimes toilet seats break or crack.

When this happens, you’re probably wondering if it is worth it to try to fix or if it is better to just buy a new one.

How to Replace a (Broken) Toilet Seat and Lid

How Can a Toilet Seat Lid Be Fixed?

The first question you probably ask yourself when you notice your toilet seat is broken, is can I fix it? The answer is yes, you can fix it. If you have some super glue laying around, you can take the seat off the hinges and glue it back together.

Once you apply the glue, the seat will need to be clamped while it dries. This will take several hours, so it is best to let it sit overnight and reinstall in the morning.

Now, I’m sure you are wondering if it is worth your time to try to fix the seat, or if you should just buy a new one. Replacing the seat completely will save you a lot of time. All you need to do is measure the seat, buy a new one, then swap the seats on the toilet.

In most cases, it will be a lot easier and time-efficient to buy a new seat over fixing your current one.

How to Replace a Toilet Seat

With that out of the way, let’s take a look at how to replace a toilet seat, whether that means installing a brand new one, or taking off your old one and putting it back on after a repair.

Step 1: Measure Your Current Seat

It is important to know what size your toilet seat is before buying a new one. If your bowl is round and you buy an elongated seat, it won’t fit right. Take a few minutes to measure your current toilet seat to determine what kind you need to buy.

First, measure the distance between the bolts that hold the seat to the toilet bowl. The standard distance is five and a half inches but can vary slightly. You will also need to measure the width of the toilet seat at the widest part. This will give you a little bit of an idea of which kind of seat you will need to buy. A round seat will be a little bit wider than an elongated seat.

The last thing you need to measure is the length of the seat. Start at the back, placing the measuring tape between the bolts, and measure to the very front of the seat. The standard length of a round seat will be about sixteen and a half inches, and an elongated seat will measure about eighteen and a half inches.

Step 2: Choose a New Seat

When you are looking for a new toilet seat, keep in mind that they can come in different materials, shapes, and sizes. Most seats are made out of just plastic, but other materials include wood, bamboo, and enamel.

Pay attention to the size and shape of the new seat you are purchasing. If your bowl measured round, choose a round seat. If your bowl measured elongated, choose an elongated seat. Keep your measurements with you while you shop so you can reference them if needed.

Some toilet seats even have special options that you can choose from. If you select a raised seat or a heated seat, there will be additional installation requirements to get the seat on and working properly.

Toilet seats also come in a variety of colors. If you would like, you can choose a colored toilet seat to match the theme of your bathroom. You can choose to be bold and pick a black toilet seat for your white toilet. A toilet seat doesn’t need to be boring, you can make it colorful.

Step 3: Remove the Old Seat

Before removing the old seat, clean it and the rim of the bowl. When that is finished, locate the bolts behind the toilet seat and if there are covers, pop them open. Start by loosening, by twisting counterclockwise, the nuts underneath the toilet from the bolts that hold the toilet seat on.

Once the bolts are loosened and the nuts are off, remove the bolts and lift the toilet seat off the hinges. If possible, recycle your old toilet seat. You can do this by placing the toilet seat in your regular recycling bin. If your city does not collect recycling, you can put the lid in your normal trash can.

Step 4: Position the New Seat

Start by removing the new seat from the packaging. Place the seat on the rim of the toilet, making sure to align the holes for the bolts.

You can use a level to make sure the toilet seat is level if you would like.

Step 5: Attach the New Seat

With the toilet seat in the right position, feed the bolts through the holes of the toilet seat and the toilet bowl. If there are washers included in the hardware that came with the toilet seat, put these on the bolts before you put the nuts on.

Attach the nuts to the bolts and tighten them with a wrench, turning clockwise. Once the nuts are on, if there are plastic covers over the bolts, snap them shut. Mess with the lid a little bit to make sure it is secure and sturdy.

How Does the Process Differ Between Seats with Plastic and Metal Hinges?

While the above gives you a general overview of the process, it doesn’t talk about the minor differences between working with plastic and metal hinges. Let’s take a look at those below.

Plastic

Removing plastic bolts is simple. All you need to do is unscrew the nut with a wrench while holding the bolt still. Once the nut is off, remove the bolt.

Metal

There are two different ways to remove a metal hinged toilet seat. You can unscrew the nut with a deep-well socket, or you can use a drill to loosen the bolts.

Using a Deep-Well Socket

To use a deep-well socket for removal, use a 1/2-inch deep socket, which will fit over the long bolt and grip the nut. Turn the socket counterclockwise to loosen the nut. Twist as hard as you can, if the bolt breaks from corrosion, that will be completely fine.

If the nut won’t budge, try covering it with WD-40. Wait 15 minutes for the solution to set in, then try to unscrew the nut again. If the nut still won’t move, you will need to use the drill method.

Using a Drill

Use a 1/16-inch bit to drill a hole into the bolt where the nut and bolt meet. Keep enlarging the hole, if necessary, until the bolt weakens and breaks. Use a socket wrench in-between changing sizes to see if you are able to break the bolt.

Mistakes to Avoid, Tips & Tricks

Finally, here are some tips worth keeping in mind as you go through the process:

  • Before buying a new seat, measure to make sure you buy the right size.
  • Make sure to have WD-40 handy, because it will help loosen nuts that are stuck.
  • Check to make sure you have the necessary tools before starting the process.

Summary

While it is possible to fix a broken toilet seat, it is usually not worth the hassle.

It is best to buy a new toilet seat and replace it, saving you a lot of time. Follow the instructions above and the replacement will be a breeze.