How to change a toilet seat

Updated February 21, 2017

Just moved into a new place and find that going to the bathroom is like taking a ride on a mini roller coaster? Or maybe it's just that time has caught up with your old toilet seat, and styles and colors have changed, and it's time to change it for a new, more stylish one. Changing a toilet seat is one of the easiest things for even a novice DIYer to take on; it won't cost you much, and a new toilet seat can often make a dramatic change in the appearance of your bathroom.

Measure the length and width of your existing seat and take note of its shape. Toilet seats are available in a couple of different shapes: standard round or elongated. You want to replace your existing seat with the same shape and size, so it will fit your toilet bowl.

Go to the store and pick out a new toilet seat. If you haven't done this in a while (and who has?), you'll be amazed at all the styles you can choose from, so find one that fits your personality and your bathroom's d├ęcor.

At home, close the lid on your existing toilet seat and pop up the caps at the back of the seat that hold the seat onto the ceramic bowl. Depending on how old your toilet seat is, these screws may be metal or plastic and are held in place with a nut on the underside of the toilet bowl.

Using your fingers or your adjustable wrench (plastic bolts) or your screwdriver (metal bolts), unscrew the bolts, turning to your left or counter clockwise to loosen. You may have to grip the nut on the underside with your fingers or wrench to stop it from turning along with the bolt.

If the bolt won't loosen, spray some lubricant onto the bolt, wait a few minutes and try loosening it again. If it still won't let loose, you'll need to cut the bolt with your hacksaw.

Put masking tape on the toilet bowl, so it won't get scratched by the hacksaw, and cut off the bolts. Your new toilet seat will have new bolts, so you don't need to worry about saving these old ones.

Lift off your old toilet seat and take advantage of the opportunity to give your whole toilet rim a good cleaning.

Install your new seat by aligning the bolts with the holes at the back of the toilet bowl, then inserting them. The new seat may have some rubber gaskets to sit between the bolts and toilet bowl, if so, use them.

Attach the nuts onto the bottom of the bolts that are protruding through, and hand tighten them. Finally, use your wrench to give the bolts a final half turn to secure them.

Put the new plastic caps over the bolts, and your new toilet seat is installed.


If you want to be sure your new toilet seat will fit your toilet, you can always take your old seat with you to the home store. Most new toilet seats will come with plastic bolts. They're easier to work with and won't "freeze" in place. If the idea of working so closely to your toilet seat bothers you, you can always wear rubber gloves.


When you're tightening the bolts on your toilet seat, don't over tighten them-you could crack your ceramic toilet bowl.

Things You'll Need

  • Adjustable (crescent) wrench
  • Screwdriver (usually slot or Phillips cross-head)
  • Tape measure
  • Spray lubricant (optional)
  • Small hacksaw (probably not)
  • Masking tape
  • Rubber gloves (if you're squeamish)
  • New toilet seat (available at home or plumbing supply stores)
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