Replacing a Toilet Seat

The easiest toilet repair task is replacing the lid and seat. There are so many styles of replacement seats available that you should have no trouble finding one to match any bathroom color scheme or motif. Most modern toilets are manufactured in two standard sizes, and replacement seats are made to fit them.

Once you have the right size seat, remove the old one. Remove the two nuts on the hinge and lift your old toilet seat up and out. A common problem is that the nuts securing the toilet seat may be rusted or corroded. The nuts on some toilet seats are recessed and practically inaccessible, making the job even more difficult.


A new toilet seat can be installed by inserting the two bolts, slipping on the washers, and tightening the nuts. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts or the seat might be hard to remove later.

What’s the solution? If you can get to the fasteners relatively easily, apply some penetrating oil to help loosen them. Give the oil plenty of time to soak in. Use a wrench, or, if you can’t reach the nuts with a regular wrench, a deep socket wrench. Be sure you don’t use too much force; if the wrench slips off a stubborn nut, it could strike and crack the tank of the bowl or anything else it happens to hit.

Sink, Tub and Drain Troubleshooting Guide
Problem
Possible Cause
Solution
Water in tank runs constantly
Float ball or rod is misaligned. Bend float rod carefully to move ball so it will not rub against side of tank.
Float ball contains water. Empty or replace float ball.
Float ball not rising high enough. Carefully bend float rod down, but only slightly.
Tank ball not sealing properly at bottom of tank. Remove any corrosion from lip of valve seat. Replace tank ball if worn. Adjust lift wire and guide.
Ballcock valve does not shut off water. Replace washers in ballcock assembly or, if necessary, replace entire assembly.
Toilet does not flush or flushes inadequately
Drain is clogged. Remove blockage in drain.
Not enough water in tank. Raise water in tank by bending float rod up slightly.
Tank ball falls back before enough water leaves tank. Move guide up so tank ball can rise higher.
Leak where tank joins toilet bowl. Tighten nuts on spud pipe; replace spud washers, if necessary.
Ports around bowl rim clogged. Ream out residue from ports.
Tank whines while filling
Ballcock valve not operating properly. Replace washers or install new ballcock assembly
Waster supply is restricted. Check shutoff to make sure it's completely open. Check for scale or corrosion at entry into tank on valve.
Moisture around fixture
Condensation. Install foam liner, tank cover, drip catcher or temperature valve.
Leak at flange wax seal. Remove toilet and install new wax ring seal.
Leak at bowl-tank connection. Tighten spud pipe nuts; replace worn spud washers, if necessary.
Leak at water inlet connection. Tighten locknut and coupling nut; replace washers and gasket, if necessary.
Crack in bowl or tank. Replace bowl, tank, or entire fixture.

 

If all else fails, you’ll have to cut off the bolts with a hacksaw. To protect the bowl’s finish, apply tape to the bowl at the spots the hacksaw blade is likely to rub against. Then insert the blade under the hinge, and saw through the bolts. Be extremely cautious in using the saw—a careless slip with a hacksaw can crack the fixture just as easily as a blow with a wrench.

With the nuts removed or the bolts cut, you can remove the old seat without further difficulty. Clean the area before installing the new seat. The new on can be installed by inserting the bolts and tightening the nuts. Be careful not to over-tighten the nuts, as you may want to replace this seat someday as well. If you live in a rented apartment and install a new seat that you paid for yourself, be sure to keep the old one. When you’re ready to leave, you can replace the new on with the original and take the new seat with you.

If the toilet lid and seat are still in good condition, but the small rubber bumpers on the bottom are in bad shape, you can buy replacement bumpers at the hardware store. Some bumpers screw in; others must be nailed or glued into place. Whichever type you have, try to install the new ones in holes that are close enough to conceal the original holes.