I’ve seen my fair share of bathroom design issues as a home renovator. One common problem many homeowners face is how to measure a toilet seat. In this article, I will guide you through the process of finding the right fit for a new toilet seat.
Not all toilet seats are created equal. There are various shapes and sizes for specific dimensions. The key is understanding that the two main types of toilets have either a round or elongated bowl.
How to Measure a Toilet Seat
You will need to determine several measurements to get the correct size seat: the bolt distance, length, and bowl width. The standard measurement for the seat bolts on a US model is 5.5 inches.
The toilet seat length is measured from the midpoint of the hinges at the back of the toilet to the outside edge of the toilet bowl rim in the front. Finally, the width of the bowl is measured at the widest point, from the left outer bowl rim to the right outer bowl rim.
You need to look at the seat head-on to make sure you’re measuring correctly. Measure from front to back and left to right when looking at the seat from the front.
Standard toilet seats in North America have two sizes ranging in length from 16.5 inches (round toilet seat) to 18.5 inches (elongated toilet seat). The size variation of your toilet seat also depends on the style, brand, and shape (round or elongated bowl).
While round and elongated seats are North America’s two most common shapes, other shapes are found in bathrooms worldwide, including U-shapes, V-shapes, O-shapes, and even square-shaped designs.
I show people how to measure a toilet seat with these four measurements: measure the length, fixing hole distance, bowl height, and width. Fixing holes are usually 5.5 inches apart. Determine the back hinges’ midpoint to the front rim’s outside edge for length. The width of the bowl is the widest point of the outer bowl rim.
Tools Needed for the Job:
- Tape measure
- Pencil and paper
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Adjustable wrench (optional)
Step 1: Remove the Existing Toilet Seat
To measure accurately, you must access the bowl. Remove the existing seat to access all the areas you need. To do this, check the hinges to see how they are attached. Some toilet seats have clips that hold the seat on. Check if they can be unclipped with squeezing or pulling.
In most cases, however, the lid is attached with screws and wingnuts on the underside to hold the lid in place. Open any covering over the bolts, and locate the wingnut underneath the bowl to which the screw is attached. If necessary, use the adjustable wrench to grab the wingnut.
Use Phillips screwdriver to remove the bolts.
Once the seat is off, both mounting holes will be visible and accessible. You will have full access to the toilet to measure it for a new seat.
Step 2: Measure the Length of the Bowl
The distance from the midpoint of the hinges at the back of the toilet to the outside edge of the toilet bowl rim in the front measures the length.
To measure the length:
- 1. Find the midpoint between the two hinge holes on the back of the bowl, and stretch the tape measure to the front tip of the bowl.
- 2. Measure the outer edge of the front lip.
The toilet bowl’s style, brand, and shape determine the size variation of your seat. Standard seat lengths in North America normally range from 16.5 inches (round seat) to 18.5 inches (elongated bowl).
Elongated toilet seats are preferred to a round toilet seat by many people, especially taller people, because of their extended size. The elongated design makes for a more comfortable experience. Because of its popularity, the elongated bowl is the standard seat in most public places, such as airports, hotels, and gas stations.
Step 3: Measure the Width of the Toilet Bowl
Measure the bowl at the widest point of the toilet.
Stand facing the toilet head-on and let your tape measure grab the outer edge of one side of the toilet bowl. Extend it to the other outside edge at what looks like the widest point.
Check that the tape measure is parallel with the two fixing holes, and then slowly move the tape measure up and down the toilet, keeping parallel to the fixing holes all the time.
Where the tape measure is at its longest, this is how wide your toilet seat will need to be.
Step 4: Measure the Height of the Toilet Seat
Toilet seat height is the measurement from the cistern, or the wall, to the fixing holes. Measure the distance from the back end of the bowl to the center of a fixing hole.
This measurement determines the toilet seat angle when it is open. Replacing a thin toilet seat with a thicker one may affect the angle of the new seat when it is open, Make sure the angle will still work if the new seat is thicker.
Step 5: Measure the Fixing Hole Distance
Using the tape measure, measure the distance from one fixing hole center to the other.
Even if the toilet seat fits on the toilet, the bolts must line up with the holes in the bowl, otherwise, there is no way to make the seat fit
The standard measurement for the bolts on a North American toilet seat is 5.5 inches.
Step 6: Install the New Toilet Seat
With the screws that come with the new seat, place the bolts into the holes and fasten them on. Use the adjustable wrench and screwdriver to fasten it on securely to the new seat.
Test the new seat by opening and closing it a few times to check that the bolts don’t move when opened and closed.
Check the angle of the new seat when it is open. If the angle is not great enough, the new seat may not remain open.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are All Elongated Toilet Seats the Same Size?
Yes, elongated toilet seats are the same size. They are designed to fit most manufacturers’ elongated bowls.
Many people prefer Elongated seats over round seats, especially taller ones, because of their extended size. It makes for a more comfortable experience, and because of its popularity, this is the standard seat in most public places, such as airports, hotels, and gas stations.
How Do I Know My Toilet Seat Size?
To determine the toilet seat size, measure the bowl from the center front to the seat bolts at the back. Round toilets are typically about 16.5 inches, while elongated ones are around 18.5 inches. Also, measure how wide the bowl is and the distance between the seat bolts for accuracy.
How Do You Measure What Toilet Size You Need?
To measure your toilet, start by measuring from the front of the toilet bowl to the center of the mounting holes at the back, then measure the bowl’s widest point. Check the bolt spread, too. These dimensions will help you find the correct size seat.
What is the Size of a Standard Bathroom Seat?
A standard bathroom seat has two main shapes: round and elongated. There are two sizes with round seats measuring about 16.5 inches long, while elongated seats are approximately 18.5 inches long. How wide it is usually varies around 14 inches but can differ slightly based on the design and brand.
What Toilet Seat Materials are Best? Wood or Plastic?
When it comes to deciding on toilet seat materials, the main types of materials are enameled wood and high-impact plastic. High-impact plastic seats are resistant to staining, chipping, and scratching.
Light-weight high-impact plastic seats can also handle heavy use and are less affected by moisture problems. Enameled wood seats are heavier, warmer, and resistant to staining. Wood is more susceptible to moisture and cleaning agent damage, which can lead to warping or cracking over time.
When it comes to choosing materials, aesthetic preferences may be the final determining factor on whether you prefer wood or plastic.
By following these six simple steps on how to measure a toilet seat, you can avoid some of the headaches of bathroom design. The key is accurately measuring your specific type’s dimensions. The right measurements will lead to a perfect fit for the new toilet seat.