Toilet seats are generally interchangeable, provided you get the right bowl shape. There are two predominant shapes: round and elongated/oblong. Round bows measure about 40cm from the front to the back of the bowl and are much more common in residential buildings; elongated bowls can be 45 to 48cms from front to back and are generally used in commercial applications.
If you are replacing a toilet seat, make sure the type and position of the fastenings suit the bowl you're hoping to attach it to. The width of the fastenings is generally the same, but it never hurts to double check.
Toilet seat materials
Toilet seats come in a wide range of materials such as plastic, wood, polypropylene and even glass or acrylic. We've all seen the fancy ones with rhinestones, goldfish and seashells embedded in them at some point or another.
Types of toilet seats include:
Cost effective and easy to come by, plastic tend not to last anywhere near as long as something that's got a bit more strength to it. You'll get what you pay for.
Sturdy and warm, wood can make very attractive toilet seats. Be aware, though, that if wood is damaged, it may cause you some fairly uncomfortable splinters!
Polypropylene and acrylic
Polypropylene and acrylic toilet seats come in a large range of colours and don’t absorb water, making them ideal for a wide range of homes.
Things to consider when buying a toilet seat
There is a surprisingly number of factors to take into consideration when purchasing a toilet seat.
Ease of clean
The choice is largely an aesthetic one of course, but you should keep in mind how easy each type is to clean. Over time, toilet seats naturally collect grime – but it’s not the dirt that causes the worst stains. Today’s highly coloured cleaners can stain the seat. Polypropylene seats are the best to avoid this, as they do not absorb liquids.
For extra comfort, padded and heated toilet seats are also available. Padded seats usually have a foam interior and are covered with vinyl for easy cleaning.
Heated toilet seats require access to an electrical outlet, so you will need to be extra cautious when using them in a wet area and ensure that they are installed at a safe distance from your shower, vanity or bath. There's no luxury quite like a heated toilet seat on a cold winter night!
As mentioned earlier, different materials have different levels of durability and you’ll need to balance cost with how long you want the seat to last.
There aren’t many ‘high tech’ developments in toilets – except the advent of a ‘soft close’ seat and lid. Similar to the technology that keeps kitchen cupboards and draws from slamming, soft close toilets ensure the seat and/or lid close slowly and softly – no more slamming seats in the middle of the night!