In the hierarchy of plumbing tasks, fitting a toilet seat comes somewhere near the bottom (excuse the pun) in terms of complexity. However, that isn’t to say that it is totally straightforward. Doing something wrong can lead to big problems further down the line.
What does fitting a toilet seat involve?
There isn’t too much to the job. Basically, some bolts go through the existing holes at the back of the toilet and there will be some sort of mechanism for securing them underneath. It might be a wing nut or it might require an Allen key, but the principle is the same. The toilet seat itself will either fit onto the mounting (possibly being secured by Allen key) or it will need to be attached to the bolt before it is initially fed through the hole.
That sounds easy
It is easy. The difficulty might relate to the position of your toilet. As you need to tighten something on the underside, it can sometimes be very awkward to gain access. If it’s a wing nut, you may need a degree of dexterity to accomplish your task and if an Allen key is required, it can be fiddly to get it in the slot. Usually a bit of perseverance and a few swear words is enough to complete the job, however.
So what can go wrong?
One of the key components is the rubber seal. This serves several purposes. Firstly, it prevents you from cracking the toilet through over tightening when securing the seat. Secondly, it provides a waterproof seal. Clearly you don’t want to crack your toilet, but the waterproofing aspect is vital too.
Why do you need a waterproof seal?
In many cases, the rubber seal will keep the seat stable. If it is not correctly aligned, the bolt can move about, meaning the toilet seat will pivot on the other bolt. This is incredibly annoying as the seat is no longer stable when someone sits on it. It won’t move much, but you don’t want it to move at all.
However, a more significant problem is that when moisture can get past the seal, the bolt is likely to rust. You might think this is no big deal, but just wait until you need to replace your toilet seat. If the bolt has rusted, it is almost impossible to undo it with a wing nut. You’ll find huge gouges in your hand and it won’t move a millimetre. The only solution is to use a hacksaw through the bolt. However, there is no space to operate one, so you will just have to use the blade on its own. This will take a while, so prevention is very much better than cure.
William James got his new toilet seat from Heat and Plumb but had incredible trouble fitting it due to the problem described above.