Are toilet seats universal?

Public Bathroom Stall

Are toilet seats universal? Generally speaking, if you are in the US or in Canada, the answer is mostly yes –unless of course if you are looking at a specially made toilet with a non-standard shape or a non-standard size such as smaller toilets meant for children attending kindergarten. But let us not talk about those special toilets. Let us focus on your everyday average standard sized toilets. How about for those types? Are toilet seats universal? Yes. However, there are criteria to consider when shopping for a toilet seat before assuming that they are all indeed universal.

Are Toilet Seats Universal or Unique?

In general, there are two major types of toilet seats depending on their dimensions. We are speaking of regular-sized adult toilets that differ only in shape. Toilets are either perfectly round or slightly elongated and thus toilet seats are categorized into two major types –round or oval. How do you determine between the two? What tools are called for?

Actually, all you really need to figure this out is a standard length measuring tool such as a ruler or a tape measure. All you have to measure are the crosswise and lengthwise dimensions of your toilet rim – the measurement from left to right and from far end to near end. Round toilet seats tend to have equal crosswise and lengthwise dimensions like that of a true circle, while oval toilets have a more elongated measurement when measured from far end to near end, which is why they are most commonly called elongated toilets.

Round vs. Oval

Before going to your local home supplies or hardware store to purchase a toilet seat, it is important to take the right dimensions of your toilet to determine if you do need a round or an oval toilet seat. Once you do figure out which type you need, most toilet seats that fall in either of these categories will fit according to their designated type. Now, speaking of toilet shapes, is one shape preferable over the other? Under what circumstances should you opt for one shape over the other, especially if you are making the first purchase of a toilet bowl for your new home?

As a rule, round toilets are preferable for smaller bathrooms since their rounded dimensions take up a lot less space. They tend to be more compact than their elongated counterparts. An elongated toilet is about approximately two inches longer in the front compared to round toilets, and as a result, they tend to take up extra space.

You would not mind having this toilet shape if you have a larger bathroom to work with. In addition to that, men typically prefer the elongated bowl type, which is why they are usually the standard bowl type for hotels and other establishments. Because even if they take up a lot more space than round toilets, this means that they have a larger target area for men to urinate on while standing up resulting in less dripping and a more sanitary bathroom.

The Material

One more thing that differentiates toilet seats despite their universality is their material: they can be either made of wood or plastic. No issue here because either round or oval toilet seats can be made of both materials; the question would be more of which qualities you wish to prioritize.

Wooden seats are classic, cozy, and have a certain vintage charm. Their most positive appeal is that they keep warm quite well, which is mainly why one purchases a toilet seat –to keep your rear end protected from the ice-cold toilet ceramic, especially during the colder seasons. However, the downfall for wooden seats is that they are not that resistant to wear and tear. One of the reasons is that wood tends to absorb any moisture that comes in contact with it, and the moisture tends to seep into the wood itself, causing the wood to bloat and disfigure, and potentially harbor mold.

That is where plastic seats are more favorable. They are the sturdier type of toilet seat if that is what you are looking for in a good old toilet seat. They come in a flexible variety of fashionable colors and can, therefore, blend easily with any bathroom. They are also a lot easier to clean since you just need to wipe them down and disinfect them every now and then. However, you should note that if you live in colder areas or experience cold climates, you can expect your bottom to freeze over once you take a seat as plastic seats do not keep warm too well.

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