You probably have wondered into many bathrooms without noticing the different materials toilet seats are made of. Although your toilet is most likely made of porcelain, your toilet seat might be manufactured in a different material.
Therefore, It is essential to know what material that is, as it can contribute to how comfortable a person feels when sitting, as well as how easy it is to install, or even its price.
Most toilet seats tend to be made of plastic coating over blended wood, or high impact plastic.
Below we offer some insight on the materials manufacturers use, allowing you to make a more informed decision if you ever have to buy a new toilet seat (they tend to break over the years, so this is likely to happen).
Wooden Toilet Seats
One of the toilet seat options out there is the ones made out of wood. A wooden toilet seat mostly delivers excellent aesthetics and design in many bathroom decors.
Although you might think these come in standard all-natural wood design, they are made in many shapes and colors. However, as far as durability is concerned, wood seats tend to fall behind.
This is because bathrooms tend to have very moist environments, which can prove challenging for wood seats. Additionally, some manufacturers add a high gloss finish to provide extra protection from scratches and water.
On the other hand, a benefit of this type of toilet seat is that they tend to be less susceptible to absorbing the surrounding temperature, making it more comfortable when sitting (think about sitting in a plastic toilet seat during the winter with no heating). Namely, people report this toilet seat material feels warmer when in use.
Also, a toilet seat made out of wood tends to be sturdier and heavier than those that come in other materials. These are both characteristics that many consumers associate with higher quality.
More importantly, this material has a few variations that impact price and quality. It is also good to know that there are some eco-friendly options in the market as well.
Typically, wooden seats are easy to clean and are exceptionally hygienic but do stay away from abrasive detergents and chemicals that may damage the surface of the seats in your bathroom.
Combining these with the right toilet bowl cleaner will have you with a spotless toilet, you can read our guide on automatic toilet bowl cleaners here.
Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
MDF is “engineered wood” that comes from the residues of stable wood fiber-through machining or other processes and is later combined with resin and wax.
It is a popular material used for the manufacturing of toilet seats, as it is very cost-effective. It tends to be cheaper than molded wood, but also lower in quality.
Some companies produce toilet seats made out of MDF and then cover the outside part with a wood veneer to give it a natural appearance. However, it may not be as durable, given that MDF is more prone to water damage.
The molded wood variation comes from molding solid wood into toilet seats. A common material for this is oak. When done correctly, molded solid wood is more durable than its MDF counterpart.
The main advantage of this material is of higher quality, durability, and resistance when compared to MDF. Other than that, both materials are similar as far as design and appearance.
Bamboo Toilet Seats
These types of seats are the most environmentally friendly option. The bamboo toilet seat can be made from bamboo residue or scraps (much like the MDF with solid wood) and even from raw bamboos.
The good thing is that bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, which makes the use of the material very sustainable. Moreover, bamboo designs are very stylish and beautiful, which is fantastic for any toilet set.
Plastic Toilet Seat
When it comes to toilet seat materials, this is the most popular one; and also the most commonly seen in the household bathroom. In terms of durability, plastic seats last longer than their molded wood counterparts. Namely, because they will not suffer any type of degrading or water damage in a high moisture bathroom.
Moreover, plastic toilet seats barely scratch and do not break easily unless you get a fragile one. They go perfectly, with the right toilet fill valve.
Nevertheless, even if you were to break this kind of toilet seat, they are easily replaceable, and at the same time, easy to install. Please see below the different types of plastic toilet seats:
Thermoset Toilet Seat
These toilet seats are made out of a process that involves exposing special polymers to a high temperature to mold them into a hard and irreversible shape or form.
This polymer in its raw form tends to be liquid or, of soft solid and viscous consistency. However, once it is hardened by the thermosetting process, it cannot be reverted to its previous form.
In turn, the result is a toilet seat that is virtually unscratchable! (which is excellent if you have kids or pets at home that may scratch the seat for any reason).
The thermoset plastic seat is very durable and comes in many designs that have a ceramic-like appearance and go very well with any porcelain toilet.
That being said, one of the downsides of this type of toilet seat is that they are not eco-friendly. Moreover, remember, it is not possible to melt them into other shapes.
Finally, they can be pricier when compared to other materials, but its durability and sturdiness makes them worth the extra bucks.
Thermoplastic Toilet Seat
Much like the thermoset, the thermoplastic polymers are also brought to high temperatures. The difference is that this polymer softens when exposed to elevated temperatures, allowing it to be molded in the process.
As the temperature elevates further, the polymer becomes more malleable and fluid, allowing it to be molded into a toilet seat. After the material cools down, it hardens again.
The advantage from an environmental perspective is that this material is recyclable, as it can be melted or remolded when exposed to heat. This kind of toilet is also the cheapest available.
Nevertheless, they are durable and hard to break but are scratchable.
Resin Toilet seat
When this polymer is hardened, usually the outcome is a transparent toilet seat. The primary use of the resin toilet seat is for decoration and design.
Within the resin, you can capture any color, object, or material (the resin will coat anything).
You can also get creative and quirky designs from many manufacturers, as these are highly customizable.
The point of this product is mainly aesthetics, but it holds similar properties to other plastics. Plus, it can be more durable and sturdier than the thermoplastic.
Cushioned or Padded Toilet Seat
This is a variation that may include plastic or wood in the core of the seat that is covered by a cushioning foam and a vinyl layer.
The purpose is to bring comfort when using the seat. Namely, it is ideal for people who suffer from pain or circulation issues. The padded seat keeps the temperature warm even if it has a plastic core, a good solution for cold winters, or homes with a cold A/C.
The issue is that it can be a bit unhygienic, as it is not easy to clean. The vinyl layer might tear over time, and the foam can get dirty of urine or sweat.
Are plastic or wood toilet seats better?
When comparing plastic vs. wood material for a toilet seat, it depends on what the consumer is looking for. From a practical perspective, the only thing wooden seats have going for them is aesthetics and the fact that they maintain a warm temperature. This can make it more comfortable to use when people sit on them.
On the other hand, a plastic seat is more durable, and great designs are abundant in the market for any bathroom if your aim is aesthetics.
The plastic materials are more affordable and more comfortable to clean and maintain. They also maintain a better appearance over time, as wooden seats can lose color or get scratched easier.
If we had to choose, we would think the best material for toilet seats is the plastic one.
What are heavy toilet seats made of?
Typically a wooden toilet seat tends to be heavier than a plastic toilet seat. Of course, this varies a lot depending on the shape and the amount of material used in the manufacturing process.
Plastic toilet seats tend to go from 2 to 6 pounds, with a higher weight leaning more towards heavy-duty use.
Although you can find lighter wooden seats in the same range, on average, they go from 6 to 9 pounds. Some consumers associate weight with quality and comfort. Thus, the wooden toilet seat wins in this category, as it is heavier.
Toilet Seat Shapes and Materials
Toilet seats often come in two shapes: round and elongated. The toilet bowl dictates the form.
Therefore, if your toilet bowl has a pointier tip and its shape is more of an extended oval, then you probably need an elongated toilet seat.
On the other hand, if your toilet’s tip is a bit more round, then your toilet seat has to be the same. Round toilet seats occupy less space than their elongated counterparts.
Luckily, these shapes are an industry standard, and companies make toilet seats of all materials in both forms.
Just make sure that you define what toilet seat material is best for you, then also determine what type of shape you need to acquire too.
Ultimately, the goal should be to have a seat that fits your particular household’s needs. Part of that process is knowing what toilet seats are made of, in order to make informed decisions.
We hope this helps you out and feel free to ask us any questions!