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Toilet Seats: Wood vs Plastic (5 Factors You Should Consider)

Toilet Seats: Wood vs Plastic (5 Factors You Should Consider)
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Most residential toilet seats these days tend to be made of plastic, but that’s not always the case. A popular alternative to plastic toilet seats is wood.

Growing up, I spent a lot of weekends at my grandparents’ house. One thing that always stood out to me when I was there was their wooden toilet seat. I don’t know why it made such an impression, but I still remember it to this day.

While wooden toilet seats might not be as popular as they used to be, they are still a common, and valid, option that you’ll likely find at your local hardware store. There are many reasons why someone might prefer a wooden toilet seat, but is it a good idea?

In this article, let’s look at the differences between wooden and plastic toilet seats and determine which one is right for you.

What to Consider When Choosing a Toilet Seat

Choosing a toilet seat doesn’t have to be a difficult decision, but considering how much time you spend sitting on one, you should at least take some time to look at the benefits and drawbacks before making a choice.

Below, I’m going to go over some of the common factors that you should consider when deciding whether to buy a wooden or plastic toilet seat.

1 – Comfort

As I just mentioned, many of us spend a lot of time sitting on a toilet seat. With that being said, one of the most important factors to consider when buying a toilet seat is the comfort level that it provides.

Plastic seats can feel cold and flimsy, whereas wood can provide a more solid and sturdy feel. Depending on the type of finish applied to a wooden seat, it may or may not feel cold during the winter.

Neither is necessarily better than the other when it comes to comfort. It’s really a matter of personal preference.

2 – Durability

Toilet with wooden seat

One of the main benefits of wooden toilet seats over plastic is durability. Wooden seats tend to be quite a bit thicker (and heavier) than plastic ones, and as you can expect, are less likely to break.

With that being said, you’d have to be pretty rough with a plastic toilet seat to break it.

The parts that typically break on a toilet seat tend to be the connective pieces that connect to the base of the toilet, and these are typically not made of wood in either case.

You can expect these pieces to be made of either plastic or metal and is really dependent on the quality of the seat as a whole, not so much the material that it’s made of.

One point to note with wooden toilet seats, when it comes to durability, is that the protective coating can wear down over time. Scratches during cleaning also have the potential to break this protective finish.

If the wood itself becomes exposed, it can lead to warping, since bathrooms house a lot of moisture.

3 – Cost

Toilet seats can range in price from about $20 all the way up to a few hundred (no, I’m not kidding). There are several variables that can impact the purchase price, including materials, the brand, and the style.

Plastic toilet seats tend to be on the lower end of the spectrum, with many options in that $20 range that I mentioned above. Toilet seats made of wood tend to be a bit pricier, with the cost being mostly determined by the type of wood being used.

If you want a toilet seat made of exotic wood, you can expect to pay more. That’s not to say that you can’t get a reasonably priced toilet seat made of wood, like this one.

4 – Cleanliness

One question that’s probably crossed your mind if you’ve considered a common alternative to plastic is “are wooded toilet seats sanitary?” As wood is a porous material, it’s a pretty reasonable question.

If we were talking about unfinished wood, the answer would be clear. However, if your toilet seat is made of wood, it is more than likely coated with a sealant or laminate, which both helps to protect the wood and keeps germs from getting into it.

Just keep in mind that sealants can wear down over time (or be cut into), so the wood might eventually require additional applications.

Plastic, unlike wood, is not very porous. As a result, it’s very easy to clean by wiping the surface with a sanitary wipe. The same can be said for a properly sealed wooded toilet seat, but with plastic, you don’t have to worry about it wearing down over time.

5 – Appearance

Modern bathroom interior with brown cabinets

One of the main reasons to choose wood over plastic, or vice versa, is appearance. This is completely a personal preference. If you’re on the fence, look at the other items in your house to see if one option would make more sense than the other to go with the general decor.

In particular, take a look at your finishes, such as your baseboards, trim, towel racks, etc. If these are stained instead of painted, wood might make more sense for you.

Plastic tends to fit better with a more modern feel, while wood lends itself to a more traditional look. Choose the option that you prefer.

One quick note – you can get wooden toilet seats that are painted white. If you like the look of white plastic, but prefer wood as a material, this might be a good option for you.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the battle between wooden and plastic toilet seats is mostly just a choice of personal preference. While each has its benefits and drawbacks, both are safe to use and easy to keep clean.

When choosing a toilet seat, consider the factors above. Some factors may be more important to you than others, so it’s really up to you to decide which option makes the most sense. Neither option is a bad one, so go with what feels right for you.

Also, keep in mind that plastic and wood are not your only two options. Although they are popular choices, you can choose from other materials as well (even steel).

Jake

Monday 6th of July 2020

Wood seats are NOT more durable than plastic seats overall. I had a MDF seat that was all scratched up and chipped within 6 months! Also some coatings on wood discolour and deteriorate when exposed to bleech. Hardware on solid wood seats are screwed into the wood. Meaning that the high moisture content in a bathroom will make the screws come loose eventually which requires adjustment. My maple seat needed to be removed to glue toothpicks in the screw holes to make them tight again. They can also warp so I don't sit flat anymore. I've also heard of them splitting as well. Not all seats are created equal!

Jeff

Saturday 11th of July 2020

Hi Jake,

You're right that not all seat are created equal. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!