Wood vs Plastic Toilet Seats: 6 Differences

If you need to replace your toilet seat, you have tons of options. While exploring those options, you may want to take a moment to look at the differences between plastic and wood toilet seats. Standard models are roughly the same price but offer slightly different benefits to the user.

wood vs plastic toilet seats

In this article, we’ll discuss the biggest differences between wood and plastic toilet seats to help you decide which material you should choose.

Wood vs. Plastic Toilet Seats: Main Differences

All modern toilets come with plastic seats when you buy them, but the traditional wooden seats are still available to purchase as an upgrade.

Since the material your toilet seat is made from really comes down to personal preference, here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re searching for the perfect seat.

plastic toilet seat

1. Comfort

You spend a lot of time on the toilet, so comfort is likely a top priority in choosing your toilet seat. Wooden toilet seats are often more comfortable than plastic because the material holds heat better.

That’s a huge bonus if you live in a cold climate. If you have your heart set on a plastic toilet seat, you can buy heated models, but they will cost substantially more than the standard model.

2. Cleaning

Straight out of the box, wood and plastic toilet seats are equally easy to clean and maintain. Over time, however, the veneer will come off the wooden toilet seats due to continuous use.

When that happens, the porous wood core will be exposed and will be likely to hold onto harmful bacteria no matter how often you clean it. 

3. Noise Level

Wooden toilet seats are heavier than plastic ones, making them more durable and comfortable than plastic seats. However, their weight can work against you if you let the lid slam shut during one of your nightly bathroom visits.

Wooden toilet seats are very loud when the lid closes quickly. Plastic seats are automatically quieter because they’re lighter, and some even come with a slow-close option that prevents the lid from slamming.

4. Durability

Plastic toilet seats tend to be thinner and more flimsy than their wooden counterparts. They also come with plastic hinges versus the metal hinges on wooden seats.

These plastic hinges break more frequently than metal ones. That said, wooden toilet seats can split, warp, and lose their veneer over time.

5. Appearance

One thing to consider when you’re buying a new toilet seat is how it will look in your bathroom. A wooden seat will look very nice if you have a farmhouse or country bathroom.

On the other hand, wood may look out of place in an ultra-modern bathroom.

6. Cost

Plastic toilet seats tend to be less expensive than wooden toilet seats. That’s because wooden toilet seats are often sturdier and cost more to manufacture than plastic seats.

If you want a fancy plastic toilet seat with options like a bidet or seat warmer, they can be significantly more expensive than a standard wooden seat. 

Related: What A Red Cup Under A Toilet Seat Really Means.

What Types Of Wooden Toilet Seats Can You Buy?

When we talk about wooden toilet seats, we must further break down this category into two subcategories: wood and wood enamel.

wood toilet seat

Though they’re both technically made of wood, they have different strengths and weaknesses. 

1. Wood

When most people think of wooden toilet seats, they think of a seat with a woodgrain appearance and a shiny coating that protects the wood. This is a solid wood toilet seat.

They are the most expensive wood product but also the most durable. Over time, however, the coating can wear off and leave the porous wood exposed to water and urine, causing the seat to warp and become unsanitary.

2. Wood Enamel

Enameled wooden toilet seats are thicker than plastic, but that doesn’t make them more durable. In fact, they need to be as thick as they are just to come close to the durability of a plastic seat.

Enameled wooden seats are made from compressed sawdust wrapped with resin. The moisture inside your bathroom will make the resin layer chip off over time, leaving the sawdust exposed to water and moisture, making them weak and unsanitary. 

Do Plastic Toilet Seats Stain?

If you choose a white plastic toilet seat, it can become stained over time. These stains can come from not cleaning urine off of the seat frequently enough, exposure to UV rays from the sunlight coming into your windows, or simply aging.

FAQ

Why do wooden toilet seats crack?

A wooden toilet seat can crack from excessive weight, expansion of the material in hot weather, or dropping something heavy on it.

Are wooden toilet seats unsanitary?

As long as the coating on the outside of the wooden toilet seat is intact, these seats are just as sanitary as their plastic counterparts. However, if the coating chips or wears away, the wood underneath is porous and will absorb germs from the bathroom. 

To keep the coating on a wooden toilet seat from chipping or peeling, clean it with a damp cloth rather than spraying cleaning products directly onto the seat.

You should also wipe off liquids as soon as you notice them to keep moisture from penetrating the coating. Finally, use wood oil after disinfecting the toilet seat to keep the wood from drying out and cracking.

Can wooden toilet seats get stained?

Solid wood toilet seats cannot stain, but enameled wood ones are susceptible to the same stains as plastic seats.

Verdict: Should I Get A Plastic Or Wood Toilet Seat?

Whether you choose a plastic or wooden toilet seat really comes down to personal preference. Plastic seats are easier to take care of, but wooden ones are typically more comfortable and look nicer in your bathroom.

Lastly, be sure to get your sizings correct as a common misconception is that toilet seats are universal, which is false.

Shauna Stone
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