When it comes to customizing and designing a toilet, one of the most important parts that will affect the style and comfort of your lavatory is the seat, with the two most popular seat materials being wood and plastic.
While they may seem fairly similar on the surface, there are actually quite a few crucial differences that set both types of toilet seats apart which are well worth knowing about.
After all, you don’t want to install a brand-new seat that ends up feeling too uncomfortable or that doesn’t blend with the rest of the bathroom
Therefore, to make it easier for you to decide which type of toilet seat would suit you best, we have compiled all of the pros and cons of plastic and wooden toilet seats, and how you can decide which to choose.
Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Toilet Seat?
While the toilet seat can initially seem like somewhat of an afterthought when it comes to searching for a new toilet, since there are now so many that are readily available on the market, it can be worth finding one that suits your bathroom the best, and most importantly, one that will allow you to feel comfortable and relaxed.
There’s no doubt that the shapes of toilet seats have been all the rave recently, whether it’s the fancy-looking D-shaped seats or the unique and flattering wrap-over seats, these can drastically change the composition of a toilet and can help it to stand out, or blend in with the rest of the room, depending on how you want to style it.
With that being said, while the shape of the toilet seat matters, the extra additions that are also now very commonly found in toilet seats are just as important.
Soft close toilet seats for example which close slowly after you lift them up are becoming incredibly popular with consumers.
Then we have the material, which might just be the most important factor of them all.
It’s not just the design that matters when it comes to choosing a material, but also its durability, comfort, heat insulation, and so much more with wood and plastic now being the most popular choices, with the two having many differences in practicality.
Key Differences Between Wooden And Plastic Toilet Seats
No matter what type of wood you choose for a toilet seat, it will always trap a good amount of its own heat throughout the day, making it very comfortable, even if you haven’t needed to actually use the toilet for several hours.
Not only does this make it more optimal for houses that are situated in colder climates, but it also means even if you’re turning the heating off every now and again, your toilet will still stay comfortable and warm.
On the other hand, plastic toilet seats will lose their heat extremely quickly, which can make them very uncomfortable in the winter months, and less than ideal for when you have guests coming over.
Both seats can be broken if they’ve been used for too long or if they experience any sudden damage, though with that being said, they will break down in different ways.
The smaller pieces of plastic seats, such as the hinges, can be broken off a lot easier than wooden seats, and the primary reason for this is because of just how much lighter plastic seats are than their counterparts.
Slamming the lid down or pulling it accidentally can therefore easily cause it to come apart, and this is primarily because of just how much easier they are to make and is the reason every public toilet will use plastic toilet seats since they aren’t of the highest quality and don’t require any heavy-duty tools or materials to create.
Therefore, wooden seats tend to be a lot better at withstanding physical damage, especially since they will almost always be bolted onto the toilet using metal hinges which make them a lot sturdier.
With that being said however, when wooden seats are exposed to high temperatures, they can begin to warp and crack, which is something that won’t affect plastic seats.
It’s therefore important to think about the long term and which seat you feel would be the best for your situation. If you have kids for example who you feel could end up damaging the toilet easily by playing around with it, a sturdy wooden seat may be the best option.
On the other hand, if you intend to take good care of the seat and keep it in the best condition possible, while also not wanting the temperature to affect it in any way, plastic is the way to go.
Since it is one of the first things people notice when seeing a toilet for the first time, it’s very important to choose a seat that you feel would suit the rest of the bathroom without sticking out or looking too out of place.
With plastic seats, while you do get a lot of design options that can be printed onto the exterior along with plenty of different shapes you can buy, there are more variants of wooden seats to choose from.
The two most popular types of wooden toilet seats are wood veneer, which is the more traditional and rustic version that many of us are familiar with, and enameled wood which is made to look smooth and shiny having a layer of enamel painted over the surface.
It largely depends on the person and what they like the look of the most that will convince them to buy one type of seat over the other, however, many people agree that the wooden seats tend to give off a more classy and inviting feeling, alongside looking a lot more traditional in their appearance.
On the other hand, plastic is often a better fit if you’re going for a more modernized look and aren’t as worried about making the seat stand out or be as eye-catching as possible.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Plastic seats tend to be a lot easier to keep clean thanks to their smooth surface, so even if they have been used frequently and haven’t been washed in a while, you can easily make it sparkling clean again with a simple wipe down, and if you see any stains, these can be easily dealt with by using a quick solution of baking soda and warm water.
Wooden seats on the other hand can be a little more annoying to clean since the surface tends to be a lot less smooth and more coarse than plastic, especially wood veneer.
Additionally, wood is a porous material, meaning it is a solid that contains small areas of empty space dotted around it.
Because of this, wood will trap a lot of the unpleasant smells that can come from using a toilet within these spaces which can be incredibly hard to get out.
Therefore, if you do choose to go with a wooden seat over a plastic one, make sure to wipe down the seat very regularly with either dish-washing liquid or hand soap mixed with water.
Apply this solution to a soft sponge or cloth and carefully wipe down the seat every few days to ensure it stays fresh and clean, otherwise, it can start picking up some nasty odors if kept unchecked for too long.
Because wooden toilet seats are usually seen as more premium and fashionable, and because they cost a lot more to actually make, you will be spending more as a consumer to buy them as opposed to plastic seats which tend to be far cheaper but also lower in overall quality.
Wood veneer seats specifically, with their sheen and shiny appearance, are among the most expensive.
Because wooden seats are heavier and a lot more sturdy, they tend to feel much more comfortable to use, while plastic seats can feel far cheaper in their quality and quite frail in comparison.
While there are plenty of different variations of plastic toilet seats that can fit different shaped toilets, it is the material itself that is always going to feel far cheaper than its wooden counterpart, so if you don’t mind spending a little more for extra comfort, then a wooden toilet seat is the better option to choose.
Other Considerations To Keep In Mind
While these are the major differences that set apart wooden and plastic toilet seats, if you’re still struggling to decide between the two, there are a few extra considerations that you should keep in mind when choosing which to buy.
For one, if you do want to buy a seat that is more compatible with the soft closing option that is so fashionable in toilets these days, while you can still use this function with wooden toilets, their extra weight tends to make it a lot less reliable and can even break down fairly easily, so plastic seats are the better option.
Additionally, if you want to buy a uniquely shaped toilet such as a D-shaped toilet, or if you are simply refitting a toilet that has a peculiar design, plastic seats come in a much wider range of shapes, making it a lot easier to find one in this material that perfectly fits the design of the toilet as opposed to wooden seats.
The Bottom Line
When choosing between a wooden or plastic toilet seat, you’re going to want to ask yourself how comfortable you want it to be, if you would prefer it to be easy to clean, and how much more you’re willing to spend for a more premium design and aesthetic.
Plastic seats may be a lot colder and cheaper-quality, however, they are also far cheaper and very easy to keep clean, and if you want to have a soft close feature, they are the better choice, along with having more designs and shapes to choose from.
On the other hand, if you don’t mind spending a bit more for a more traditional, weightier, and high-quality seat that will retain a lot of its own heat, wood is the option for you.