When choosing a new toilet seat, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether to go with plastic or wood. Both materials have their own sets of pros and cons to consider. This article will compare plastic vs wood toilet seats across several factors to help you decide which is the better option for your bathroom.
One of the biggest differences between plastic and wood toilet seats is visual appeal. Wood toilet seats often look more high-end and can complement traditional bathroom designs quite well.
The natural patterns and grains in the wood give it an organic, warm look. Plastic seats, on the other hand, come in a wider variety of colors but have a more utilitarian, basic appearance.
Wooden toilet seats are often considered more aesthetically pleasing overall. However, plastic toilet seats have improved significantly in styles and designs over the years.
You can find plastic models that mimic the look of real wood quite convincingly. So if appearance is your main priority, either material could potentially work nowadays.
Comfort and Ergonomics
When it comes to comfort, wooden toilet seats tend to be gentler on the posterior. The wood is softer and warmer than plastic. Plastic seats can feel quite firm and become chilly in cold temperatures.
However, many modern plastic toilet seats have contours and shapes that match the curve of the body for greater comfort. Some even have padded cushions built into the plastic. So while wood may be more comfortable overall, the gap has narrowed as plastics improve.
One ergonomic advantage plastic toilet seats have over wood is the ease of slow-closing mechanisms. These soft-close hinges prevent the toilet seat from loudly slamming down. They are easier to incorporate into plastic seats than wooden ones.
Wooden toilet seats are generally less durable than plastic ones. With repeated use, wood toilet seats are more prone to chipping, scratching, and water damage. Plastic is much more resistant to these issues.
High quality woods like oak or teak are quite resilient. But lower cost woods can become dingy and warped from moisture over time. Plastic’s non-porous surface avoids this.
Heavy-duty plastic toilet seats can maintain their original appearance for many years.
However, plastic is not invincible either. Cheaper plastic seats can still get scratched or cracked. But on the whole, plastic seats tend to outlast wood by a significant margin.
Cleaning and Hygiene
When it comes to cleaning and hygiene, plastic toilet seats are usually preferable to wood. The non-porous surface of plastic makes it less likely to absorb stains and odors. Germs also have a harder time clinging to the smooth plastic.
Wood is more porous and prone to absorbing liquids and bacteria over time. This gives plastic toilet seats an advantage in terms of sanitation. However, unfinished wooden toilet seats should be sealed properly to protect them against moisture and daily use.
With proper care, wooden toilet seats can still be cleaned sufficiently. But plastic’s inherent resistance to odors and microbes keeps maintenance simpler. For public restrooms or other high-traffic situations, plastic is the more hygienic choice.
One advantage wood toilet seats have over plastic is the ability to customize them more extensively. Wood can be stained, painted, carved, or otherwise modified rather easily. Doing the same for plastic is more difficult and limited.
So if you want a toilet seat in a specific color or shape, wood provides more flexibility. Unfinished wood seats let your final stain and sealer choices determine the look. Customized wood designs can be done for a truly one-of-a-kind toilet seat.
That level of modification is not really an option with plastic toilet seats. So for those who want something other than stock colors and sizes, wood is the way to go.
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When it comes to environmental impact, wood toilet seats tend to be the greener choice. Most wooden seats are manufactured from sustainable timber sources. And at the end of their lifespan, they can be recycled or disposed of with less harm to the planet.
Plastics are typically made from chemicals derived from fossil fuels. Toilet seat plastic is also not as easily recyclable. Biodegradable plastics are an option but not yet common for toilet seats. So for the most eco-friendly choice, wood toilet seats have an advantage.
However, some plastics like resin are more environmentally-friendly than others. And timber sourcing for wood seats still needs to be monitored for sustainability. So while wood seats are generally better for the environment, it ultimately depends on the seat’s specific materials and construction.
Wooden toilet seats tend to command a higher price than plastic ones. The cost of quality lumber and hand-craftsmanship drives up the price. Although plastic is becoming more premium-priced with advanced designs, it remains the more budget-friendly choice overall.
For a basic toilet seat that gets the job done, plastic is certainly cheaper. But the higher cost of wood toilet seats reflects their reputation for beauty, comfort and durability. So ultimately you get what you pay for with both materials.
Installing a toilet seat is usually a quick job. But plastic seats tend to be slightly easier to install than wood seats. The lighter weight of plastic makes maneuvers easier. Plastic nuts and bolts don’t require quite as much care as rusted metal parts.
However, wooden toilet seats that use metal nut hardware still aren’t too difficult for DIYers to install. The key is keeping the hardware rust-free. As long as the bolts are well-greased, wood toilet seats can be installed just as smoothly.
As touched on earlier, plastic toilet seats are lower maintenance than wood ones. Due to plastic’s non-porous qualities, quick wipes with mild cleaner can keep them looking fresh. Wood requires more sealing and careful cleaning to avoid water damage.
However, wood toilet seats don’t need maintenance beyond periodic sealing and polishing. Caring for wood just requires a bit more time and care than plastic. It’s important to follow any sealant manufacturer instructions closely for best results.
Either plastic or wood toilet seats shouldn’t need intensive maintenance if installed properly. But plastic’s resistance to debris buildup will keep maintenance a bit easier over time.
When it comes to family bathrooms or kids’ bathrooms, most parents find plastic toilet seats preferable. Plastic is more durable against drops and bangs. The smoother surface also makes cleaning children’s messes simpler.
Wood toilet seats require more gentle use and care in family settings. The softer wood can dent and stain more readily when routinely exposed to rambunctious children. However, wood can still work well for families when properly sealed and monitored.
Overall though, plastic toilet seats tend to better withstand the turbulence of a family bathroom. The material is more scratch and impact-resistant for greater long-term durability.
Which is Better: Plastic or Wood?
So taking all factors into account, plastic vs wood toilet seats, which is the better choice? If forced to pick one, plastic toilet seats tend to make the most sense for the majority of households due to the lower price, durability, hygiene and ease of maintenance.
However, wood toilet seats offer a classic style and comfort plastic cannot quite match. In low-traffic bathrooms, cleaned regularly and sealed properly, wood seats can also have decent longevity.
Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities. Plastic works well for family, utility or contemporary bathrooms on a budget. Wood brings beauty and sophistication to more elegant bathrooms where maintenance is manageable.
Both materials will get the job done. So consider the benefits and drawbacks reviewed above against your needs to decide between plastic vs wood for your next toilet seat purchase. With quality modern options in both categories, you can’t necessarily go wrong either way.
Q 1: Which is easier to clean – plastic vs wood toilet seats?
Plastic toilet seats are generally easier to clean. The non-porous surface does not absorb stains and odors like wood can. Plastic can be cleaned with mild cleaners and quick wipes. Wood requires more careful cleaning and occasional re-sealing to prevent water damage.
Q 2: Which toilet seat material is more durable?
Plastic toilet seats tend to be more durable overall. They resist chipping, scratching, and water damage better than wood seats. However, high-quality solid wood can also be quite durable with proper care and sealing. But for maximum resilience, plastic is the way to go.
Q 3: Are plastic toilet seats less comfortable than wood?
Wood toilet seats tend to be more comfortable because the wood is softer and warmer. Plastic can feel quite firm and get cold. However, modern plastic toilet seats have improved with padded cushions and body-contouring to increase comfort. But wood still remains the more comfortable choice overall.
Q 4: Which is better for kids and high-traffic bathrooms – wood or plastic toilet seats?
Plastic toilet seats are better suited for family bathrooms. The durable plastic withstands cleaning, drops, dents, and stains better than wood. But wood toilet seats can manage if properly sealed and monitored. For heavy use, plastic is the more durable and practical option.
Q 5: Are wood toilet seats more environmentally friendly than plastic ones?
Generally yes. Wood toilet seats come from renewable timber sources and are biodegradable. Most plastics are derived from fossil fuels and are not recyclable. However, wood sourcing needs to be sustainable. And some modern plastics utilize greener production methods. But overall, wood is considered the eco-friendlier toilet seat material.