I need to remove the toilet seat and lid on all three toilets in our house, but the nuts holding them in place are very difficult to get at. I have some access on one side and almost none on the other. How can I get the old ones off?
The plumber probably attached the seat and lid before installing the toilet. Removing them someday was going to be somebody else’s problem. You can do the same thing in reverse, but that’s the hard way to go about it. My fast and painless method is to remove the lid, then saw the head off the seat bolt using a reciprocating saw and a 20 cm 18-tpi (teeth per inch) metal-cutting blade. Flex the blade so that it cuts the head of the bolt just a hair above the porcelain surface. This requires a few things: a steady hand, a good saw (one with plenty of power and very little vibration) and a flexible bimetal blade. Don’t skimp on the saw or the blade – you can easily snap the blade when it’s halfway through the bolt, or get it stuck. I use a Lenox blade chucked in a Milwaukee Super Sawzall. Works like a charm and takes about 20 to 30 seconds a bolt.
One other tip: I’ve seen plumbers pull this off without leaving the tiniest scuff on the porcelain. When I do it, I protect the top of the bowl with a strip of electrical tape. Still, if you scuff the bowl slightly, don’t worry. The marks come off with a damp cloth and a gentle abrasive cleanser. If you don’t own a top-quality saw, try using a deep-well socket fitted on a socket wrench to turn the nut off the bolt. Using an articulating universal joint or an extension on the socket may help you get at the troublesome nut more easily. Finally, such as WD-40, then patiently turn the nut off the bolt, one tiny twist at a time. Do that once, though, and a reciprocating saw will suddenly seem like a bargain.