Toilet seats are made using a variety of materials and methods. Most of our toilet seats, here at Topseat, are constructed using the most comfortable and durable methods – MDF a type of molded wood, and one product line using environmentally friendly Bamboo. The following is a breakdown of the processes and materials used by Topseat as well as those used by other manufacturers of toilet seats:
- Molded Wood – Wood flour mixed with a thermosetting resin and compression molded to a specific shape and size. This allows for contouring of all surfaces. The seat is then painted and assembled with hinges. Pros – has weight and often people equate quality with weight. When properly made can last 5-7 years under normal home use. Wood has a low heat transfer efficiency so the seat feels “warmer” than other materials.
- Bamboo – Eco friendly materials – We are developing a molded bamboo powder toilet seat which is very similar with molded wood in working process but with powder from bamboo scraps which is considered a environmentally friendly material because bamboo is not wood but fast growing giant grass. Molded bamboo powder is an alternative in green concept. The bamboo powder comes from machining scrap generated when making bamboo flooring.
- MDF – This is a form of molded wood made by cutting and machining flat boards into toilet seat profiles. All surfaces are then contoured for comfortable seating. Parts are then sanded, painted and assembled. Pros – All the pros of molded wood. Cons – more restrictive design options
- ABS Plastic Injection Molded – There are some overseas producers using ABS. While these seats have a beautiful surface ABS does not have good chemical resistance which causes the seat to shift color within 1 year and often break due to environmental stress within the first 5 years.
- PP Plastic Injection Molded – Most thermoplastic seats are made from PP (polypropylene). The material has good gloss and has a high chemical resistance which makes it a prime material for commercial use. To make the seat the plastic is melted, injected into a cool mold where it assumes the shape and profile of the mold. Hinges can be assembled at the factory or by the final user depending on the design of the seat. Higher heat transfer efficiency makes the seat feel cooler than molded wood or MDF seats. Pros – Strong, flexible (not brittle), chemically resistant. Cons – scratches easily so aesthetics of the surface can degrade more quickly but the color of the scratch reveals the same color within the scratch. Feels cool to the touch.
- Duraplast Compression Molded – Duraplast is a term that became popular about 10 or so years ago. The actual material is a UF resin filled with pigment and finely ground fillers. Because this UF resin is much more sophisticated that the UF resins used in molded wood there typically is no residual formaldehyde in the part. I believe duraplast became popular as a marketing name when there were concerns by consumers about Urea-Formaldehyde resins. Urea – Formaldehyde sounds “dangerous, unhealthy” in some people’s minds. The color is molded through so if the part is scratched it shows the same color below like PP, however, unlike PP is is highly scratch resistant. UF has good chemical resistance but is brittle with less flexibility that PP or even molded wood. Pros – can be molded into shapes and contours similar to PP, good chemical resistance and color stability when properly formulated. Cons – brittle which means additional packaging is required just to get the part to the purchaser in one piece. Feels cold to the touch due to higher heat transfer efficiency.
- Bidet Seats – Also known as washlet seats. Almost all are made from PP (polypropylene) but assembled with additional electric elements that operate the wash and heating functions. Extremely popular in Japan and S. Korea, also popular in Muslim prominent countries. This type of seat has struggled to make inroads into the US market.
- Soft Seats – Most are made by sealing a pp core and open cell foam pad within an envelope of flexible vinyl. While once thought of as comfortable specialty seats they now generally occupy the OPP area. Pros – comfort. Cons – low quality, premature functional failures (split / cut vinyl, cracked / broken cores, degraded foam pad). Primarily made in China.
- Solid wood – The original way of making toilet seats. Lumber is cut into slats and glued together to make a board. The board is machined to the shape of the ring and cover. These are then stained and varnished then assembled. Most solid wood seats are now made overseas. Pros – low heat transfer and natural look. Cons – strength, scratching and poor gluing processes.
- Veneer Seats – Developed over the past 15 years veneer seats are a cost effective alternative to solid wood and environment friendly. A core of wood waste particle is molded to shape and a thin veneer of real wood is molded to the surface using veneer rather than solid wood. This means fewer trees are cut to make veneer seats compared to solid wood seats. After molding the part is sanded, stained and varnished before assembly. Pros – low heat transfer and natural look. Cons – some limits on part design
By Topseat USA