Feb 202018

Just wondering if anyone has any additional ideas for a project we have currently. The situation is an elderly lady who side transfers onto a toilet seat which she wants to be padded for comfort. She transfers with some force too.

Original OT supplied padded toilet seat was soft enough – but very flimsy and the hinges would be very likely to break under side transfer. Investigation confirmed that the padding was on a backing of thin plywood about 4mm thick – so any brackets fixed to it, to locate it on the pan would likely pull through the plywood over time. The hinges secure into T nuts in the plywood – but the PVC covering is vinyl welded all around so they can’t be retrospectively fitted in other places without re-covering the seat.

We located and tried a couple of higher quality alternatives – but none of these have proven soft enough like the original. Currently, we are working on the following ideas:

  1. Silicone rubber moulding an entire seat ourselves. We have located a product that is mixed and poured at room temp – but don’t have any experience of this type of material, and wondered if anyone else did?  This seems a lot of effort in creating the mould for something that might not work as well as we might hope.
  2. Creating a seat ourselves (or recovering the original once it has been modified to take T nuts) – but none of us have experience of welding PVC seams, which are needed for hygiene reasons. Anyone with experience of getting something like that done? Presumably there are companies who specialise in PVC welded products but we haven’t found any yet.
  3. Seeing if we can do anything to replace the hinges on the original with something far stronger that will hold the seat in position from the back in spite of the force from the side.
  4. Seeing if we can find something that will anchor into thin plywood strongly enough from one side, such as D nuts. Anyone any experience of those in material as thin as 4mm, or can suggest any alternative?

Thoughts appreciated!




  10 Responses to “Padded toilet seat saga”

  1. HI,
    I have fairly recently manufactured and fitted a plastic coated steel hinge for a portly Client whom was beraking the hinges on every seat supplied by Social Services, I am not quite sure of what action isrequired regarding the rest of the seat. I am sure that Shrewsbury panel vice- chair Mrs. Debbie Harris will be able to give more information as to the lasting stability of the seat to date
    as it was made for one of her Clients.

    • Thanks Alberto – I’ll follow that up. My colleague running with the project has tried something with the hinge I think – but it would be good to find something that works!

  2. Most silicone rubbers have a tendency to be cold and clammy although you will achieve the comfort levels as it is very rubbery it will no doubt be cold to contact. I would suggest using a two part foaming polymer from Bentley Chemicals. If you took a standard wooden seat and cut a gap in the back to make a horse shoe effect then using 100mm polythene tubing available from Martins Mill Packaging Ltd Poor in the mix and zip tie both ends of the tube at the hinge end. Depending on Mix quantity and foam density you will have a washable padded seat that will last a number of years that should be close to room temperature. To get the quantities right practice with just the tube at first.

    • Sorry i forgot to add that you pull the tube over the wooden seat like a sock then poor in the chemicals so they fill the tube round the wooden seat.

      • That’s an interesting thought Gary – and certainly sounds a lot easier than creating a mould. I take it the polymer has a sufficiently smooth surface that it could be wiped clean?

        A gap at the back (assuming the hinge is two piece) won’t make much difference to strength if blocked/bracketed into the pan anyway, plus could be bridged afterwards

  3. Could the proprietary item, ref padded seat be bonded/glued to a more substantial base, for example Plywood! coated in polyurethane varnish, or a readily available wooden seat.(MDF. is rather prone to bulging due to moisture ingress).
    An alternative is HDPE, (used in kitchen chopping boards), very strong, may be easier to bond Velcro and corresponding to the 4 mm plywood.

    This new base could be used to hinge the modified assembly.

    I note that Mr Jack Rae, has also suggested used some positive guides in addition to reduce the side loads on the hinges.I concur.

    Best Regards John.

    • That’s definitely a thought John. I have a feeling the PVC covering might be stuck direct onto the plywood underneath, which raises the possibility sections could be cut out to give a wood-wood waterproof resin glue joint. Also, the hinges go into T nuts – so if the machine screws are replaced with longer ones, that actually secures the additional board very effectively at the back anyway.

      The only little niggle I can see is the fact the joint between the original seat and backing board will need to be sealed to stop germs being held in the gap.

      • Hi Ian,
        Thank you your comments, I see some very good ideas from fellow members.

        Yes, sealing against germ propagation / difficult to clean areas is highly problematic, taking an idea from some very old lavatory seat design consisting of a heavy wooden non full circle frame with a single rubber pad each side of the pan.
        This may allow some of the ideas concerning use of silicone tubing/moulding proposal. These could be affixed by various means, by press stud to allow removal for cleaning. This does replace the original item, and not the most asethetic solution.

        I found a website supplying seat additions, may help in the design process, I searched for “Lavatory Seats in Mental Institutions”, the rationale was for heavy duty products.


        Best regards John

  4. With respect to requirement (3).
    I once had a not too similar problem with the client tearing the toilet seat from its hinges.
    The solution was to fit some plastic (n my case teflon) block to the underside of the seat which located within the pan bowl. Once the seat was ‘down’ it became incapable of sliding sideways.

    • Thanks Jack – sorry, I might not have been clear in my original posting. When I said brackets – I had in mind something along the same lines as I think you’re describing. I just wish we were dealing with a conventional moulded or timber seat so we had something half decent to put screws into for any blocks/brackets.

      But the block idea has just given me a thought. If we get a very precise moulding for the block (say using polymorph), that would probably reduce the stress on any screw fixing into the seat anyway. So far, my only other idea for dealing with that (other than trying a shortened D nut) is to run a tap through the plywood and superglue a threaded stud into it – and mount the bracket/block to that.

      Maybe if we do two blocks front, and two back – we might just get away with it.

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