Q: My mother is getting on in age and I help out the best I can. She needs a new toilet seat and I told the family to leave it up to me. I don’t want to mess this favor up, so what do I need to think about before starting this job?

A: Removal of the old toilet seat can sometimes be the toughest part of this job. Start by checking the condition of the old toilet-seat bolts to determine if they have corrosion issues or if access to the bolts may not be standard. Consult a plumber if you think the job may be above your skill level.

When choosing the new seat, keep these basics in mind:

Color. If you’re working on a toilet that isn’t white, bring along a photo (or color sample, if possible) to the supply house to find the seat that best matches your existing color.

Size. Toilet bowls and seats come in two basic sizes, so be sure to get the one that will fit your toilet. “Elongated” seats look egg-shaped, while the shorter “round-front” seats are more of a circle.

Add-ons. If you really want to impress Mom, include some nice features with her new seat. Slow-closing hinges, non-slip rubber bumpers and built-in night lights are all available upgrades to a basic seat.

Ed Del Grande is a master plumber, contractor and author. Send questions to eadelg@cs.com.