How To Look At A House
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What is an escutcheon plate?
Sunday, July 15, 2018
An escutcheon plate is the disc around a plumbing pipe or a fixture handle at the wall penetration that seals the wall opening. The photo above shows a chrome escutcheon plate where the water supply pipe for a toilet enters the wall. You will also find escutcheon plates at the pipe penetrations under sinks and behind water heaters. The base plate that seals a faucet to a sink and the large disc around a mixing valve in a shower are both also escutcheon plates. We occasionally see the word used to refer to the disc surrounding a door lock, but it is more commonly called a “rose”.
The escutcheon plate is necessary at a shower valves and sink faucets to keep water from leaking behind them, while the escutcheons underneath sinks and at toilets are used to close any small gap around the opening in the wall, which makes a neater installation and deprives insects and small vermin of a nesting place in the wall.
Although an escutcheon is integral with a shower valve or sink faucet, it is a separate piece at pipe/wall penetrations and is required to be installed by plumbing codes: “Collars or escutcheon plates shall be provided to cover the openings around pipes penetrating walls, floors, or ceilings in finished areas that are exposed to view.”
We typically see missing escutcheon plates under kitchen and bathroom sinks that have been remodeled by a homeowner or handyman. The one-piece escutcheon plates that were originally installed cannot be replaced without disassembling piping, so there is a ragged opening around each pipe penetration, like in the photo below.
The solution is a split-ring escutcheon plate, shown below and available at hardware and big-box home improvement stores, which can be retrofitted easily around each pipe.
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