Perhaps you’re browsing through faucet articles trying to find the perfect fixture for your kitchen or bathroom, and you come across the word ‘escutcheon.’ Or maybe you’re tackling a plumbing project, and the guide you’re following refers to this part.
So, what is it? Do you actually need it in the faucet setup? This article answers all of those questions and more, so stick around!
What is An Escutcheon, Exactly?
An escutcheon is a decorative piece that accompanies many kitchen and bathroom fixture setups. You may also hear them referred to as flanges, deck plates, or cover plates.
Many times, your faucet will come with an escutcheon, whether it’s on the wall or ceiling around a shower arm or resting on the sink deck around the countertop. Many bathtub faucets feature escutcheons, as do toilets (where the pipes meet the wall) and showerheads.
What Is The Purpose Of An Escutcheon?
The primary purpose of the decorative piece is to cover the plumbing hole where the pipes feed through. If you don’t have an escutcheon, you may be able to see through the hole in the wall, ceiling, or countertop.
Covering the gap between the plumbing pipes and whatever the fixture is coming through helps create a more finished look in your kitchen or bathroom. Who wants their bathroom to have a hole in the wall where the shower head attaches to the plumbing? Not us; we’d prefer the clean, finished looks that an escutcheon provides.
What Is An Escutcheon Made Of?
For the most part, escutcheons are made of some type of metal. They may be composed of stainless steel, brass, or any other metal. Generally, the escutcheon features the same finish as the rest of the faucet or fixture.
For example, if the faucet features a stainless steel finish, the accompanying escutcheon usually comes with the same finish. However, if you buy a separate escutcheon, it may not exactly match your faucet.
Some escutcheons feature intricate designs stamped into the metal, while others are plain and simple. Of course, if the escutcheon is behind the toilet or other obscure location, they may not be as pretty.
Do I Need An Escutcheon Plate?
So, if the sole purpose of escutcheon plates is to look pretty, do you actually need one? Well, technically, the answer is no. Some faucets don’t even require a base plate and instead come in a configuration that avoids the extra decoration altogether. For instance, some one-hole faucets don’t require the use of an escutcheon plate.
If you decide not to use an escutcheon plate to cover unused holes or gaps, make sure you keep an eye out for water damage. For instance, consider an escutcheon that covers the gaps between the faucet and the kitchen sink deck. When you’re washing dishes, rinsing vegetables, cleaning, or completing any other task that involves the kitchen sink, you may splash water.
If water regularly splashes up onto the sink deck or countertop, where gaps and holes open to the cabinet beneath, you may deal with water damage problems. While this might not happen in every scenario, it’s an important aspect to consider.
Do You Have To Use An Escutcheon In A Kitchen Faucet?
Nope, you don’t have to use an escutcheon with a kitchen faucet, providing the design allows for it. While almost every new kitchen faucet comes with at least one escutcheon plate, you don’t necessarily have to use it.
However, they can be pretty handy for some scenarios. For example, let’s say your kitchen sink deck or countertop has three pre-drilled holes, but you want to install a single-hole faucet. Since you probably don’t want the extra holes exposed, you can use an escutcheon plate to cover them.
Just like that, you can make a three-hole setup fit for a single-hole faucet design. This is especially great if you have your heart set on a particular faucet model that doesn’t align with your current faucet setup.
How Do You Install An Escutcheon For A Faucet?
If you decide to incorporate an escutcheon into your faucet’s setup, you can easily add it to the installation process. For the most part, escutcheons are attached with screws or caulking. If it comes with a set of screws, attach it using the given hardware.
If it doesn’t have screws, caulk may be necessary to create a watertight seal. Alternatively, many kitchen faucets come with a gasket that creates this seal for you, allowing for a quick and easy installation.
Bathtub faucet, bathroom faucet, and kitchen faucet installations vary in specifics. So, the manner of attaching and sealing the escutcheon varies based on the type you’re installing. In addition, some faucets come with a gasket, while others don’t.
Pay attention to the installation instructions that come with the faucet. If it comes with an escutcheon, there should be instructions on attaching and sealing the plate to whatever surface you’re working with.