They are sometimes merely decorative plates around pipe penetrations. They come in all shapes and sizes, depending on what purpose they are serving. For example, the one on a kitchen sink faucet is sometimes big enough to cover all three holes in the sink while providing a decorative seat and cover for the hot and cold water lines–as well as the spout.
In some instances escutcheon plates might be held in place with little nails called “escutcheon pins.” I don’t see them so much any more–they stay in place by friction, caulk or screws.
At a shower fixture, like the picture above, the escutcheon plate allows for access to the valve inside the wall for maintenance or repairs. It also makes the area water tight, preventing water from getting into the wall.
So now that we know what an escutcheon plate is, we come to the next question.
Where the heck is the escutcheon plate?
This installation is not likely to keep water out of the wall and it certainly is going to make maintenance and repairs difficult.
Sometimes escutcheon plates are not only decorative–they are essential.
By Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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