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What is a Wall Flange?

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  • Written By: L. E. Talbert
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Anyone who has ever tried to put up a fence or a railing or to install a new toilet, sink or shower is undoubtedly familiar with the term "wall flange." A wall flange, sometimes referred to as an escutcheon, is a base or bracket with a plain or threaded collar designed to act as a terminal fitting to support and attach railings, pipes, ductwork, fencing and similar material to a wall. These flanges can be used for a variety of projects, either indoors or outdoors, depending on their specific type. Plumbing, fences and railings are some of the most common uses for wall flanges.

There are many types of flanges built to suit a variety of projects. A flange should be chosen based on its strength, method of attachment and suitability for its specific function. Flanges made for outdoor use, for example, are built to resist changes in temperature and weather.

Some flanges, usually those used for plumbing fixtures, can be adjustable or have two outlets rather than one. Others come with a clamp fitting that can be tightened with a screw. Flanges are also used to install additions within a wall, such as windows or wall safes.

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Wall flanges can be decorative or functional or both, depending on their purpose. Decorative wall flanges can be found in a variety of metals, such as brass, stainless steel, chrome or nickel. Purely functional wall flanges are also sometimes made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cast iron or a similar material. Wall flanges come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, both in terms of functionality and in the style of bracket used to mount the flange to the wall.

Flanges use a variety of measurements to determine suitability or to aid in installation. A flange's outside diameter (OD) is the measurement of the flange from the outside edges. The thickness refers to the thickness off the attaching rim or bracket, not to be confused with the portion of the collar that holds the material in place. Bolt circle diameter measures the distance between bolt holes measured from the center of the hole. Flanges used for plumbing also include pipe size, which runs according to a standard system.

Wall flanges can be found at any well-stocked hardware store. For those projects that require a specific wall flange, there are a number of online vendors that specialize in wall flanges made to a specific task or material. The cost of a wall flange can range from less than $5 US Dollars to more than $100 USD, depending on its material and function.

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