How to Remove the Escutcheon Plate

Updated February 21, 2017

Manufacturers make escutcheon plates as ornamentation. Escutcheon plates fit around keyholes, faucets and over drain holes to provide a smooth transition between the substrate and the protruding or recessed device. An escutcheon plate hides rough edges, plumbing pipes and provides protection to the substrate from key scratches and other objects. Detaching an escutcheon plate is necessary to change plumbing fixtures or if the plate incurs damage. Escutcheon plate removal techniques vary depending on the substrate and installation method.

Fit a flat-bladed screwdriver into the slot on the screw head holding the escutcheon plate to the substrate. Turn the screwdriver to the left to loosen and remove the screw. Repeat for all remaining screws. Pull the escutcheon plate off the substrate. Typically, you will find a screw-in escutcheon plate on a door or drawer.

Hold a thin-blade chisel perpendicular to a nailed-in escutcheon plate with the edge of the chisel lined up to the juncture where the escutcheon plate meets the substrate. Gently tap the chisel with a mallet to wedge it in under the plate. Move the chisel around the perimeter of the plate while gently prying the plate off the substrate. After prying the plate off the surface, the small decorative nails will pop out of position. Pull the nails out and remove the escutcheon plate. Usually manufacturers attach escutcheon plate to furniture with small nails.

Turn off the water supply to the sink or tub. Remove the decorative cap on the faucet handles to gain access to the handle's screws. Align a Phillips-head screwdriver with cross-shaped slot on the screw's head, turn the screwdriver to the left to loosen the screws. Remove the screws and the handle, which allows access to the nuts holding the escutcheon plate in place. Tighten an adjustable wrench around the nut on the escutcheon plate, turn the wrench to the left to loosen and remove the nuts. If the escutcheon plate remains in place, wedge a metal putty knife under the plate and pry it off the substrate. Some escutcheon plates screw onto the faucet stem; turn the escutcheon to the left to remove the plate if you do not see nuts under the faucet handle.


Spray silicone penetrating oil on screws or nuts that remain stuck to help break a rust or corrosion bond.


Work carefully to avoid scratching the substrate when removing the escutcheon plate.

Things You'll Need

  • Flat-bladed screwdriver
  • Thin-blade chisel
  • Mallet
  • Phillips-head screwdriver
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Putty knife
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About the Author

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.