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#48 - How to Replace Fire Sprinkler Escutcheons Using Retrofit Escutcheons

Posted by Jason Hugo & Cameron Sharp on 6/3/2016
Fire sprinkler escutcheons are used in buildings with fire sprinkler systems, and serve two roles. First is purely aesthetic, decorating the otherwise open hole in the ceiling. Second is to resist the passage of heat into the attic or area between floors. 

Fire sprinkler systems extend throughout a building’s structure. Escutcheons provide aesthetic appeal to any areas where this fire sprinkler system may protrude. The more important function for escutcheons is their role in helping ceilings resist the passage of smoke/heat. Smoke will travel along the ceiling and enter space between the floors and the attic through a sprinkler cutout if the escutcheon is not present. The publication Life Safety Code, or NFPA 101, requires that ceilings be able to resist the passage of smoke, because fire sprinklers and detectors can become delayed or ineffective!

Provided below will be information on the types of escutcheons that are used, common signs of deterioration or obsolescence, and what steps should be taken when replacing them.  If you’re more interested in ordering escutcheons, skip directly to our full selection of retrofit fire sprinkler escutcheons.

Pendent and sidewall fire sprinklers, commonly found in commercial buildings, schools, hospitals, hotels, and even residential homes, are adorned with fire sprinkler escutcheons. Three styles of sprinkler escutcheons are used in fire protection and they are compatible with standard spray, quick response, and residential pendent and sidewall sprinklers: 


Most commonly found in schools and offices, recessed escutcheons replace sprinkler cutouts in ceilings, walls, and soffits with a low profile, finished appearance. The inner-ring is designed to encircle the sprinkler head at a specified depth within the outer-ring. 


Adjustable escutcheons come as two pieces, a cup and a skirt. They are used when a sprinkler must cover a larger room, because the cup allows for up 2” of adjustment on a standard escutcheon. The cup can be purchased up to 12” long to account for extended coverage needs within a room.


The flat escutcheon is used when the back or bottom of the sprinkler frame is flush with the ceiling. They provide aesthetic appeal by blending in with their environment; making them perfect for covering flush fire sprinklers.  

When to Replace Fire Sprinkler Escutcheons

Nothing good lasts forever. Rust and discoloration are the two most common causes we hear when a customer orders replacement escutcheons. Missing or damaged comes in a distant second. 
Regular sprinkler escutcheons are installed permanently during the initial system build. The escutcheon is fastened to the fire sprinkler’s threads before the sprinkler head is installed. Result? They stay in place unless removed from the sprinkler head after draining the sprinkler system completely. Retrofit escutcheons, fortunately, solve this issue and make replacement much more efficient. 

Retrofit escutcheons have completely transformed the way fire sprinkler escutcheons are replaced. They install by fastening two detachable halves, of either the recessed ring, the adjustable cup, or the flat ring, together around the sprinkler head, while then installing the skirt or beauty ring.  Retrofit escutcheons are available in recessed, adjustable, and flat models to replace nearly any existing escutcheon you might have. 

Here is a step-by-step guide for how to replace fire sprinkler escutcheons with retrofit escutcheons:

Note: we assume it is a pendent sprinkler in ceiling tile.
*Required tools are s step-ladder, and either kitchen shears or pruners

1.) Lift ceiling tile up and create room for your hands to operates

2.) Remove the skirt (adjustable) or outer-ring (recessed) by slowly pulling them down over the sprinkler head

3.) Cut the cup (adjustable) or inner-ring (recessed) using kitchen shears or pruners, and remove from sprinkler head. For flat escutcheons, simply cut plate and remove

4.) Fasten retrofitted inner-ring (recessed) or cup (adjustable) around the sprinkler head; slowly position and fasten detachable component 

5.) Install outer-ring (recessed) or skirt (adjustable) by sliding it up and over the sprinkler head. For flat escutcheons, simply fasted detachable plate around sprinkler head

Now you’re ready to order replacement fire sprinkler escutcheons! While browsing for your replacement, make sure to seek out the same model that was used before; if it was an adjustable escutcheon, get the retrofit adjustable escutcheon. Most importantly, keep in mind that your escutcheon should be metal; you want it to resist the passage of heat!

At QRFS, we stock a complete lineup of retrofit escutcheons. All split-ring (retrofit) escutcheons come in white or chrome and are available for half-inch or three-quarter inch sprinklers. Click the link below to find your perfect replacement escutcheon. 

This blog originally posted by Jason Hugo and Cameron Sharp at QRFS.com/blog on June 3, 2016. If you like what you've read, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or at Twitter @QuickRsponseFS.


Date 10/15/2016
Benjamin Ramos
I have approximately 20 Fire sprinklers that I need to Remove and Install new Skirts/ Escutcheons . The Existing is all Rusty and Corroded. It is installed with the Glass bulb. Can I Send you a Picture of the Existing Sprinkler Escutcheons that needs to be Removed. I was told that with this type that is installed, We would need to turn the Water off to the Building because of the Bulb Style. Any help you can offer will be Appreciated. Aloha, Ben Ramos , Project Manager, General Trades & Services Inc. 94-070 Leokane Street , Suite 201, Waipahu , Hawaii 96797
Date 10/17/2016
Ben Ramos
When you have the time, Can someone Contact me by email, so I can Send you some Pictures. Thank you, Ben Ramos GT&S
Date 11/16/2016
Doug Brower
Can I get a price on the "recessed sprinkler head escutcheon retrofit"

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