What is a wall flange? (with photos)

Flanges used for plumbing fixtures are adjustable or have two outlets.

Anyone who has ever tried to put up a fence or handrail or install a new toilet, sink or shower is no doubt familiar with the term “wall flange”. A wall flange, sometimes referred to as a shield, is a base or bracket with a smooth or threaded collar designed to act as an end fitting to support and secure rails, pipes, ducts, fences, and similar material to a wall. These flanges can be used for a variety of projects, both internal and external, depending on their specific type. Plumbing, fences and railings are some of the most common uses for wall flanges.

Flanges are used to install fixtures on a wall, such as a wall safe.

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 withstand changes in temperature and weather.

Some flanges, usually those used for plumbing fixtures, may be adjustable or have two outlets instead of one. Others come with a clamp connection that can be tightened with a screw. Flanges are also used to install fixtures inside a wall, such as windows or wall safes.

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 of 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 the style of bracket used to mount the flange to the wall.

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Flanges use a variety of measurements to determine suitability or to assist with installation. The outside diameter (OD) of a flange is the measurement of the flange from the outside edges. Thickness refers to the thickness of the hoop or mounting bracket, not to be confused with the part of the collar that holds the material in place. The screw circle diameter measures the distance between the screw holes measured from the center of the hole. Flanges used for plumbing also include the size of the pipe, which works according to a standard system.

Wall flanges can be found at any well-stocked hardware store. For projects that require a specific wall flange, there are several online suppliers that specialize in wall flanges made for a specific task or material. The cost of a wall flange can range from under $5 US to over $100 US, depending on its material and function.

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