How to fit architraves
Architraves are the decorative timber trims that are fitted around doors, windows and, on occasion, loft hatch openings. They hide the joints between the door and surrounding plasterwork and allow for any shrinkage that may occur. For one side of a door, there are three architraves which make up a set consisting of a horizontal piece and two vertical legs or jambs. This guide illustrates the best way to replace old architraves.
Level of difficulty
Level 2: Intermediate
What you need
- Scrap wood
- Mitre box
- Wood putty
The steps to follow
Most door architrave mouldings are nailed on door linings. Because they are nailed on door linings, the architraves are easier to remove than skirting boards.
Removing the existing architrave:
1. Slide a putty knife or a utility knife between the architrave and the wall to cut through any paint or wallpaper. Follow the same procedure between the face of the architrave and the door lining.
2. Next drive a chisel down the wall to pry away the top section of the architrave. Insert a piece of scrap wood in between the chisel and the surface to protect the plaster. If the mitred corners are fixed on the wall, lever them while you pry the top section of the architrave.
3. Drive the chisel behind the mitred edge of the side sections and lift it up. Remove any nails and fixings with a pair of pliers.
Replacing with a new architrave:
4. Place a new section of architrave on the horizontal inside edge of the door frame and mark the length on the architrave. With the use of a mitre box, make a 45 degree angle cut on both ends of the architrave.
5. Fix this section of the architrave on top of the door frame with two or three nails partly driven into the new architrave and the wall to temporarily pin it in position.
6. Repeat the same procedure for the left and right hand side of the door frame. Mark the inner and outer ends of the mitres on it and make a 45 degree angle cut with a mitre box.
7. Secure the architraves with nails.
8. Flatten the nailed surface with wood putty and smooth it with sandpaper.
9. To finish off, apply a coat of primer to the architraves.