How to put up architraves

Architraves are strips of timber moulding used to cover a joint between woodwork and a wall, such as round a door or window frame. They can be decorative or plain.

What you'll need

  • Trimming knife
  • Chisel
  • Pencil
  • Mitre saw or mitre box and tenon saw
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch
  • Cartridge gun
  • Architrave moulding
  • Scrap wood
  • 38mm oval wire nails
  • Woodworking adhesive
  • 25mm panel pins
  • Acrylic mastic


Before you start

  1. Ensure new mouldings are straight, flat and as wide as any you're replacing. If they're narrower, you'll need to redecorate the wall around the door, and there will be a gap between the architrave and the skirting board. If the mouldings are wider, notch the ends of the side pieces so they fit round skirting boards.

    removing an architrave

  2. If you're removing an old architrave, run a knife blade between the architrave and the door frame to break the paint seal. Prise off the top section with a wide chisel while using scrap wood to protect the wall.

    removing side mouldings

  3. Remove the 2 side mouldings. Insert the blade of the chisel under a moulding from the wall edge if you can; otherwise, slide it between moulding and door frame.

    positioning new moulding

  4. Position a length of new moulding against the door frame, with the bottom edge of the moulding resting on the floor. Mark the position of the inside of the mitre joint on it with a pencil.
  5. Check you're sawing in the right direction, then cut the mitre, using a mitre box and tenon saw, or a precision mitre saw.
  6. Hold the moulding against the door frame, line up its inner edge with the paint line on the frame and hammer nails into the moulding. Space the nails about 450mm apart. Use a nail punch to drive the heads just below the surface. Fit the other side moulding in the same way.

    mark mitre joint

  7. Before fixing the top section in place, place a short length of moulding upside down across the tops of the side mouldings, and mark on it the positions of the mitre joints. Then cut the 2 mitres at the marks and sand the edges smooth.

    apply adhesive

  8. Add a little woodworking adhesive to each end of the top section, then position the section between the side mouldings. Fix it to the door frame with 2 nails. Use a damp cloth to remove any visible adhesive.

    adding adhesive

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Filling the gaps 

If plaster on the wall is uneven, there'll be a gap between the architrave and the wall. Fill this gap with a flexible acrylic mastic.

Fit the mastic tube into a cartridge gun and pipe a "bead" of mastic along the joint. Obtain a smooth finish by running a wet fingertip along the mastic.



Pin mitred corners 

For a really thorough job, pin the mitred joints of architraves together, even though they're already glued in place. Pinning will prevent the joints from gradually opening up.

This is most often a problem with door frames in stud partition walls because the walls may move slightly if the door slams and this loosens adhesive holding the joint in place.


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