Carpentry Guides

Fitting Classical Architrave

fitting classical architrave

Fitting a classical-style architrave rather than a standard one can really add a touch of class to your home. There are perhaps houses which would not suit classical-style architrave, but in period houses and houses with larger rooms, this more ornate style can look great.

Classical-style architrave consists of fluted upright sections which butt up to decorative blocks at the top and skirting blocks at the bottom of the door. This style makes the fitting of classical architrave easier than fitting standard architrave as you do not need to mess around with mitred corners. It is even possible to buy this style in kits which simply clip together using hidden plastic or metal clips. For the purposes of this guide, we will look at the traditionally fixed type.

When buying the components for classical-style architrave, make sure you can find skirting blocks which match the design of your existing skirting board. The skirting block will be of thicker material than the skirting board, and also slightly taller, but should match the design as closely as possible. Skirting blocks (and the top corner blocks) should be very slightly wider than the moulding you intend to use for the upright sections of the architrave. If you do not have high, moulded skirting boards, you should perhaps consider whether classical-style architrave is in keeping with the style of the house.

Fitting the Architrave

Fit the skirting block first, keeping the inside edge of the block 6mm in from the edge of the doorway. Fix them to the wall with one or two nails, but do not hammer them all the way in for the moment. Now hold a long piece of the moulded upright section against the side of the doorway, centring it in the middle of the skirting block and making sure it is upright with a spirit level. Mark the wall on both sides of the upright section at the point where is passes the top corner of the doorway.

classical style architrave

Move the upright out of the way for a moment and then hold the top corner block in place. As this should be the same width as the skirting block, hold it at the top corner of the doorway, and then move it 6mm away from the upright edge, and 6mm up from the top edge of the doorway. This should mean that it is directly above the skirting block. Mark its intended position and then measure between the skirting block and the mark for the bottom of the corner block. This is the length you need to cut the upright moulding. With the upright cut to length, nail it in place using 50mm lost-head nails (making sure it is upright and in line before you do). Nail the top corner block in place with the same nails. Now repeat this procedure on the other side of the doorway.

Measure between the two top corner blocks above the doorway and cut a section of the moulding to fit horizontally. Nail this in place with the same 50mm lost-head nails. Use a nail punch to drive all the nails below the surface and fill the holes. Your architrave is now ready to be primed and painted.