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How to Fit Architrave

Published : 8/11/2017 15:25:25
Categories : Video Guides

For customers looking for information on how to fit architrave, we've produced this step by step guide (including a video).

Tools required for fitting Architrave

Architrave tools

When starting to install architrave around your door, the first step is to mark out where the architrave is to be positioned.

It is important to leave a small gap between the door lining and architrave. This technique is called ‘breaking the edge’ and exists to ensure that architrave is not exposed to the risk of cracking. If you were to fit the architrave flush to the edge of the door lining, repeatedly closing the door would eventually put a strain on the architrave and ultimately end in damage. Allowing a small space (around 4mm) stops this from happening, and allows space to complete the installation with decorator’s caulk for a tidier finish.

To begin, use a ruler or tape measure with a pencil to create a mark 4mm in from the edge of the door lining. Extend the mark around the entire perimeter of the door using a set square to ensure the line always runs parallel to the door lining.

Marking Architrave

Using a pencil and ruler, extend the horizontal and vertical lines beyond the top corners of the door frame to highlight the intersect- the area where the vertical and horizontal architrave will be joined. Take a length of architrave and stand it up vertically against the guideline, and mark the architrave with a pencil in the same place you just marked the intersect on the wall. This will ensure you cut the piece of architrave to the correct height.

plotting architrave cut

Keeping the architrave in hand, use a pencil to mark on the face of the architrave in the direction you will need to cut the architrave. This is to avoid forgetting and cutting incorrectly which could potentially waste a whole piece of architrave!

Set the mitre saw to 45 degrees and cut the architrave length, using the markings you have just made in pencil as a guide. (You can also use a mitre box for this if you do not have a mitre saw)

mitre saw architrave cut

Take the cut piece of architrave and hold it in position on the door frame (using the pencil line you drew on the wall as a guide) to double check it fits correctly before fixing into place.

You are now ready to fix this first length of architrave in position. Use a grab adhesive such as Gripfill or Griptite, and apply it to the reverse of the entire length of architrave. We recommend doing so in a zig-zag fashion (see photo) as you will cover a greater surface area and make a more secure bond to the wall.

adhesive architrave

Once the adhesive has been applied, press into position along the pencil line you drew and hold it in position for a few seconds, before using a nail gun to pin the architrave in place at regular intervals along its length.

pinning architrave first piece

Next, it is time to cut the horizontal piece of architrave. This is essentially the same process as before. The angle remains the same at 45 degrees, but the direction of the cut will be opposite to the first cut you made. You simply have to mark the face of the architrave to show the direction of the cut as before.

Architrave Marking Header

Once the 45 degrees has been cut, hold the piece of architrave flush against both the upright you just installed and the horizontal guideline and mark the point on the architrave where the cut will be made by lining it up with the intersect marking you made on the wall. Again, mark the direction of the cut on the face of the architrave and use the mitre saw to cut it to 45 degrees.

Set Mitre saw to 45 degrees

Once cut, check that it fits correctly as before, then fix it in position using the adhesive and nails just as you did with the first piece.

Pinning Architrave Header

The final piece of architrave is slightly different in that in order to cut it to the correct size, you need to use a tape measure to find the distance between the floor and the BOTTOM of the horizontally installed piece of architrave. Once you have this measurement, create a mark on the final length of architrave where it needs to be cut. Again, mark the face of the architrave as a guide to the direction in which to make the cut on the mitre saw.

Measure Architrave

TIP: If you are cutting a long piece of architrave, you may find that you need extra supports for the length like the ones in the photo below to help keep it in position while you make the cut.

mitre saw extension for cutting architrave

As before, check the length fits perfectly in place before repeating the process of fixing it in place.


Once complete, the only thing left to do is apply some wood filler using a pallet knife to the areas where the nails went in to make a smooth surface. Allow the filler to dry before sanding the excess off to make the architrave ready for painting.

wood filler to architrave

About the Author

Kieron Miller is the Managing Director of Skirting 4 U and has been working in the skirting board and online retail industry since 2012. Kieron has been using his extensive product knowledge and problem-solving experience to help both trade and private consumers all over the country find the perfect skirting board products for their projects. He continues to innovate new solutions and product ideas as the market continues to grow.

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