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How to install architraves

Everything you need to know in easy-to-follow steps and video guides.

How to install architraves

Everything you need to know in easy to follow steps and video guides.


Installing window architraves

Planning & preparation

Ensure you have the required tools and equipment, and have sufficient architrave to complete the job. At Intrim we recommend you allow a minimum of 15% scrap when installing architraves.

Tools and equipment

  • Combination square or marking gauge
  • Sharp pencil
  • Mitre saw
  • Nail gun or hammer and punch
  • PVA adhesive
  • Damp cloth
  • Ear muffs or plugs

Step-by-step visual guide for installing a window architrave

1 Mark the quirk

Mark the quirk or step (distance between inside edge of window reveal and inside edge of the architrave, normally 5mm, but may vary depending on client requirements) on all corners as well as at intervals between corners. These points are used for measuring the short lengths of architrave as well as a guide for positioning inside edge of architrave when nailing in place.

2 Measure distance between corner quirk points

Measure the distance between corner quirk points which represents the short length of your 45 degree mitre cuts. We are installing the right side architrave first and then working around the window in an anticlockwise direction

3 Cut mitre on both ends

Cut a 45 degree mitre cut on both ends of a piece of architrave and add 5mm to the distance measured on step 2.

4 Mark the top quirk point

Position the architrave so the bottom 45 degree mitre cut is held in relation to the bottom quirk intersection point and then remark the top intersection quirk point.

5 Trim the top piece to meet the quirk point

Trim the top 45 degree mitre cut so it meets the top quirk intersection point exactly and nail in position. Nail into the window reveal first, keeping the inside edge of the architrave parallel with quirk points and then nail to plaster and timber framework behind.

Repeat steps 2 and 3.

6 Check top right end position

Position right end top 45 degree mitre cut in position, keeping it in line with the quirk points and maintaining the inside edge parallel with the top window reveal. Press top right mitre cut down firmly against the side top mitre cut and observe how neat the fit is. If there is a slight gap on inside or outside of the 45 degree mitre cut, then re-adjust the mitre saw and recut to make the mitre joint a neat fit.

7 Trim top architrave to length

Position the right end of the top architrave neatly against the side architrave that is already fixed in place and then mark the left quirk intersection point and trim to length.

8 Apply glue and nail in place

Apply PVA glue on the right end of top architrave and position and nail in place as per Step 5.

9 Repeat for remaining sides

Wipe off excess glue from the corner mitre joint with a damp cloth. Repeat steps 6 to 10 with the last two pieces of architrave to complete the installation. The architrave is now ready to sand and paint.

Frequently asked questions

Does architrave go to the floor?

Architraves when framing a door run to the floor, with the skirting board butting into the side of the architrave. Sometimes a skirting block is used instead, meaning that the architraves run into the top of the block, and the skirting board comes out of the side of the block. This is useful when a different profile design, or thickness is used, or to create a more decorative finish.

What trade installs architraves?

At Intrim we are the mouldings manufacturer and do not offer a direct installation service. Architraves are generally installed by a carpenter, builder or can be DIY following our instructions.

Do you glue architraves?

Architraves are glued to hold the 45 degree join together. Intrim Intense Grip Adhesive can be used to apply an 66mm wide x 18mm thick architrave without nails, however larger architraves are recommended to be nailed due to the weight. If window coverings are going to be installed directly onto the architrave, the glue only method will likely not be strong enough therefore will need to be nailed aswell to support the weight of the moulding and the window covering.

How do I install a curved architrave?

Curved architraves are made to order, and are provided ready to install. Learn more about curved architraves and how to order them here.
Step-by-step guide for installing a curved architrave

Tips for architrave installation

Tip 1

Check to make sure the edge of door jamb or window reveal is flush or level with the finished wall lining surface, as the architrave will sit flat when installed.

Tip 2

Check all doorjambs are packed level and plumb and the door fits neatly within the jamb when closed, before installing architraves.

Tip 3

Check window is packed level and square prior to installation of architraves.

Tip 4

Check all door jambs or window reveals are straight from one end to the other. Long span door and window heads need special attention with this, as they are inclined to bow or twist

Tip 5

Always maintain an even quirk or step between inside edge of architrave and inside edge of door jamb or window reveal.

Installing door architraves

The only difference between installing a window architrave and a door architrave is the door has 2 sides and one head, meaning the bottom cut on the two sides are square (where the architraves meet the floor or skirting block) and the top cuts are 45-degree mitre cuts. The rest of the process is the same.

Step-by-step guide for installing a curved architrave

1 Place pre-ordered curved architrave in place and pin

Place curved head architrave in place and pin, allowing for a quirk or step off reveal edge (typically 5mm). Trace around the inside and outside edge of curved architrave.

2 Place 2 side uprights in place & trace the outline

Place two side upright architraves in place and pin, allowing for 5mm quirk or step. Trace around inside and outside edges of both upright architraves. Take particular care where the line tracings intersect with the curved head lines.

3 Working out the cutting lines

Remove the upright architraves, and the trace lines will be left on the wall. Draw lines connecting the intersection points of the curved and the straight lines. The angle lines may then be transferred onto the architraves by two options:

a) using a sliding bevel or a combination square; or

b) pin the curved architrave in place. transfer the intersection points to the inside and outside edges of the architrave. Join these points to form the angle to be cut. Repeat this process with the top of the straight upright architraves.


Trim the architraves to the lines marked on them and install.

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