How To Fit Architrave


At Metres Direct we have over 60 different types of architrave to buy in both MDF and solid oak. If you are considering buying from us but are unsure on how to fit architrave then this helpful guide should put your mind at ease.


Fitting architrave around a door frame is a relatively simple job and is one that most competent DIY’ers should be able to undertake without too much difficulty. It can usually by completed by just one person but it may be helpful to acquire a second pair of hands to make handling a little easier.


Like any job, you should start by ensuring you have the correct tools for the task.


Tools required for measuring and fitting architrave:


  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Set Square
  • Wood Filler
  • Nail Gun
  • Strong adhesive/Gripper Glue
  • Pallet Knife
  • Nail Gun
  • Mitre Saw or Mitre Square


Step 1: Measuring & Marking Your Fit


The first stage is to mark up and measure your architrave. You will usually be making three cuts; two vertical pieces followed by a horizontal piece. The two vertical pieces of architrave will be joined to either end of the horizontal piece using 45 degree angled cuts to provide a flush finish.


Before measuring you will need to mark around the door where your architrave is going to be placed. To do this you will be using a set square and a pencil.


Tip: Remember to leave a gap of around 4 or 5mm around the door lining or where you are going to position your architrave. This ‘breaking the edge’ technique prevents the architrave from cracking in the future and will prevent damage occurring which may happen if you position the architrave flush to the edges.


Ensuring you leave a gap of around 4mm from the edge of the door lining, you will now need to mark a straight line using a set square to ensure you position your architrave perfectly parallel to the door lining. Mark this line all the way around the doorway remembering to leave the 4mm gap along the top horizontal edge too.


For your vertical edges, be sure to mark just above the top horizontal edge so you can mark where the two pieces will meet.


Once your marking is completed it is time to measure your architrave for cutting. The easiest and simplest way to do this is to take a piece of architrave and place it in position using your marked lines as a guide and then mark your architrave where it needs to be cut. When doing this, either mark the architrave in the direction the cut needs to be made or make a mental note.


Tip: When marking your architrave for cutting, if you are slightly unsure always mark with a little extra in mind. You can always cut more off if needed but you can’t add it back on later.


Step 2: Cutting & Fixing The Architrave


Now it is time to cut the architrave to create an angle that can be joined. Take the piece that you have marked and set the mitre saw to a 45 degree angle. Make the cut and place the architrave in position to check that it is the correct length. If you have cut the length slightly too long then mark again and execute another cut until you have the perfect length.


Once you are happy with your architrave length you can fix it to the wall. The easiest and recommended way to do this is to use a strong adhesive such as gripper glue combined with a nail gun to ensure a secure fit.


Apply the gripper glue to the rear of the architrave in a zig-zag manner and then carefully position your architrave in line with your pencil marking around the doorway. Push the architrave against the wall and hold it in position for around 10 seconds.


Once the gripper glue feels like it has started to bond you should take the nail gun and pin the architrave to the wall for added strength. Intervals of around 6-10 inches should provide plenty of extra strength in the fix.


Now you are ready to make your horizontal cut which you will do in much the same way as the first but with the 45 degree cut being the opposite to the last cut you made. Again, mark with a pencil the direction of the cut and follow the process for cutting and fixing the architrave as outlined above.


Step 3: Cutting And Fixing The Final Piece


For the final piece you will need to use a tape measure to measure the cut rather than holding it in place. To measure the length of architrave needed you should measure from the floor to the bottom of the horizontal architrave. This will give you the minimum measurement so you can mark your architrave with the direction of the cut required.


The remainder of this process is the same as above, using a mitre saw or mitre square to make the 45 degree cut and then applying the architrave to the wall using the technique described.


Step 4: Finishing Touches

Before painting your architrave you should finish it with wood filler to cover the nails/pins and also finish any edges with decorators caulk. To cover the nails use a pallet knife and wood filler to cover the nails smoothly.


Allow wood filler and caulk to dry and your architrave is now ready for painting.