Tips on How to Build an Archway

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how to build an archwayIf you’re looking to add a little elegance and airiness to your home, the flow can be nicely enhanced by adding an archway between rooms. You will want to avoid messing about with load bearing walls, but otherwise it is a pretty straightforward affair. Here are some tips on removing a wall or simply expanding an existing doorway to create an appealing archway between rooms.

Tips on How to Build an Archway

1. First you’ll want to protect your furnishing, so remove them from the area or cover them with plastic sheeting. There will be construction dust generated by this job so you can reduce the inconvenience to the rest of the household by covering and sealing off doors and doorjambs. Also, open windows in the affected rooms.

2. Start by removing wall trim by cutting through paint sealing trim to the wall. A utility knife will do the job. Insert a putty knife to separate the trim and then you can use a crowbar for the final stages. Now you can use a reciprocating saw’s blade to cut any frame nails. Now, you should be able to remove all the trim.

3. You’ll now open up the wall using the reciprocating saw to cut near the corners to prevent later ceiling and wall damage. Whether you’re working with either drywall or regular plaster walls, begin by pounding a hole in the wall with a hammer and pry off the wall covering. For lathe and plaster, knock off the plaster. Clean up the debris and then remove the lathe.

4. Now you’ll need to remove the wall studs so that you can create the archway. Saw each stud you need to remove in half. Once they are severed, twist each top section until it pulls free from the top of the wall frame and do likewise with the bottom halves. Now you need to cut away the bottom section of the wall frame, the sole, and pull it up from the floor. Now you can remove and discard all the wood debris.

5. Now, you’ll make a partial circle, partial ellipse or half-circle from cardboard that is the right size for the arch you want to create. You’ll want to be certain that it fits the space you have available for your arch. Use tape to hang it in the opening to confirm it does fit and allows enough headroom. Once you’re certain of your cardboard mock-up, mark and cut two arches from 1/2-inch plywood from this pattern.

6. You’re now ready to cut a 6-foot-long 2-by-4 down to 2 1/2 inches wide, about 2 inches narrower than the wall’s total thickness. After that you should cut the 2-by-4 into three pieces: one top block and two side blocks. Nail these to the existing framing at and near the top of the opening. Center each piece to the framing so the 1/2-inch arch plywood on each side will fit flush to the frame when nailed into place, which you now should do.

7. Now, we want to create short support blocks from a 2-by-4. These are attached with screws between the arch sections at 6-inch intervals. Cut the hardboard into 1/8-inch strips and nail these to the arch blocks along the plywood’s curves and also down both sides of the opening to the floor. The hardboard provides a solid backing for the drywall.

8. Drywall can now be fixed over both sides of the arch’s face. Allow it to overhang. Cut out the curve of your arch using a drywall saw. You’ll need strips of bendable 1/4-inch drywall. Start 6 inches below the arch curves and push it against the hardboard edge, bending it around the curves. Hammer in two nails every 6 inches. Finish the sides with straight drywall strips.

9. Finally, finish up by applying flexible plastic corner bead to both edges. Run the bead around the curve to the floor on both sides. Staple it every 3 inches. You can use standard drywall tape for regular seams. Mix up some joint compound to cover the corner bead and drywall seams. Apply three coats of this, allowing the necessary drying time between each. Then just sand, prime, paint and finish off the wall.

Removing a wall to create an arch is a rewording project, but takes some care. Hopefully these tips on how to build an archway will help you with your home improvement project.

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