Decorating your door isn’t limited to painting or adding specific styles to the face of the door. In this guide, you’ll learn what an architrave is and how to fit one to ensure your door looks as neat and decorative as possible.

Table of contents:

What is architrave?

The architrave is what is used to decorate around a door, window or loft hatch. It comes in a wide variety of styles and materials to suit the needs of the installer and to compliment your internal doors. They’re great for hiding the leftover paintworks right on the edge of the door frame or even just as a standard decorative feature.


Cable and pipe detection

You or perhaps plumbers and electricians may need access to certain cables or piping in the future. So checking for hidden pipes or cables can save you worry about having to remove the newly attached architrave in future. If you do find any and would rather get possible changes out the way first, contact professionals to discuss alternative solutions.


Use a tape measure and draw 6mm marks from the inner edge of the door casing. This needs to be done on both sides and across the top of the door casing. Then join these marks using a spirit level on a straight edge. You should have three lines. This will support architrave alignment.

Following this, measure the line you drew across the top. Mark its length onto the inner edge of the architrave, leaving enough room at either end for mitre cuts. For mitre cuts, you will need to lightly mark the direction you intend to cut onto the architrave.

Cutting the architrave

After measurements, place the architrave into the mitre box (flat side down). Use a tenon or fine tooth saw to make two 45-degree mitre cuts into the architrave. The mitre cuts are angled in opposite directions so the outer edge is wider than the inner edge when it comes on both sides of the door. From there you can sand the ends to make them smoother for a finer fit.

Fitting the architrave

Step 1: Apply adhesive

Using adhesive, apply it to the back of the architrave. Be sure to check manufacturer instructions as some adhesives may be stronger or weaker than others.

Step 2: The headpiece

This is the piece that will be placed above the door. Where your 6mm marking is, place the headpiece along that line and ensure the mitred corners are aligned with the marks on the sides of the frame. To support the headpiece as it sets, hammer four nails through the architrave and into the door casing.

Note: You can use nails instead of adhesive or vice versa. However, if you want a cleaner fit, obtain stronger adhesive or fill in nail holes once they have been removed.

Step 3: Cutting the side pieces

You will need to measure from the floor to the bottom of the headpiece. Mark this distance onto both sections of the architrave you plan to attach to the sides of the door frame.

As before, mark the intended direction of the mitre cut onto the side pieces – make sure you leave one side piece end cut square as this will be sitting on the floor. Make sure one outer edge of each side piece mitre is taller than the inner edge and sand to prepare for a smoother fitting.

Note: Test the mitre joint, adjust if necessary, before securing it in place.

Step 4: Fitting the side pieces

Like the headpiece, you will need adhesive and nails. Fit each side piece one at a time. Apply PVA glue to one end of the headpiece and the mitre cut on the side piece. This is where the two shall meet and it can help support you when it comes to fixing the architrave in place.

Once all this has been done, your new architrave is complete!

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