Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Remodeling    by: ITC

The idea of an architrave is to hide the join between a door or window frame or lining and the surrounding plaster

A loose architrave can be nailed back in place to the door frame, or even screwed to the surrounding masonry if you drill right through it with a masonry bit and insert wall- plugs to take the screws. But removal and fixing are both easier than for skirting, so replacement is usually the sensible alternative to major repairs. You just lever the existing architrave off, and nail the new one on.

On a brick or block wall, you usually nail through the molding’s inner edge and into the doorframe, lining or ‘wrought grounds’ with 25 mm (1 in) oval nails; lost-head nails or panel pins can also be used. But if necessary you can nail through the middle of the molding and into the wall itself, using cut nails for medium-hard blocks if you like, and masonry nails for bricks and hard blocks. If you find that there are rough (concealed) grounds between the plaster and the frame or lining, then nail into those. On a stud wall, nail into the studs.

At the bottom, the upright pieces butt against the floor and the ends of the skirting. At the_ top the corners are mitred. A good idea is to start by cutting off three pieces of molding which are manageable but still slightly too long. Then you can mark off the heights of the two upright ones (which may of course differ a bit, depending on whether the floor is flat or level), mitre their top ends and fix them loosely to the wall.

This makes it easy to mark off the exact length of the top piece. Mitre its ends, position it, and make any adjustments – by moving the uprights slightly, and even shaving the mitred ends with a sharp chisel or block plane if necessary. Then nail all three pieces finally in place, and pin the mitres from the top as for skirting boards.

When mitring, always make quite sure you’re cutting the right way round. That sounds silly, but you’ll find it’s all too easy to waste whole pieces by mistake

Failing that, a hacksaw should do the job.

In certain places — eg, the backs of alcoves — the skirting board is held in position by the two pieces at right angles to it. So, unless you remove at least one of those first, sawing the board out is your only option. A flooring saw may work. Otherwise drill a series of holes in line dOwn the face of the skirting, and use a chisel to chop out the waste between the holes so you can prise out the two ends of the board. Pipework and other obstacles sometimes force the same solution.

If a length of skirting refuses to come away completely, you may still be able to make sawing easier by levering enough of it out to push timber wedges behind it. In all cases, it’s best to saw at an angle of 45° across the thickness. If you’re just removing a section, cut the new piece to the same angle when you come to fix that in place.

Always use 45° cuts, rather than butt joins, if you have to make up a long piece from two shorter ones. They’ll be less conspicuous, especially if you site the join near an out-of- the-way corner.

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