Constructing Archways

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Remodeling    by: ITC

One of the problems with taking out a wall between two rooms to make a through-room is that the beam and its supporting piers remain as clear evidence of what has been done. The same applies if you remove a door and frame from their opening to make an open plan access point between two rooms. These functional pieces of the structure can be disguised and made to look more decorative by forming them into curved archways.

There are many ways in which you can construct archways from scratch, using a basic framework of sawn wood clad with hardboard, plywood, drywall or imitation bricks, but probably the easiest is to use prefabricated galvanized steel mesh arch formers. These are fixed in place at the top of the opening and plastered to match the adjoining walls.

Mesh arch formers usually come in four pieces, each piece being half of the face of one side of the arch and half of the associated area of soffit. In this way they can be trimmed down to fit narrow walls, or widened by the addition of extra soffit strips. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes for spans of up to 10ft. Some one-piece versions are also available.

The faces of the prefabricated mesh panels are usually extended at the edges to form mounting flanges which sit flat against the face of the wall. The formers are

secured by driving galvanized masonry nails through the flanges into the wall or by pushing the flanges into dabs of plaster.

If you intend to disguise a newly fitted beam with arch formers, they should be installed before you plaster either the beam or the piers. If you want to improve the look of an existing opening, you will have to cut – away a margin of plaster so that the mounting flanges of the formers will sit back flush against the wall.

Instead of using Bonding plaster for the floating coat, the mesh arch formers should be given a backing coat of Metal Lathing plaster. This hardens to leave a rough finish ready for the application of thin layers of Finish plaster. Rule the finish layer level with any surrounding original plaster.

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