How to replace architrave and update your doors

We’ve recently cracked on with doing up our home of five years. We’ve been tackling many of the original tasks we put off for years due to the time, money and mess involved!  One of these tasks was to salvage or replace the door architrave.  We were very kindly offered some new door architrave from Skirting World so it was time to stop putting off this task and update our doors!

In this blog post I will share my review of Skirting World architrave.  If you’re also wondering how to fit architrave then read on.  At the end of this blog post, I’ll share a guide from a professional handyman on how to replace door architrave.

Our living room makeover story

We’ve been giving our living room an almost total makeover.  It’s unrecognisable from the room that was here when we bought the property.  Within the first year of moving in we painted over the dated artex ceilings and walls, replaced white vertical blinds with horizontal real oak blinds, removed black iron light fixtures and replaced with spotlighting and hanging pendant lighting over the dining table, ripped up the cheap laminate flooring and put down thicker oak effect planks, removed the old-fashioned stone and concrete fireplace and wall surround, had a log burner installed and installed new skirting boards.


We hated the dated artex, but we only had so much budget so decided to paint it all white and live with it for the time being.  That time has now ended and we finally had it removed a few weeks ago and the walls and ceilings plastered.  It took around one week to dry, but then we had a holiday for six days, so we only just got around to painting the room.  We’ve practically had no living room or dining for over three weeks now!  We have a living room / dining room in one.

We decided to also paint our skirting boards white to elongate the walls. We live in a chalet bungalow with low ceilings downstairs, but normal upstairs.  I’m not really a fan of the low ceilings and wish we had tall ceilings downstairs.  There are lots of tricks to make a low ceiling room feel bigger such as investing in window dressings that accentuate the space from bespoke curtain makers London who will be experts in knowing how to make a window feel taller.  We did fit wooden skirting when we moved in, but this made the room feel shorter.  We decided to paint this white to lengthen the walls and give the impression of taller rooms downstairs.  Plus this white skirting will look much better with the white architrave we have from Skirting World.

As the living room will feel so much fresher and modern with the dated Artex gone and freshly painted, I didn’t fancy putting our old sofas back in the room or even the old door.

When moving we quickly bought some ‘these will do’ sofas from an outlet instead of choosing some we really liked.  We’ve now ordered some bright orange sofas instead.  These are the first sofas I’ve ever properly chosen for my house and I’m 34 years old!  I’m so excited!

One has arrived, but it’s still in the wrapping whilst we decorate and the other is due soon.  We have chosen a slouchy sofa for one side of the room and a cool retro sofa to go opposite.  It’s going to look great.

When we moved in to our home we replaced all the doors, but made a mistake.

The doors here were all different and big board type doors.  They looked awful and many had layers of paint on from the years.

We chose wooden doors, but literally got the cheapest available at around £25 per door.  As the saying goes ‘buy cheap, buy twice’.

All our doors warped and some of them have never been able to close!

Now we are going to replace the doors for some slightly pricier white doors that are stronger and already finished so they shouldn’t warp.  We’ll actually be able to close our bedroom door for the first time ever!

We will start with replacing the downstairs doors as the living room is our project right now.

Replacing our door architrave with Skirting World

Another job we had avoided and put off was the architrave.  It looks years old and with several layers of paint on it, dirt and chips.

Ben’s original plan was to sand it all back and repaint it.  A job that is very time consuming and will make a lot of mess.   Needless to say, in just over five years of living here he has never got round to it!

Other jobs always seemed much more appealing!

We decided it was probably just best to replace the existing architrave with new architrave instead.  It would save a lot of time and mess.  Plus it would look a lot better.

Luckily it was as if Skirting World knew our dilemma with the doors and they reached out to offer us some architrave to review.  The timing couldn’t have been better as we were already in the middle of our living room makeover!

They kindly sent us some door architrave so we have been able to replace our living room door architrave with new before we add our new doors.

Ben is no stranger to replacing architrave as he regularly replaces it for his customers.  He works as a handyman and regularly updates homes with new architrave being a popular home improvement, especially in older style homes.

Just recently he replaced a customer’s architrave throughout and he commented on how much better it made the house look.  This was his reasoning for us replacing ours now instead of trying to salvage what we already had!

Skirting World Review

There is a huge amount of choice for architrave designs at Skirting World.  We wanted something very simple and chose one of their best sellers: bulldog MDF architrave.  This is a very simple architrave that’s easy to clean.  There are no inner grooves or places for dust to hide!  It just has a slight rounded edge, but otherwise is a simple architrave strip with no fuss.

I was worried they didn’t have the size we wanted at 44mm wide as they only list 70mm and 95 mm on the website, but they informed me they cut all the architrave to size in-house so I was able to order 44mm.  If you can’t see exactly what you need on their website then contact them to see if they’re able to custom make exactly what you need.

They were very helpful with my order and clearly know architrave inside out!  I was also able to pick a delivery date and given a time window.  This was confirmed by email and text before the delivery day and on the day itself.  I was well informed throughout the whole process.

The architrave from Skirting World was exactly as ordered and their website offers great prices too.  They say they offer the cheapest quotations without compromising on quality, so if you need architrave, door frames, skirting or window boards then give them a go.  They’re super friendly in my experience and deliver on their promises.

The delivery arrived as expected and Ben got straight on with fitting the new architrave to our living room.

He’d already yanked off our old architrave when we were painting the living room and was ready to go!

How to replace white door architrave

If you’re wondering how to replace white door architrave then read on.  Below is a guide from handyman Ben on how to replace your white door architrave with new.

Step 1: How to remove old architrave

  • Run a Stanley knife or sharp blade along the edge of the existing architrave. This will give you access to lever the old architrave away from the wall and prevent pulling the plaster away.
  • Use a chisel to tap into the side of the architrave to loosen it even more from the wall.
  • Gently lever the old architrave off the wall using a chisel until it’s off.

(We had artex covered over with plaster, so our plaster is much thicker than most peoples.  This meant a lot of our plaster came away when we removed the old architrave.  Our walls literally have plaster, then artex, then plaster again!  Most of your walls will just have the one layer of plaster.  You can fix any plaster that does come away.  I’ll share how in the perfect finish section below)

Step 2: How to prepare the wall for new architrave

  • Sand back any existing paint from under the old architrave so you have a nice smooth surface to work with for the new architrave.
  • You may need to use a scraper or chisel to remove any thick lumps of paint.

Step 3: How to fit new door architrave

  • Start by cutting and fitting the two long side pieces of architrave first.
  • Measure from the floor to where the very top point of the new architrave will end.
  • Mark this measurement on the strip of architrave itself ready for cutting.
  • Use a mitre saw to cut the architrave down from your measurement at a 45 degree angle. Ensure the cut is smooth and clean.
  • Repeat this process for the second side strip.
  • Use 40mm oval or lost head nails to attach the architrave side strips to the door frame. Use four nails to attach each piece.  Insert one nail approximately 4cm from the top and another 4cm from the bottom.  Then evenly space out the remaining two nails to ensure a secure fit.
  • Hammer the nails in and use a nail punch to hit the nails in 2mm below the surface.
  • Now it’s time to measure and fit the smaller top piece of architrave.
  • Follow the same sawing and fitting steps as above, but you will need to measure and make 2x 45 degree cuts on this piece, one at each end, to fit perfectly in-between the two side strips.

Step 4: How to get a perfect finish on your new door architrave

  • As mentioned above make sure you hammer in the nails and use a nail punch to push the nails in 2mm below the surface. Then squeeze a small amount of multi-purpose filler over each nail.  When dry lightly sand over the filler with 150 grit sandpaper to create a smooth finish and flush surface ready for painting.
  • Use a caulking gun and caulk along the very edges of the architrave to disguise and seal any gaps, ready for painting. After running the caulk down with the gun, use a finger to carefully smooth down the caulk for a perfect finish.
  • If there is an obvious gap between the joints of the architrave at the top then use some caulk to disguise this. When the caulk is dry simply sand it to a smooth finish ready to paint.
  • If plaster has come away from the sides of the wall when removing the old architrave then you will need to use filler for these gaps, sand them to a smooth finish with the rest of the wall and repaint these areas.
  • Now you are ready to paint the architrave with two coats of glossy white paint.


Final thoughts on Skirting World architrave

Our new doors look so much better with the new architrave.  It’s been a total door makeover!

As soon as Ben put the architrave on, before even fitting our new doors, I could instantly tell the difference.  It looked fresher, cleaner and new.  I don’t think we could have ever recovered the decades old existing architrave to this standard.

The customer service was top notch and the fact they can customise the architrave to your specifications if needed is really helpful.

Delivery was well informed throughout and on time.

We will definitely look at Skirting World next time we have any architrave, skirting board or window board requirements and Ben won’t hesitate to recommend them to his customers when they ask for suggestions.

Here’s the architrave we used:

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