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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Make Arched Corners for a Doorway

The home that I'm currently working on has quite a few Tudor characteristics throughout, including a couple arched doorways in the kitchen and living room. The homeowners wanted to open up the wall leading into the kitchen with a larger doorway and match the corners to the others. Here's how I did it:

1. Open up wall and reframe the larger opening with new header. Our wall IS load-bearing so I had to build a simple temporary wall on either side of the opening to carry the weight of the ceiling joists while I installed a new header and removed part of the wall. (Opening up a wall? See these posts.)
The opening would be around 5' wide, so a built-up 2x6 header would be called for. Make the header at the height equal to the highest point in your arched doorway.

If you wanted to keep the square corners you could just drywall over this new framing as it is, however, we want to make curved corners. These curves are for cosmetic purposes only, they will not carry any load, but rather just support the drywall.

2. Frame the corners. Depending on how large of a curve, you'll have a few options for this. If it's a larger curve you may want to cut the profile out of a piece of plywood for either side of the wall and then frame in between to hold it together. Mainly, you want to have plenty of places to screw your drywall, especially along the edges where you'll add the cornerbead.

Our curves weren't very large, so I was able to cut the entire profile out of some scrap pieces of 2x6 lumber. I made the first one by tracing the curve onto it from one of the existing doorways. Once one was complete, I used it as the template to make 3 more, giving me enough for both of the corners.

At this stage, remember where you want the finished wall to end up. If you're adding 1/2" drywall, the curves should account for this. I'm actually matching mine up to the old plaster, so I left them 1/2" from the surface of the plaster so I can patch with drywall and just tape and mud all the joints.

The curves can be nailed or screwed into place and you're finished. Be gentle so you don't split them and have to start over. The drywall will come in the next week or so as I begin work on the kitchen. Read it here.


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