Creating a custom archway in your home adds character and visual interest to your entryway, and any room you want to bring attention to. Using drywall and a few tools and supplies, you can transform a standard doorframe into an elegant transition space. And if you’re replacing a door entryway with an arch, this simple change can bring a new sense of openness and scale to your space. Follow the steps below to get started on this achievable DIY project.
Archway Ins and Outs
Let’s break it down: when building an archway, you’re essentially creating a trim-free drywall doorway with rounded top corners, creating a sense of continuity and openness. This could be between one room and another, or between one room, and a hallway or entryway. If the doorway you’re working with already has a door, the steps required will be a bit longer, as you’ll remove both the door, any trim around the doorframe, and the doorframe itself. If you’re already starting with a trim-free doorway, the process will be faster.
One thing to note: if you’re looking to expand the height of the existing doorframe, first check with a contractor to make sure that doing so won’t compromise your structure in any way. If your doorway is a load-bearing wall, that will affect how much you can alter or expand the existing dimensions of the doorframe. Gut-check with an expert before going too far into your project.
Gather Your Tools and Supplies
With the help of an arch kit, drywall panels, and a few other supplies and equipment you can pick up from your local TIMBER MART store, your archway can be up in just a few hours. Here’s what you’ll need:
- 1/4″ and 1/2″ drywall panels
- 1 5/8” drywall screws
- Arch kit
- Straight drywall tape, like CGC’s Sheetrock® Brand Paper Joint Tape (Eastern Canada) or Synko® Brand Paper Joint Tape (Western Canada)
- Archway corner bead, such as CGC’s Strait-Flex® Arch-Stick Outside 90° Arched Corner Bead
- Straight corner bead, like CGC’s Beadex® Brand Paper Faced Metal Corner Beads and Trims (Western Canada) or Sheetrock® Brand Paper Faced Metal Corner Beads and Trims (Eastern Canada)
- Joint compound, such as CGC’s Sheetrock® Brand Dust Control® Drywall Compound (Eastern Canada) or Synko® Brand Dust Control® Drywall Compound Western Canada)
- Drywall primer, such as CGC’s Sheetrock® Brand First Coat™ Primer (Eastern Canada) or Synko® Brand Pre-Coat™ Drywall Surface Equalizer
- Drywall saw or drywall router
- Staple gun
- Mud pan
- Putty knives (one should be wide enough to cover the width of your doorway)
- Tape measure
- Speed square
- Cordless drill and drill bit set
- Sanding block
- Paint brush
- Step ladder
- Safety gear
Build the Drywall Arch
Once any door, hinges, trim and doorframe are removed, you’ll get to work attaching your arch kit, which typically come in a universal size that provides a 13-inch-radius arch. These kits can be attached to both metal and wood studs. You’ll measure 13 inches from each corner of the top of your frame studs, and screw the bottom and top of the arch kit into place with screws suitable for your studs. Then, use your thicker 1/2-inch drywall slabs to cover the front and backs of the arch. The best way to do this is to attach the drywall in rectangular pieces that fully cover each side of the arch, then cut the drywall along the edge of the arch kit with a drywall saw or router to fit the arch.
Create the Drywall Frame
You’ll use your thinner 1/4-inch drywall panels to create the edge of the arch, as well as the edge of the doorway. First, measure and cut the drywall into panels the width of the doorframe, cutting as many pieces as you need to cover each side, and attach with drywall screws. Insert one screw on either side, every two inches or so. Then, measure and cut two drywall pieces to fit to each side of the arch itself, attaching from the bottom upward with two screws every two inches.
Fill in the Gaps
Use your joint compound, following the mixing directions on the packaging, and a putty knife to fill in any gaps and crevices between your drywall frame and the wall. Once dry, sand down the compound with a sanding block. Next, you’ll cover all seams and spaces in the drywall with straight drywall tape, such as CGC’s Sheetrock®/ Synko® Brand Paper Joint Tape, and apply more compound on top of the tape.
Finish the Arch
Next, you’ll use your archway corner bead to finish the arch itself. Attach the corner bead to your arch using a staple gun, starting from the bottom of the arch and working upward and then down the other side. Then, work with the joint compound again to cover the corner bead and any screws. You may want to apply a second coat of joint compound after the first coat dries to perfect the appearance of the arch.
Finish the Doorway
Next, you’ll apply the straight corner bead to the straight edges of your doorframe using the same method as with the archway corner bead: stapling every inch or two with your staple gun, from the bottom of the doorway to the top on each side. Smooth it out by applying joint compound, and, if necessary, add a second coat after the first one dries. You’ll want to spread the joint compound a few inches out from the doorway itself, creating a smooth surface that you can refine even further with your sanding block once the compound is dry.
The last step after you’ve sanded is to paint the area to match the rest of your wall. For great results, work with a drywall primer such as CGC’s Sheetrock® Brand First Coat™ Primer or Synko® Brand Pre-Coat™ Drywall Surface Equalizer before painting. Once your paint dries, you’ll have a doorway that instantly transforms your space.