A Guide To Architraves

What Is An Architrave?

Most homeowners will happily go through their entire lives without thinking about architraves. So what are architraves? An architrave is the interior moulding - the decorative trim - that frames your doors and windows. It is used to both add to the look of a room, and to hide unsightly seams and joints in the wall.

Most (but not all) windows have architraves. If your window does have an architrave we will need to identify the style in order to instruct you on how to measure and install your shutters.

Architraves in a home with shutters

What Kind Of Architrave Do I Have?

For the purposes of installing plantation shutters, architraves can be grouped into three easy to identify categories. Here are the three different architrave types, and what to look for in order to identify each of them.

Bullnose Architrave

A bullnose architrave is a flat frame with a curved edge. Thanks to its beauty and simplicity, this is quite a popular type of architrave.

Bullnose architrave example

Decorative Architrave 

A decorative architrave will feature grooves and un-even surfaces to form a beautiful, ornamental look. This type of architrave is common in older houses such as those from the Victorian era.

Decorative architrave example

Square Architrave 

A square architrave will have straight angles and no curves. This is the simplest and most common type of architrave, and is growing ever more popular with the rise of minimalist design. 

Square architrave example

How Does Each Frame Type Work With An Architrave?

Z-Frame With Architraves

A Z-frame sits inside the recess, with a lip that extends 19mm around the architrave. The Z-frame works very nicely with a Square or Bullnose architrave, or with a square set window (i.e. no architrave). If you have a decorative architrave, you may want to avoid a Z-frame as it will cover part of the trim.

Z frame with different types of architraves

Inside L-Frame With Architraves

An L-frame sits inside the window recess, and can work with any architrave. A particularly good option for decorative architraves, as it won't cover any part of the trim.

L frame with different types of architraves

Outside L-Frame With Architraves

An outside L-frame can be installed to any type of architrave, as long as there is 38.1mm of flat surface to install the frame. If you have a decorative architrave, there may be a flat surface at the centre of the architrave to install an outside mount. (This requires a different measuring technique to a normal outside mount.)

Why Is An Architrave Necessary?

While an architrave isn’t structurally necessary in that it doesn’t add any tangible strength to the structure of the house, it does serve two important purposes. The first, and most obvious, is the polish it adds to a room. A door or window without an architrave can look unfinished and bare, and can make an otherwise beautiful room look less than its best. Adding an architrave can be like putting the cherry on top of an already beautiful cake! The second function of an architrave is more utilitarian. When a door or window is built into a wall, it can create seams and joints that are impossible to simply paint over. An architrave helps to cover these imperfections up, creating a clean, beautiful look around these features. 

What Are Architraves Made Of?

Most architraves are made from one of three materials: hardwood, softwood or medium-density fibreboard (MDF). Other less common architrave materials include plaster, PVC, rubber, ceramic tiles and aluminium.

Most builders will use the same material for the architraves as they do for the other mouldings and finishes in the home, to create a level of uniformity. This generally means that more historic buildings are likely to use hardwood, while more modern homes are more likely to use softwood or MDF.

For the purposes of installing The Shutters Department shutters, the type of material that your architraves are made of shouldn’t matter (unless it is something odd like aluminium, in which case you can just get in contact with us!).

Now that you know all that you need to know about architraves, it’s time to get to work! Check out our ultimate guide to identifying and measuring your windows for a set of The Shutters Department shutters, and start creating the perfect look and feel for your home.

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Gil Baker
By: Gil Baker Published: 12 Feb 2018