What is an architrave?
In classical architecture, the term 'architrave' refers to a horizontal beam resting on the top of two vertical columns. The home architrave, however, is the moulding around a window, door or other type of opening. It might also be known as a casing or door trim.
What are architraves for?
All built structures have the tendency to shift and settle, and building materials can expand and contract in hot or cold weather. Your home will never be completely static. In order to accommodate these movements, builders tend to avoid plastering right up to the frame of windows, doors and other openings. Unless a small gap is left between the plasterboard and the wall opening, the normal movements of your home are likely to cause cracks to appear in the plasterboard. An architrave’s job is to hide these gaps between the plasterboard and the frame of the door, window or other opening.
Architraves are also decorative, and can be used to evoke a particular era, provide colour and establish a theme within a home.
What are architraves made from?
Architraves can be made from a variety of different materials, however most builders and renovators choose to install architraves made from the same materials used for the rest of the mouldings. This brings a feeling of continuity to the home. Architraves might therefore be made from timber, medium density fibreboard (or MDF), plaster, PVC, rubber, aluminium or ceramic tiles.
What types of architraves are there?
The style of architrave is usually dictated by the interior design theme, which in turn is often inspired by the period the home was built in or emulates. For example, a Victorian era or Art Deco style home might have very ornate architraves, whereas a modernist or contemporary house is likely to install architraves which are less decorative.
How common are architraves?
Architraves are fairly common within most homes. Modernist or contemporary homes might have architraves which are less noticeable or even hidden. As they serve the functional purpose of minimising cracks in your plasterboard however, it is likely that wherever you find a window, door, or other wall opening, you will find an architrave.