DIY Home Improvement Project: How to Square off Archways in Your Home

I’ll never forget the first time we set foot in our house. I remember loving the open concept and spacious kitchen.  The square footage was the exact amount of house we were looking for, it has a big, beautiful barn-like garage and sits on one-third of an acre, which was perfect for our pups!

Being avid DIYers and rarely having the ability to “leave well enough alone”, Cully and I started thinking through all the projects we would want to do to make this house unique to us and our style.

Our home was built in the 1950’s (but was updated and flipped a few years back) and the ceilings are shorter.  Therefore, we were brainstorming ways to make the ceilings appear taller.

Cost Effective Home Improvement 

Cost is the number one factor in every project we start.  Our goal with every project is to create unique spaces without breaking the bank. 

The back of the house had an addition built on at some point.  There is a short and wide hallway that connects the original part of the house and the built on part. It’s a unique set up, but one that is well used and as this hallway is where the washer and dryer are located.

We weren’t big fans of the hallway arches and felt the entire look of the room would change dramatically if we removed the arch, raised up the opening and squared it off.

After considering the low cost and possible gain in overall look, we both agreed that squaring off the archways was a project that would make our “go for it” list.

White wall with archway
A shot of the archway before I ripped off the drywall 🙂

Arch Removal Materials and Project Prep

Funny part is, I decided to complete this project as a surprise to Cully while he was fishing. He had no clue I was going to do this!  

Head over to my Instagram page and check out the highlights to watch the process. While you’re there, be sure to give me a follow as that is where all the latest and greatest happens!

Here is a list of materials, tools, etc… I ended up using:

Note: Each project could look different, depending on what your measurements are. Make sure to measure accordingly for the wood sizes. 

Step 1: Find out how the arch is made  

I chose not to cut right into it without knowing what the arch was made of.  

My hope was it would be a separate piece that, once the drywall was removed, I could take out the arch piece and be done with removing it.

But no.

I ripped down far too much drywall in the hopes that I would find the top of the arch piece….only I never found it because it didn’t exist!  It was all one big piece that went all the way up to the ceiling. 

So, if you choose to do this project, you may get lucky and not need to bust out a Sawzall to remove the arch. In this case, cutting it out with a Sawzall was the only option.

No turning back now!

Step 2: Cut out the arch

Fun fact about me: I don’t like to use power saws when the project requires me to:

  1.  be on a ladder AND
  2.  use the power saw at, or higher, than my chest height

Those two things just don’t mesh with me.  So, I called on my brother-in-law to help.

And boy, this thing was a BEAST to get out.  My brother-in-law works in the commercial construction industry…and has worked with (and seen) pretty much everything…even he had a heck of time cutting this thing out!

A couple of saw blades later and the arch was out.

Archway Cut to Squared Off
Finally! The archway is out….along with a lot more drywall than necessary…🤦‍♀️

Step 3: Make drywall repairs

Now it was time to repair the drywall that I ripped out like a crazy woman.

I grabbed one of the small repair drywall sheets from Home Depot and the necessary tape, joint compound, etc… and repaired my mess.

Drywall Repair
Drywall repair in progress…

Step 4: Cut boards to appropriate lengths

I measured and cut the 1×4’s for the side trim first.  

Once those were dry fit, I measured and cut the 1×6’s and 1×2’s used for the top trim.  The inner 1×6 trim needed to be cut lengthwise, so I used the table saw for those cuts.

Step 4: Build the top trim 

Building the top trim piece was super easy.  I used a finish nail gun to attached the 1×2’s and 1×6 together

DIY Top Trim Board

Step 5: Stain and install the trim 

I stained the trim using Varathane Wood Stain Color: Early American (it’s my favorite!).  Two coats did the trick.

Installation of the trim went quick as I used the finish nail gun and made sure all pieces were snug

Installing trim around hallway entry
See how happy I am now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!? 😁

Consider existing baseboards:

It’s important to note that I also had to remove the existing baseboards and cut them to fit the new trim.  I didn’t snap a picture of this but removing existing baseboards is a breeze.  

Simply take a razor blade and run it across the top of the board to cut through any dried paint or caulk that may be existing.  

Then, use a hammer to tap in a flat pry bar behind the baseboard, which will remove it from the wall.  Work in small areas at a time (critical so you don’t accidentally break the board), until the full baseboard is removed. 

You will also want to remove all existing finish nails, so they don’t get in the way when you go to reinstall the baseboard.

Project Time:

All in all, this project took me 3.5 days to complete from start to finish, working on it about 3-5 hours/day. I bet I could have knocked off a day if I would have just cut right into the arch rather than removing the drywall first.  

Squared off Archway
And….after! We absolutely love how it turned out and Cully is already itching to change the second arch at the end of the hallway.

Was it worth it? Heck yes!  

Visually, it achieved exactly what we were hoping it would achieve and we love the new look of the stain wood trim!

To see Cully’s reaction when he came home from fishing, watch the video in my Instagram highlights.  Don’t forget to hit the follow button!

Have a question?  I’ll do my best to help!  Drop it in comments below.




How to Square off Archways

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