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Which Material And Design Should I use for my Architrave

Posted by Joseph Schaffarczyk on

Finding the right finishing touches to decorate your home can sound easier than it actually is. From choosing wall colours and wallpaper to selecting curtains and blinds - the subtle pieces that you pick can really make or break a home. One of these finishing touches are door architraves. Created from a range of wooden materials, from timber to oak, architraves are the perfect accent frame to your doors, serving both an aesthetic and practical purpose to your home.

As a leading wooden moulding company in Nottinghamshire, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to door architraves so you can find the perfect door architrave for your property. Read on to find out more.

What is a door architrave?

Similar to mouldings and skirting boards, a door architrave is a wooden feature that encases the outer frame of a doorway. Originating from Ancient Greek architecture, the architrave was part of the ‘post and lintel’ design method that was utilised in the creation of multiple ancient temples.

Throughout history, the door architrave has remained popular in interiors due to its associations with classical design. Heavily featured in 18th and 19th-century buildings, it was a symbol of a larger sophisticated design movement that stressed equal parts of beauty, harmony and symmetry. 

Initially, in Ancient Greek architecture, architraves were constructed from stone and predominantly featured in the exterior structure. It is unknown as to when they became popular in home interiors. However, this could be surmised as during the 18th century when neoclassical design started to feature in interiors as well as exteriors. This was because there were rediscoveries of genuine classical interiors at the ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum - eventually leading to many wealthy aristocrats wanting the same for their home.

So, during this time, door architraves were chosen and integrated into homes purely for their aesthetic and status function. However, their popularity has remained because of their practical function too. Similar to skirting boards, architraves protect the edgings of the door frame from being bumped, broken, scratched or damaged from thoroughfares. With this in mind, many homeowners choose to have them installed as it protects your property from any physical damage and can upsell it in future. Yet, they are commonplace in many period properties.

Modern architraves are often constructed from wooden materials like softwood, hardwood and MDF. Softwood is a type of wood that derives from gymnosperm trees such as conifers, pines and spruces, whilst hardwood is made from dicot trees that are found in tropical climates. In addition, MDF stands for medium-density fibreboard which is an engineered wood product created from broken down hardwood and softwood residuals that are then bound together.

Despite the names ‘softwood’ and ‘hardwood’ - it doesn’t necessarily mean that all softwoods are softer than hardwoods. Generally speaking, hardwoods are ‘harder’ as the timber grains are denser. They are also incredibly durable, fire resistant, and can come in a range of colours and finishes. In comparison, softwoods are considered a renewable wood source, as well as being more affordable than their hardwood counterparts. Many homeowners are also opting for MDF wood, due to the fact that it is a combination of both hardwoods and softwoods. MDF is easy to veneer, easy to shape, affordable, stable and can also be painted. However, MDF also has drawbacks including warping in humid environments and increased risk of formaldehyde in construction which can cause lung and eye irritation.

Modern architraves, like their classical counterparts, are also created with mouldings intact. This is the perfect way to add subtle decoration to your room and giving your home an overall pristine, smart and uniform appearance. There are a range of designs to choose from. Including fluted, primed, Victorian, grooved and square. Though many of these designs would compliment most homes, some mouldings would better suit different styles of homes, which we will further explore below.

Do you have a period home? Look to the past with an oak architrave

It is no secret that oak has been a popular furnishing and construction material used for centuries. There are over 500 varieties of oak worldwide, all with shared features of strength, resistance to moisture and durability. Plus, another unique feature of oak is that the older the wood is, the stronger it is. Meaning that if you choose an oak architrave, you can rest assured that it will stand the test of time.

Oak has been a building material from the 16th century. A hardwood, it has an attractive light colour with a prominent wooden grain. Plus, it is also resistant to fungal attacks, meaning that if your home is prone to damp and mould, then an oak architrave is the perfect addition to your home. After all, you don’t want to invest in a high-quality piece for your home for it to quickly succumb to mould.

Due to its natural wooden grain and golden hue, oak architraves need little ornamentation. Their natural beauty simply makes them stand out from the rest. If you prefer the traditional style for your home or you live in a period property, an oak architrave will be the perfect compliment. They are often finished off with a delicate varnish, giving your oak architrave a natural sheen.

Although architraves need little general maintenance, to keep your oak architrave lasting and looking handsome for longer, you should apply a light coat of food-safe mineral oil or Danish oil frequently. This should only take a couple of minutes and can be easily incorporated into your daily, weekly or monthly household routine.

For a modern home, try a bullnose architrave

Although architraves have long been associated with classical architecture, many new designs are a breath of fresh air and can be easily incorporated into modern homes. The rise of modernist art and architecture movements have resulted in homes that are preferred to be open plan, a mixture of materials like wood, glass and concrete, and a rejection of former ornate designs for a minimalistic appearance. In this sense, you may think that architraves could have fallen out of favour with interior designers and homeowners. However, their practical function has ensured that they remain.

With this in mind, if you are planning on designing or purchasing a modern open plan property, then perhaps you should consider a bullnose architrave. A bullnose architrave is often constructed from MDF, and has little or no mouldings with a simple  smooth curve. Due to their less ornate design, and their MDF property, they may be a more affordable option for homeowners. However, they offer a seamless finish to a home, so you don’t need to worry about compromising on aesthetics when choosing based on price.

Pro-Fit Mouldings: Suppliers of door architraves, door casings and a range of wood mouldings in Nottinghamshire

Here at Pro-Fit Mouldings, we are passionate about making your home a stunning fusion of both past and present. Our team of expert craftsmen love the combined simplicity and ornate style of wooden mouldings - a popular feature of homes around the UK. Serving both a practical and aesthetic function, our mouldings will enhance and frame the interior of your home.

We have a range of mouldings to choose from, as well as offering bespoke design services for home and business owners. To find out more about our variety of products, contact us today.

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