Gordon James

Gordon James
All About Archways

If you’re looking to add perceived space to the interior of your home by creating a larger opening between rooms, or simply hoping to add a bit of design flair, converting a typical entryway into a curved arch accomplishes either or both of these goals in a subtle and elegant manner.

The innovative builders at Gordon James will not only construct such an archway, but do so efficiently, precisely, and beautifully. Before viewing our featured gallery, “Orono Artisan,” for design inspirations, consult the following article to learn more about the basics of constructing an interior archway.

Generally speaking, you’ll need to frame a curved arch, bend and fasten a strip of drywall to the curved framing, and then install a flexible corner bead. First, cut away the drywall along the inside edge of the opening, in order to expose the framing. Don’t worry if you break it back a few inches on the walls. Determine the style and size of the arch (half circle, partial circle or ellipse), and make a pattern out of cardboard – it’s always better to visualize the project before fully committing to alteration of the architecture! Tape the template over the entryway, making sure that the design is pleasing and leaves enough remaining headroom.

Next, use your cardboard template to mark out and cut two plywood arches, each ½ inch thick. Cut a 6-foot two-by-four down to 2½ inches wide (or 2 inches narrower than the total wall thickness). Cut one top block and two side blocks and nail them to the door framing, centering them so that the plywood arches will sit flush with the existing framing. Now nail the arched plywood into place on both sides.

Cut short arch blocks and screw them between the plywood arches, at approximately 6 inch intervals. Then, cut strips of ⅛ inch hardboard (such as Masonite) and nail them to the arch blocks, making sure to follow the curve of the plywood. The hardboard will provide a smooth, solid backer for the drywall and eliminates creases. Run it all the way down the sides to the floor. It’s best at this stage to use short drywall or underlayment nails.

Next, fasten the drywall over the face of the arch. Let it overhang into the archway and then cut out the curve of the arch with a drywall or keyhole saw. Now, cut a strip of drywall the same width as the total thickness of the wall. Because the drywall will be applied to a curved surface, it will need to be bent, and therefore wetted. If you’re using regular ½ inch drywall, wet the backside of the strip, and lay it between two objects of identical height (for example, sawhorses), so that it can sag as the water soaks in. You may need to wet it several times and let it slowly bend for an hour or two. Alternatively, ¼ inch drywall designed to bend is also available.

While the drywall is still flexible, affix it to the hardboard; start 6 inches below the curve of the arch, pushing the drywall firmly against the hardboard, then drive a pair of nails every 6 inches into your blocking around the curve. Use straight strips to finish the sides, and apply flexible plastic corner bead to both edges, running the bead all the way to the floor. Start at one end and fasten the bead with a staple gun, driving 9/16 inch-long staples every 3 inches. Keep the bead centered on the corner and tight to the drywall. This step gives the arch its final shape, so take your time.

Finally, mix up some setting-type joint compound and cover the corner bead. Apply second and third coats of joint compound, letting it dry between coats. Sand the entryway down – at this point, the new entryway will be ready to paint!


As this article shows, the do-it-yourself approach to creating an interior archway can be laborious! Rest assured, the experienced home builders at Gordon James will handle all facets of construction with skill and technical acumen. Contact us today, and see how a professionally created archway can open up your home.

Note: This article uses information adapted from an original article found on FamilyHandyMan.com. A link to this article may be accessed below.