How to Cut an Archway Into a Wall

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Cutting an archway into a wall provides, literally, a dramatic entrance. If you're going to create an archway in one of your home's interior walls, plan carefully where to cut the archway before you ever pick up a tool. If you inspect the wiring and plumbing above and below the room, as well as in the adjacent room, you can make educated guesses about the presence of obstacles in the wall. Of course, cutting into the wall and looking inside is the best way to look for obstacles, allowing you to decide if moving the plumbing or wiring is worth installing the archway in a specific spot.

Things You'll Need

  • Drywall saw
  • Flashlight
  • Stud finder
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Cardboard
  • Carpenter’s compass
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Wood blocks
  • Wood screws
  • Drywall sheets
  • Utility knife
  • Drywall tape
  • Drywall compound
  • Putty knife
  • Cut a hole in the wall where you plan to cut the archway, using a drywall saw. Look inside the hole with a flashlight to see if any obstructions like electrical wiring or plumbing pipes in the wall will prevent you from cutting the archway.

  • Find the studs in the wall with a stud finder, marking the locations on the wall. Measure the width between two studs that sit far enough apart to accommodate a pathway. Draw straight vertical lines up the wall along the edges of the studs, using a carpenter’s square to ensure the lines are straight and parallel to the floor. Terminate the vertical lines where you wish to cut the actual arch portion of the opening.

  • Draw a horizontal line to connect the vertical lines together, using the carpenter’s square to ensure the line sits level. Cut along the lines you traced, using the drywall saw, then pull off the drywall inside the cutout.

  • Cut through the wall studs inside the cutout, using a reciprocating saw, and remove cut portions of the studs. Draw the arch design for the wall on a piece of cardboard, using a carpenter’s compass and the square to ensure the arch is symmetrical.

  • Cut the piece of cardboard along the lines you drew, and then lay the cardboard on another piece of cardboard. Trace around the cardboard and then cut out the second, identical template. Tape the templates to the wall, with the bottom edge of the arches flush with the top edge of the cutout in the wall.

  • Trace around the cardboard templates on the wall, and then take down the templates. Cut the wall along the tracing, using the drywall saw. Cut through the wall studs along the cutout’s edges, using the reciprocating saw.

  • Measure the distance between the drywall sheets at the top edge of the arch. Cut wood blocks that are as thick as the opening inside the wall, and insert the blocks into the gaps along the curving archway portion of the cutout. Drive wood screws through the drywall and into the wood blocks, anchoring them in place.

  • Cut drywall strips that are as wide and the inside edge of the cutout you created. Lay the strips along the edge of the cutout and drive wood screws into the wall studs or blocks, anchoring the drywall in place. Wet the backside of the drywall strips for the arched portion of the cutout, allowing you to bend the drywall without cracking it.

  • Press drywall tape over the seams between the new drywall and the old drywall. Spread drywall compound over the seams as well as the screw heads, using a putty knife. Spread two more coats of drywall compound onto the seams, waiting for the compound to dry in between coats. Sand the compound patches to match the surround drywall. Paint the new drywall to match the rest of the room.

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