To make a drywall arch with your own hands, you do not need special skills and professional construction tools. One person can do the job. The shape, size and location should be thought out in advance, otherwise there will be a risk of making a mistake. The most important detail is the base — a frame made of wooden slats or a metal profile. It is he who sets all the technical parameters. Not only the appearance depends on it, but also the strength. Sheathing is the simplest stage of repair. Rough and fine finishing takes much more time and effort. If you plan to hide pipes or electrical wiring under a false wall, you need to follow the law. According to sanitary and technical standards, it is necessary to ensure constant access to them.
All about how to make a drywall arch
Selecting an installation site
Forms and dimensions of the structure
- What you need to work
- Foundation preparation
- Upper side mounting
- Frame installation
- How to bend a GKL sheet
Where can I make an arch and what to think about before installation
As a rule, a sheathed frame is placed in a doorway or in a corridor. This technique is often used when zoning a large room, divided by a partition. It should be noted that cutting or expanding the passage is not possible everywhere. There are sections of load-bearing walls where this is prohibited. The ban does not apply to partitions. It is possible to remove part of the load-bearing wall only after a technical survey and project approval. It is also important to consider that the law does not always allow you to leave an open entrance. For example, a kitchen with a gas stove should be equipped with a door.
Leaving a bedroom or office constantly open is inconvenient if several people live in the apartment. Premises equipped for workshops or laundries must be closed, otherwise the noise will interfere with all residents. Do not leave permanently open utility rooms with high humidity and pantries where substances with a strong odor are stored. Needless to say, a sealed door is necessary if there are gas cylinders and canisters of gasoline behind it.
Installation can be carried out in the kitchen and bathroom. It should be noted that a humid environment has a devastating effect on the base of wooden beams. They must be impregnated with antiseptics and coated with a layer of varnish that covers the fibrous structure. Aluminum and galvanized steel are used in any environment. Damage to galvanizing leads to rapid rusting. Therefore, you should be very careful during installation. Paint and primer do not provide reliable protection.
Sheathing is not afraid of moisture if its edges are reliably protected from it. Once in the loose internal structure, moisture is easily absorbed into it. Over time, mold appears inside, and the walls begin to swell along the edges. Moisture resistant sheets with a green color should be used. Ordinary ones will quickly fall into disrepair.
Before you make a drywall arch with your own hands, you need to think about its finish. In damp areas, open-pore coatings should not be used. For example, if it is planned to line the opening with porous plaster in a home sauna, this idea will have to be abandoned.
False walls often serve to mask pipes and electrical wiring. According to current technical standards, such structures must be removable or openable. They are equipped with inconspicuous doors and removable panels that are mounted at the joints of pipes, as well as in places where valves are located.
The internal space of the frame allows you to place spotlights. They are placed on top. Lateral arrangement is possible only when there is free space around the edges. This placement is not suitable for standard passages designed for one leaf.
It is better to hang switches and sockets on a concrete base — the sheathing sheets will loosen over time from constant mechanical loads. In addition, an empty box without filling is a good resonator that amplifies the sound.
The choice of the shape and size of the arch
The shape of the arch can be any, but usually the arches are made rectangular or rounded. The sides and corners of rectangles are sometimes rounded, creating flexible sides and smoothing the corners. Only one of the faces can be made even by creating an interior semi-arch.
Rectangular openings are the most compact and easy to manufacture. They are suitable for typical apartments with low ceilings and narrow aisles. At a small height, straight walls and a rounded top are used — elongated or with a constant radius. Sometimes polygons are used, as well as combinations of straight and curved surfaces, but now this design is no longer relevant.
Rounded make not only the upper part, but also the sidewalls. This solution is suitable for entering a spacious living room or a large kitchen in a cottage. Depending on the width of the opening, the form is pulled up or to the sides.
Width and height are limited by the interior space. In typical apartments, the height is usually 2 m, the width is from 60 to 80 cm.
For a corridor less than 1 m wide, it is better to install a frame without sidewalls.
When designing a partition, the dimensions can be any. The load-bearing well-reinforced frame will withstand even wide sag.
Step by step instructions for building
As an example, consider a step-by-step instruction for making a do-it-yourself semicircular drywall arch without sidewalls. The technology of sheathing a metal and wooden frame does not differ. We will separately analyze the process of mounting the base made of aluminum and natural solid wood. The rest of the instructions are suitable for these two technologies.
What you need to work
- Tape measure, ruler and pencil.
- Screwdriver or screwdriver.
- A hacksaw for wood, if a frame made of timber is used, or for metal, if the base is made of a profile. In the second case, you will also need scissors for metal.
- Carpentry knife.
- Electric drill.
- Protective equipment — a respirator, goggles and gloves. Instead of a respirator, it is allowed to use a wet cloth bandage.
- GKL sheets.
- Profile or slats from the array.
- Self-tapping screws and dowels.
- Putty and tools for its application.
- Thin plastic mesh for reinforcing the putty layer.
- The opening is cleared of the old finish.
- Grease stains are removed with an alcohol solution. Dust is wiped off with a damp cloth.
- Cracks are expanded with a spatula, removing crumbling edges.
- The reinforced concrete surface is treated with an antiseptic to prevent mold.
- Irregularities are sealed with cement mortar. Aligning their part hidden under the arch is not necessary.
- If necessary, stretch wires for spotlights.
Upper side mounting
- We apply markings on the GKL. Before you draw an arch on drywall, you need to measure the passage and add to its width the thickness of the finish on each side. This will allow you to make a smooth transition from the upper semicircle to the smooth door slopes.
- The center of the circle is marked on the sheet and a thin nail is driven into it. A rope or thread is tied to the nail. The radius of the arch is laid on it and a pencil is tied at this distance from the center. It is better to tie a rope to its bottom, it is easier to draw. Drawing a pencil with a stretched rope over the surface, we get an even circle of the desired size.
- Sawing GKL is better with a hacksaw specially designed for this. If it is not there, an ordinary canvas with small teeth will do — large ones can tear the edges. Before starting work, the material should be securely fixed on the table. When working, you need to hold the cut piece. When breaking off, it can tear out several centimeters of the sidewall. In total, you will need two sidewalls for two sides of the opening.
Metal parts are easy to process and install. They are used more often than wooden ones.
The material used is aluminum or galvanized steel. These can be corners or U‑shaped profiles.
- The blanks are cut in height and width. They should form a projection of the vault on the inner sides of the passage. Before you make an arch from a profile and drywall, you need to find out the height of the vertical guides of the metal structure. The horizontal is equal to the width of the unfinished opening.
- Markings for guides are applied to the prepared reinforced concrete slab. All other details are attached to them, if necessary. They are assembled with screws. Welding is not used.
- The guides are located along the edges of the passage with the vertical side towards the room. They are applied to the base and holes are drilled in increments of 10 cm. Dowels are inserted into them and screws are screwed in. It is better to take self-tapping screws 5 cm long. Such a frame is enough for light sidewalls about 50 cm high and 90 cm wide. For mounting more complex and heavy structures, a crate is made.
- The metal vault line can be made from prefabricated elements specially designed for this. In this case, you do not have to bend ordinary parts. To make an arc yourself, you need to take a corner or a U‑shaped profile and cut out the same triangles from the vertical parts in increments of several centimeters. The step depends on the bend line. To do this, use scissors for metal. If you bend the resulting workpiece, the sides of the triangles will connect and you will get an even arc.
Measurement is done in the same way. Bars 3x3 cm are used as a material. Attention must be paid to their quality. There should be no mold spots on the surface. Products with falling knots and resin smudges are rejected. Bars with mechanical damage should not be used for assembly. Deviations in size and shape are highly undesirable. The blanks must be dry.
You can use an untreated array, but it is better to dry it before installation and soak it with an antiseptic solution. This is necessary to protect against mold. The moisture contained in the air gradually destroys the array. To close the fibrous structure from its penetration, varnishes and oil-based paints are used.
It is impossible to make an arc that forms an arch from a bar at home. To work, you need a piece of plywood. It is cut around the circumference after marking with a pencil and rope. Rails are attached to it with self-tapping screws. There are guides along the edges. During installation, they should be deeper than the finished edges of the opening by the thickness of the plasterboard. To prevent the sheet from bending, additional bars are sewn to the inside of the screws, running vertically from the bottom to the guides. They are placed in increments of 10–15 cm. A vault is attached to them. Plywood ends are not suitable for this. After installing the sidewalls, they are hemmed with GKL trimmed according to the markings.
How to bend drywall for an arch
The ability of the material to change shape depends on the thickness of the product. The thinner it is, the easier it is to bend. There are products with grooves specifically designed for curved surfaces. If you can’t find them, you can use one of three ways to form an oval or round outline.
- The sheathing material is cut into pieces of 10–15 cm, which are attracted by self-tapping screws in increments of 5 cm.
- A strip is cut out of the coating, completely covering the bottom of the structure, and rolled with a perforating roller. Holes should be located on the outside, facing the floor. Then the perforation is moistened with a brush dipped in warm water and aged for 15 minutes. During this time, the surface is impregnated, the structure becomes more plastic. After impregnation, the workpiece can be mounted with a given radius.
- The dry method is used with a large radius. To avoid the formation of creases when it is reduced, transverse cuts are made with a sharp knife. The depth of the cuts is a few millimeters. During installation, the sheet is evenly pressed with great effort. It is more convenient to work together. One person presses the workpiece, the other fastens it with screws.
When choosing how to finish a drywall arch, it is better to take plastic materials. They do not crack and do not crumble when it is deformed. It is possible in rare cases when the technology is broken, and the mechanical loads exceed the permissible norm. Parts also change size and shape when moisture gets inside. To reduce stress, putty is used, laid on a thin polymer mesh. It is laid on a thin layer of the mixture and sunk with a spatula. From above it is covered with another layer 1 mm thick.
The easiest solution is to glue the wallpaper on top. To paint, you will need to put a layer of finishing putty and rub it with fine emery. Then the base is primed and dried for several hours. Another finishing option is decorative plaster with polymer filler.
You can finish the structure with any materials, provided that it is firmly established. Drywall will withstand a thick layer of plaster, facing stone and tile.
See also a short video on how to make a drywall arch on a finished doorway.