How to Pick the Right Archway Kit

Choosing between the several archway kits can be daunting. If you’re lucky, the architect specified the style on the plan. But more often times than not, it’s up to you, the builder, to work with your client to find the style of archway that they like, fits the overall design of the home, and is practical given your header heights. The question is where to start?

Archway Kit Personal Preference

When deciding what style of arch to use, we always recommend starting with personal preference. What do you or your client like? While your preference may not be practical for either the design of the home or possible rise limitations, which will be discussed shortly, it’s a good place to start. We would then recommend picking a 2nd and 3rd favorite just in case your 1st or 2nd arch styles don’t work out.

install archway

Archway Kit Rise Limitations

The style of an arch, in most cases, have a direct correlation of width to rise. For example, a half-circle arch’s rise is half the width (50% of width). There’s no ifs, and or buts about this. So, if you have a 72 ½” wide opening, the rise would be 36 ¼”. On each of our archway product pages you can use our pricing calculators to determine the total height (rise + thickness of the arch) by entering in your width. Below is a list of our archway kits organized from the least to greatest rise requirements. What you’ll find is that while you may prefer one arch over another, the style you prefer might not be practical given the rise needed and your available height.

Arch Style
Width to Rise %
Explanation

 

Shoulder Flat Arch

NA

Shoulder flat arches are not width to rise sensitive as they’re only a simple rounding of the corners. This style of arch is best utilized for low header heights and larger openings where other arch style rise requirements would inhibit the opening.

 

Soft Segmented Arch

8% -16%

Soft arch are unique in that you get to pick the rise independent of the width of the opening. For most openings, soft archway usually range from 8% – 16% of the width. For example if you had a 72 ½” opening, a good rise would be anywhere from 6 to 12 inches (72.5 x Width %).

 

Elliptical Arch

18% – 30%

The rise of an elliptical arch is dependent upon the width of the opening in order for the elliptical arch to keep its shape. You can request that we custom tailor to a specific rise, but too much or too little rise will can make this archway look bloated or too thin. Elliptical archways usually have an 18% – 30% rise based on the width. You can quickly find your rise, by using our pricing calculator and entering your width. The total height calculation will provide you with your rise plus the thickness of the arch.

 

Bell Curve Arch

23%

Bell curve arches have about a 23% width to rise ratio. They are very much dependent upon the width. As the width gets larger, the 23% width to rise ratio allows the shape to size accordingly. For example, a 72 ½” opening would have an 18 5/8” (72.5 x .23) total height (rise + thickness of arch).

 

Tudor Arch

30%

Tudor arches are another style that are mainly dependent upon the width to arrive at the rise. Just as with elliptical arches, you do have the ability to call in and request a custom specified tudor archway, but in most circumstance you’ll normally want about a 30% width to rise ratio. For example, a 72 ½” opening would have an 21 ¾” (72.5 x .30) total height (rise + thickness of arch).

 

Half-Circle Arch

50%

Half-Circle arches are directly dependent upon the width of the opening. Whatever the width of the opening, the rise is exactly half. So a 72 ½” opening would have a 36 ¼” rise.

 

Gothic Arch

71% – 100%

Gothic arches are the most rise greedy of all the styles. Depending upon the gothic style: equilateral, lancet or drop, the width to rise ratio could range from 71% – 100%. For example, a gothic lancet arch that has a 72 ½” opening would have a 72 ½” total height (rise + thickness of arch).

 

Custom Arch Custom arches are completely in your hands in regards to rise. However, like all styles your custom design might not work with the amount of rise you have available. Keep in mind that for a shape to scale to a certain opening width, the rise to must also scale.

 

Window Arch The rise of window arches are directly specified by window manufacturers. Every window manufacturer seems to be a little different in how they approach the amount of rise given the width. Normally window arches have anywhere from 1” – 2” per width foot of rise. However, other may choose a constant rise regardless of their eyebrow windows. The only constant is half-circle windows, as these are dependent upon the width.

 

custom archways

Archway Kits Design Feel

The style of an archway can also supplement the overall design of the home. For example, if you’re building a Spanish style home, then we would immediately recommend half-circle archways. If you look at Spanish architecture, the half-circle arch is by far the most widely used with the small exception of an elliptical archways on larger width openings. Tudor and gothic archways have that old world design feel. This is suiting since they’re reminiscent of the European medieval period where these styles of arches were used to portray height, grandeur and strength. In the here and now, soft arches are the most popular in North America. They offer a gentle curve that softens a transition from one room to another. So, if you’re one for consistency, then pick your style of arch based upon the overall home design.

If the overall design of a home isn’t specific, then take a look at your arched top windows. Are they half-circle, soft (eyebrow), elliptical, gothic or tudor? The windows can tell you a lot about the overall design of a home and what the architect was trying to accomplish.

Pick Your Archway Kit

At the end of the day, these are only helpful guidelines and not hard and fast rules. We’ve a seen a home with a Spanish style exterior, but with soft archways throughout the interior. We’ve also seen an assortment of different arch styles under one roof.

drywall archway

Choose Your Archway Kit

By Wesley Scott
My Personal Google+ Page
Archways & Ceilings Google+ Page

By: Wes in Archways

Posted on November 6, 2015

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