More About the Knackered Hall Plaster Arch

Further to my previous inquiry about the plaster arch in the tall thin
hall, here is a pic of the plaster arch that I was thinking of
Someone mentioned that it might be structural - how might I tell?
It's solid and has a crack on the left where it has shifted down
around half a centimetre with movement of the building. You can see
the bonding on the right where the corbel used to be, and on the left
where the corbel has gone but also part of the arch.
The cheapest and easiest thing I could think of was to saw off the
arch on the left to match the level on the right, and just make it
good, but it will be virtually half an arch by then so might just look
silly, plus there is the issue of the crack in the arch.
As to whether it is structural, up and to the right you can see the
first floor landing which runs alongside the front bedroom wall -
directly up and behind the arch is the winder staircase to the second
floor (going round to the left). Both walls to the sides of the arch
are structural. I'm guessing its not structural because the bottom
rail of the balustrade you can just about see in the pic is mounted on
a long wooden beam or something - maybe this goes right across with
the arch underneath it?
Here is a pic - any advice gratefully received!
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walls of the hall.
I would suggest that you remove some or all of the plaster to examine the underlying structure and to find out what the arch itself is made from - it looks like plaster. You might find that the solid-looking part above the arch is actually lath and plaster. If so, it will sound hollow if you tap it with your hand or a bit of wood.
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Well actually mine is finished now, but it has a similar archway, and they seem very common in that exact position in that type of house (mine is a three bed north London victorian terrace). I'm curious to hear about whether they're structural or not. I'd assumed they were, or why did the builders always put them in that spot? Mine is less decorative than yours (originally) was, so it wasn't a spontaneous artistic flourish. In my house the front bedroom is above the arch, and the joists beneath its floor are perpendicular to the arch. For the narrow bit of the upstairs floor which is directly above the hallway one end of the joists is in the front wall of the house above the front door, the other end (but for the arch) would be flapping about somewhere near the staircase resting on, um, nothing.
Even if they are structural, the victorian cowboys who cobbled this place together would have used nothing more heavy-duty than a bit of 2 by 4, when today you'd need a ton of steel.
By the way, decoratively it looks alright to me, I wouldn't bother chopping bits off. It's amazing how you can get these things out of proportion and agonise over them for weeks (I know I did) and then when they're done neither you nor anyone else notices!
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Martin Pentreath
I'd finish them with plaster corbels each side. Looks like there's some making good required on the LHS of the arch as seen in the pic. This kind of thing:
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Hi Maria From your picture the arch looks decorative ,If the stairs are to the right then it almost certainly is. A lot of the terraced here in the NW are similar whilst some ahve the staircase directly under the arch (you would be on the stairs when taking your photo) Also the arch looks like a late 70's plaster mold popular at the time and still available . As already posted footers are available from most builders merchants or DIY outlets and are easily fitted. If it is a plaster mold the crack can be repaired by scraping with a triangular trovel to form a key and filled with normal filler (or plaster of paris if you want to be posh )
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