20th Jul 2023 -

Installing coving can enhance the elegance and visual appeal of any room, providing a finishing touch that adds a touch of sophistication. However, when faced with challenging spaces such as uneven walls, tight corners, or complex ceiling designs, the task of installing wall and ceiling coving can become a daunting task.

In this article, we share valuable tips and ideas to help you navigate these difficult spaces and achieve seamless coving installation. Also, we discuss innovative solutions for uneven walls, including the use of flexible coving materials and techniques for achieving seamless joints. Plus, we explore strategies for tackling tight corners, including mitring and coping methods, to ensure you achieve flawless results. 

How to fit coving in challenging spaces - 8 top tips

When you install coving in challenging spaces, there are several factors that people should consider to ensure a successful installation. Here are some key factors to think about before you get started. 

1. Accurate measurements

Precise measurements are crucial when working in challenging spaces. Make sure to take multiple measurements of each wall, including the length, height, and any angles or corners. You should also account for obstacles such as windows, doors, and uneven surfaces. 

2. Coving material

It is important to choose the right type of coving material for challenging spaces. Flexible ceiling and wall coving made from materials like polyurethane can be more forgiving and easier to manipulate. Also, consider the weight of the coving material, as heavy coving may require extra support.

3. Cutting techniques

Mastering the art of cutting coving is essential. Be sure to use an appropriate tool like a mitre saw or coping saw to achieve a precise cut and angle. For challenging spaces, coping (cutting the profile of one piece to fit neatly against the profile of another) may be necessary to ensure you achieve a seamless joint.

4. Corner solutions

Corners can pose a significant challenge when installing coving. In challenging spaces, it is important to plan how you will address internal and external corners. Mitring the edges at precise angles and ensuring a tight fit is key, and coping may also be required for corners to achieve a professional finish.

5. Adhesive and fastening

Selecting the best adhesive is crucial to ensure you form a strong bond between the coving and the wall or ceiling. Consider using a reliable construction adhesive recommended for your specific coving material. Plus, be sure to use finishing nails to secure the coving while the adhesive sets.

6. Surface preparation

Properly preparing the surface is essential for a secure coving installation. For a smooth process throughout, ensure that the walls and ceiling are clean, dry, and free from dust or debris. Any existing paint or wallpaper should be removed or smoothed out before installing the coving.

7. Finishing touches

After installing the coving, you need to take care of any gaps or irregularities. Fill any gaps between the coving and the wall or ceiling with caulk or filler. Sand the coving and surrounding areas for a seamless finish. Finally, you can paint or finish the coving to match your room décor.

8. Patience and attention to detail

Whether you are working with tricky ceiling coves or corners, challenging spaces require patience and attention to detail. Take your time to ensure each step is executed accurately. Make test fits before cutting or permanently fixing the coving. It is better to spend extra time on preparation than rush through the coving installation.

Can you use all types of coving in challenging spaces?

A corner of off-white coving in challenging spaces being planned out above a cream coloured wall.

While most types of coving can be adapted and used in challenging spaces with proper techniques and modifications, some materials may present more difficulties or limitations. Here are a few types of coving that may not be ideal for challenging spaces.

Type of covingReason
Solid plaster covingBecause it is made entirely of plaster without any reinforcing core, solid plaster coving can be more fragile and less forgiving in challenging spaces. It may be more prone to cracking or breaking when attempting to fit it in tight or difficult areas. Also, it requires careful handling and installation.
Hardwood covingWhether it is oak or walnut, hardwood coving is generally less flexible than other materials like polystyrene coving. It may be more challenging to bend or shape hardwood coving to fit irregular or curved surfaces. Plus, hardwood coving can be heavier and may require more substantial support during installation.
Metal covingMetal covings, such as aluminium or brass, can be difficult to manipulate in challenging spaces. It typically requires specialised tools and techniques to cut and shape. Metal coving is less flexible than other materials, making it harder to conform to irregular surfaces or tight corners.

How to cut coving for challenging corners

When it comes to cutting coving for challenging corners, achieving precise cuts is essential for a seamless and professional finish. Discover these tips and techniques to navigate the complexities of cutting coving for challenging spaces, such as various cove cutting techniques, including using mitre saws, coping saws, and a combination of methods to help you tackle complex corner cuts with confidence. 

Use a mitre saw

A mitre saw is a commonly used tool for cutting coving, especially for straight corners. With the help of a coving mitre box, set the mitre saw to a 45-degree angle (or the required angle for your corner) and carefully position the coving to make the cut. This coving mitre tool method works well for internal and external corners that have a straight profile. 

Cut with a coping saw

Coping is a technique used to achieve seamless joints in coving, particularly for corners with irregular or curved profiles. Start by cutting a straight 45-degree angle on the first piece using a mitre saw. Then use a coping saw to cut along the curved profile of the coving, following the contour of the previously cut piece. This creates a precise fit between the two pieces.

Create templates

For complex or repetitive corner cuts, creating templates can prove to be helpful. Trace the shape of the corner onto a piece of cardboard or thin wood, and then transfer that shape to the coving. You can then use the template as a guide for making accurate and consistent cuts.

Combination of mitre and coping

In some cases, combining mitre cuts with coping cuts can be an effective solution. For example, if you have a corner that has both a curved section and a straight section, use a mitre saw to cut the straight part and then use the coping method for the curved part to achieve a precise fit.

Trial and error

You will find challenging corners that may require some trial and error. Start by making test cuts on scrap pieces of coving to determine the best approach for your specific corner. This allows you to refine your cutting technique and ensure a perfect fit before cutting the actual coving pieces.

Internal vs external coving corners: which are the most difficult to cut?

Different internal and external corner cuts of white coving in challenging spaces.

Cutting internal coving corners is generally more challenging compared to cutting external coving corners. In contrast, external coving corners are relatively easier to cut as they involve simpler angles and can be more forgiving in terms of achieving a smooth finish. Below are the key reasons to consider. 

  • Angle calculation: Internal corners typically require more precise angle calculations compared to external corners. Internal corners are formed by two walls that meet at an angle, usually 90 degrees. Achieving an accurate 45-degree cut on each piece of coving is crucial to create a seamless joint. Even a slight miscalculation can result in a visible gap or overlapping of the moulding.
  • Coping technique: As outlined above, coping is a common technique used to achieve tight-fitting internal corners. It involves cutting the end of one piece of coving to fit the contour of the other piece, which remains straight. Coping requires a steady hand and careful attention to detail to accurately trace and cut the intricate shape of the moulding.
  • Wall imperfections: Internal corners can be more challenging due to potential wall imperfections in your home or workspace. Walls may not be perfectly straight or square, which can affect the accuracy of the cuts and the alignment of the moulding. Therefore, dealing with irregularities and ensuring a snug fit can be more difficult in internal corners.

How much time does it take to install coving in challenging spaces?

The time it takes to install coving in challenging spaces can vary depending on the complexity and size of the space, the skill level of the coving installer, and the type of coving you choose. For straightforward installations - where the walls are regular and the corners are easily accessible - installing coving can be relatively quick. A skilled installer can typically complete the process within a couple of hours for an average-sized room. Read our article on saving time and money on installing coving to learn more. 

But challenging spaces can present additional difficulties. If the space has irregular or uneven walls, complex architectural features, or tight corners, the installation process can become more time-consuming. In such cases, it may take significantly longer to measure, cut, and fit the coving precisely. For spaces requiring intricate cuts or custom solutions, the installation time can be extended even further. It might involve additional steps like creating templates, making multiple adjustments, and carefully aligning the coving to ensure a proper fit.

Flexible coving materials at competitive trade prices

When it comes to selecting coving products for your interior design or construction projects, finding reliable and high-quality materials is essential. At Building Materials Nationwide, we cater to the needs of both customers and building professionals. With an extensive range of coving products that boast superior craftsmanship, durability, and aesthetic appeal, we offer an unparalleled selection for all your coving needs.

For our construction professional customers, we offer a trade account option to help you find the best materials and tools at competitive trade prices. Also, when you open an account with us, you will benefit from a dedicated account manager for personalised assistance, timely order processing, and efficient UK-wide delivery to save you valuable time. Plus, our commitment to exceptional customer service means you will receive expert advice, recommendations, and ongoing support, allowing you to deliver outstanding results to your clients. Sign up for an account online, or you can give us a call for a friendly chat.