28th Jun 2023 -

When it comes to adding an elegant finishing touch to your interior design, few elements can rival the timeless appeal of plaster coving. Also commonly known as cornice coving or gyproc coving, plaster coving has been adorning ceilings and walls for centuries, showcasing exquisite craftsmanship and enhancing the architectural beauty of any space.

But achieving a seamless and flawless installation requires careful planning and execution. In this article, we will explore the key considerations that contribute to a successful plaster coving installation, ensuring a straightforward integration of style and functionality within your home or workspace.

What is plaster coving?

Widely known as a feature of the Victorian era, plaster coving is a decorative element used to enhance the visual appeal and architectural character of a room. Unlike polystyrene coving which is light in weight, plaster coving is a heavy material installed at the junction where the walls meet the ceiling. Plaster coving provides a smooth transition between your walls and ceiling while adding elegance and charm to your space.

Traditionally crafted from plaster of Paris - alongside a mixture of gypsum, water, and other additives - plaster coving is renowned for its versatility and ability to be intricately moulded into various designs. From simple and understated profiles to elaborate and ornate motifs, plaster coving offers various styles to suit your architectural and design preferences.

The moulding is typically cast in sections and you can install it along the perimeter of your room, creating a cohesive and visually appealing transition between the vertical walls and the horizontal ceiling plane. Also, plaster coving is renowned for its durability and is a popular choice if you are hoping to introduce a Victorian coving style or a contemporary design.

Its robust nature allows it to withstand the test of time and maintain its structural integrity, ensuring that the decorative element remains intact and aesthetically pleasing for years to come. Learn everything you need to know about plaster coving with our comprehensive article

What to consider when installing plaster coving

A construction worker wearing a red t-shirt and red baseball cap fitting plaster coving with a small hand tool.

Whether you are a construction professional or a DIY enthusiast, installing plaster coving requires careful attention to detail and adherence to best practices. Below are key considerations tailored for both construction professionals and DIYers to think about.  

1. Construction professionals

Experience and expertiseThink about your expertise in construction and moulding installation techniques.
Ensure you are familiar with the specific requirements of plaster coving installation.
Understand the complexities of working with plaster and handling intricate designs.
Safety measuresComply with safety regulations and use appropriate protective gear.
Follow safe working practices, especially when working at heights or using power tools.
Ensure you create a secure and stable work environment for yourself and others involved.
Project managementPlan the installation process, including coordinating with other trades involved.
Allocate sufficient time for accurate measurements, planning, and execution.
Oversee the project to maintain quality and timely completion.
Skilful installationUtilise advanced tools and techniques for precise cutting and fitting.
Be sure to use professional-grade adhesive and fixing methods to ensure durability.
Address any challenges straight away, such as irregular surfaces or complex room layouts.

2. DIYers

Research and preparationMake sure to familiarise yourself with plaster coving installation techniques (learn more with our in-depth article). 
Gather the necessary tools, materials, and equipment for your project.
Plan the installation process meticulously and consider your skill level and available resources.
Attention to detailTake your time during the installation process, allowing for accurate work throughout.
Be sure to pay close attention to alignment, symmetry, and seamless joints.
Look at any imperfections promptly to achieve a professional-looking result.
AccuracyYou should take precise measurements of the room and angles to ensure a proper fit.
Double-check measurements to avoid errors and material wastage.
Consider using templates or guides to assist with accurate cutting and positioning.
Professional adviceConsult with construction professionals or experienced plasterers on how to fit coving.
Consider hiring a professional for complex or intricate installations.
Prioritise safety and consult experts if uncertain about any aspect of the project.
Skill developmentPractice cutting and fitting techniques on scrap pieces before working on the actual coving.
You should acquire the necessary skills for smoothing joints, applying filler, and achieving a seamless finish.
Seek guidance from experts or attend workshops to enhance your skill set.

Pros and cons of DIY plaster coving installation

It is important to carefully assess your skill level, availability and willingness to take on a potentially complex project before you decide to bring your ceiling and wall coving ideas to fruition. If you are confident in your abilities and willing to invest the necessary time and effort, it can be a rewarding and cost-effective option. But if you are unsure or prefer a professional touch, hiring an experienced installer will be a better choice to ensure a high-quality outcome. Here are the pros and cons of tackling plaster coving installation yourself.

Pros of DIY plaster coving

  1. Save money: One of the key benefits of DIY installation is the option to cut costs. You can avoid the labour costs associated with hiring a professional, which can make the project more affordable.
  2. Learning opportunity: Taking on a DIY project like plaster coving installation provides an opportunity to learn new skills and gain hands-on experience. It can be a rewarding and educational experience, enhancing your knowledge of home improvement.
  3. Control and flexibility: Doing the installation yourself gives you complete control over the process. You can choose the style, pattern, and placement of the coving, allowing for greater customisation and personalisation.
  4. Sense of accomplishment: Completing a DIY project such as installing plaster coving can provide a sense of pride and accomplishment. Seeing the finished result and knowing you did it yourself can be very satisfying and will boost your confidence to tackle other projects.

Cons of DIY plaster coving

  1. Skills and experience: Installing plaster coving requires a certain level of skill and expertise. If you are unfamiliar with the process, it can be challenging to achieve a professional-quality finish. Mistakes may be difficult to fix or require additional assistance.
  2. Tools and materials: DIY installations require you to have the necessary tools and materials for the job, such as a coving mitre box and plaster coving adhesive. If you do not already own them, you will need to invest in purchasing or renting the appropriate equipment. This adds to the overall cost of the project.
  3. Effort and time: DIY installations can be time-consuming and physically demanding. You need to measure, cut, fit, and secure the coving, which can be labour-intensive. If you have limited time or physical limitations, it may be difficult to efficiently complete the project.
  4. Limited guarantees and insurance: When you install plaster coving yourself, you will not have the same level of insurance coverage or warranties that professionals may offer. If any issues arise or if the installation does not meet your expectations, you will have to remove the plaster coving or rectify any other issues at your own expense.
  5. Potential for errors: Without professional training and experience, there is a higher risk of making mistakes during the installation and a greater possibility of having to hire a professional to carry out any repair work. Uneven joints, gaps, or improper alignment can impact the final appearance. Achieving a seamless and polished finish may be more challenging.

How to fit plaster coving with the right skills

A construction worker wearing a dark blue shirt fitting plaster coving with a small hand tool.

There are several training opportunities available for construction professionals and DIYers to learn how to install plaster coving. Here are 4 plaster coving training options you should consider for a high-quality installation. 

1. Courses and workshops

Local trade schools, community colleges, or vocational training centres often offer workshops or short courses specifically focused on plastering and decorative moulding installation. These courses, such as this selection of plastering courses from Access Training, provide hands-on training and expert guidance to develop the necessary skills. Be sure to look for workshops or courses organised by professional associations, industry organisations, or plastering manufacturers. 

2. Networking and mentorship

Connect with experienced professionals in the construction industry who have expertise in plaster coving installation. Seek their guidance, ask questions, and observe their techniques. Plus, see if you can attend industry conferences, trade shows, or networking events to interact with professionals and gain insights into the latest practices and trends in plastering and decorative moulding installation.

3. Practical experience

If you have the opportunity, gain practical experience by working alongside experienced plasterers or construction professionals who specialise in the installation of decorative coving. Make sure you offer to assist on projects or volunteer for community initiatives involving plaster coving installation. Hands-on experience under supervision can be a valuable learning opportunity.

4. Manufacturer resources

Plaster coving manufacturers may offer resources such as installation guides, manuals, or instructional videos on their websites. These resources are often tailored to their specific products, providing valuable insights into their recommended installation methods. Some manufacturers may also conduct training sessions or webinars for professionals, where you can learn about their products and installation techniques directly from the experts.

Plaster coving tools and materials with quick UK delivery

At Building Materials Nationwide, we offer a seamless process for you to buy plaster coving products. First, browse our comprehensive online website which showcases a wide range of modern coving options. You can easily compare different styles and sizes, and select the ones that best suit your requirements. Once you have chosen the best plaster coving products for your project, you can buy them using our simple online ordering system. Plus, we ensure prompt delivery directly to your doorstep or building site. 

We also offer our building and construction professional customers the option to open a trade account with us. Opening a trade account provides numerous benefits, such as competitive trade pricing, access to your own dedicated trade account manager, as well as a long-term partnership with the UK’s leading supplier of building materials and tools. If you are ready to get started, spend 2 minutes signing up on our website or give our friendly team a call to learn more.