28th Jun 2023 -

Plaster coving is a classic architectural feature that adds elegance and charm to any room. The graceful curves and intricate designs can transform a plain ceiling or wall into a work of art. However, like any home improvement project, installing plaster coving can come with its fair share of challenges.

From alignment issues to adhesion problems, homeowners and DIY enthusiasts may encounter a range of obstacles that require careful troubleshooting. In this article, we will explore some of the most common challenges that can arise during plaster coving installation and provide practical tips and solutions to overcome them, ensuring a successful and visually stunning result.

8 common issues when you install plaster coving

Installing plaster coving can be a challenging task even for seasoned professionals and requires a high degree of skill and precision. Below are 8 common challenges that you may encounter when installing plaster coving as well as top tips to combat these issues, ensuring a successful installation and a professional finish.

1. Handle fragile material

Plaster coving is a delicate material which can easily break or chip. It is crucial that you must take care during handling, transportation, and installation to avoid any damage to the coving.

Top tips

  • Be sure to handle the plaster coving with care, using both hands and avoid excessive pressure.
  • Use protective padding or wrap the coving in a soft material during transportation and storage.
  • If you are worried about its fragility, consider using plaster coving alternatives, such as lightweight polyurethane or polystyrene coving, which are less fragile.

2. Measure and cut

A major challenge is accurately measuring and cutting coving pieces to fit your room's dimensions. The corner and angle sections can be complex and require precise measurements and cuts to ensure a proper fit.

Top tips

  • Make sure you prioritise learning how to measure coving, take measurements multiple times and double-check before making any cuts.
  • You can use a coving mitre box or a mitre saw with adjustable angles to ensure precise cuts of corner coving or coving stop end sections.
  • When you learn how to cut coving, consider making test cuts on scrap pieces before you cut the actual pieces.

3. Joint alignment

When installing multiple lengths of coving, achieving seamless joint alignment can be difficult. Make sure to align the joints and maintain a consistent gap between the sections - it is crucial for a professional finish.

Top tips

  • Think about investing in a good quality coving mitre box or angle finder tool to help achieve precise internal coving corners and angles for joint alignment.
  • Be sure to use a small strip of sandpaper to sand down the edges of the coving for a better fit and seamless joint.

4. Uneven ceilings and walls

Walls and ceilings are rarely perfectly straight and level. Irregularities in these surfaces can make it challenging to achieve a seamless installation. Additional preparation, such as filling gaps or sanding uneven areas, may be required.

Top tips

  • Before fitting coving, you should prepare the surfaces by filling any gaps, sanding uneven areas, or applying a skim coat of plaster to create a smooth and even base.
  • Make sure to use a spirit level or a laser level to ensure accurate alignment and positioning of the plaster coving.

5. Fixings and adhesives

Choosing the right coving adhesive and fixing method is essential for securely attaching the coving to the wall and ceiling. If you use an incorrect plaster coving adhesive or an inadequate fixing technique, it can lead to instability, sagging, or premature detachment.

Top tips

  • It is important to select an adhesive specifically designed for plaster coving and follow the manufacturer's instructions for application.
  • Consider using fixings, such as screws or nails, in addition to adhesive for added stability and support.

6. Blend and finish

After all plaster cove sections are installed, it needs to be seamlessly blended into the surrounding surfaces. Achieving a smooth transition between the coving ceiling and wall may require additional plasterwork, sanding, or painting.

Top tips

  • Put a jointing compound or filler to fill any gaps or cracks between the coving and the wall or ceiling.
  • You should consider sanding down the filled areas to achieve a smooth finish.
  • Paint or decorate the coving and surrounding surfaces to create a seamless blend.

7. Time and patience

Installing plaster coving is a time-consuming process that demands patience and attention to detail. If you rush the coving installation process, it can result in costly mistakes and unsatisfactory outcomes.

Top tips

  • Be sure to allow ample time for the installation process, especially if you are a beginner or getting to grips with learning how to cut coving corners. 
  • Take breaks when needed to avoid rushing and making costly mistakes.
  • If you are unsure about anything, seek advice from professionals to learn techniques and gain confidence.

8. Work at heights

Depending on the size of your room and the height of your ceiling, installing plaster coving may require you to work at heights. This introduces safety concerns and may require the use of ladders, scaffolding, or other appropriate equipment.

Top tips

  • It is important to prioritise safety by using appropriate equipment, such as sturdy ladders, scaffolding, or working platforms.
  • Make sure your work area is well-lit and free from potential hazards.
  • Think about seeking assistance from a construction professional if working at heights is beyond your comfort level.

To overcome these challenges, it is often beneficial to seek help from an experienced professional. Proper planning, preparation, and taking your time during the installation can significantly improve the final result. But if you are determined to complete the project yourself, our comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to fit coving will help you through the journey. 

How long does plaster coving last?

When installed and maintained properly, plaster coving can have a remarkably long lifespan, generally lasting for 50 years or more. The longevity of plaster coving largely depends on various factors, including the quality of the installation, the environmental conditions, and the level of maintenance. If installed correctly by experienced professionals or with careful attention to detail by skilled DIY enthusiasts, plaster coving can withstand the test of time. But it is important to note that poor installation practices or excessive movement or settlement in the building structure can affect the longevity of plaster coving.

Also, regular maintenance plays a significant role in preserving the lifespan of plaster coving. Simple measures such as dusting and cleaning with a soft cloth can help prevent dirt and grime build-up while avoiding excessive moisture or humidity can prevent damage to the plaster. By providing proper care and timely inspections, you can avoid any costly repair work and ensure your plaster coving remains intact and visually appealing for many years. 

How to open a Building Materials Nationwide trade account

We take great pride in offering a wide range of top-quality plaster coving products to cater to the diverse needs of trade customers. Whether you are a homeowner, a builder or an interior designer searching for fresh ideas, our extensive selection ensures that you will find the perfect plaster coving to enhance your project. We supply ceiling and wall coving products which are crafted with precision and attention to detail, guaranteeing exceptional durability, aesthetic appeal, and ease of installation. 

Plus, we offer a convenient trade account service for our building and construction professional customers. With a trade account at Building Materials Nationwide, you will gain access to your own trade account manager, competitive trade pricing for all products, and dedicated support for a seamless purchasing experience tailored to meet your specific requirements. It takes just 2 minutes to sign up on our website or feel free to give our knowledgeable team a call to discuss how we can help.