Installation Instructions for Ceiling Coving and Cornice

Needed Equipment

Cross-cut saw with medium teeth. Pick one with a reasonably rigid blade since a flexing knife may cause the coving to be cut at an angle, making it difficult to get a snug fit with the adjacent length of coving.

Cutting coving requires a miter box, so be sure it’s big enough. A standard error is to lie the coving “flat” and miss it as if it were an architrave or a picture frame but remember that it is supported against the rear plate of the miter box. Coving is permanently installed “upside down” in the miter box, with the edge that will be fastened to the ceiling resting on the box’s base (horizontal part).

Adhesives – When installing coving, use the recommended adhesives, which may include specialized cement for the joints (a strong bond glue to prevent cracks). Ensure the temperature is above 10 degrees Celsius so the adhesives may cure adequately.

A pencil, ruler, spirit level, standard caulking/cartridge gun, hammer and small nails, sponge and water, filling knife, trimming knife, paintbrush (to use when mixing in the filler), and filler are all additional items that will be needed.

When sawing, make sure you apply hard, forward pressure. Try not to cut too rapidly or with too much power. Hold the coving firmly in the miter box with your non-cutting hand to keep the coving from shifting while you miss it. To prevent the cove from sagging down its length, supporting or raising the opposite end to the same level as the rest is preferable. Adjust the stops in the miter box so that the coving or cornice projects the desired distance from the ceiling. Just to be safe, take some measurements.

When positioning the coving in the miter box, the central part that will be hung on the left wall should be to your right, and the main section that will be hung on the right-hand wall should be to your left for internal corners.

The same concept applies to external corners, but you’ll cut with a 45° guide facing opposite directions. A stop end is created by trimming away a similar amount of material as when cutting an exterior corner.


Start with any exterior corners (like a chimney breast) you have. Otherwise, begin with the hub that greets you when entering the room (it’s usually simpler to get the initial corner of the installation right, so pick the one that stands out the most).

Establish a clean and sound drop down the wall from the ceiling where the coving will be fastened. Mark off various spots around the room and draw a line there. Avoid following the ceiling’s uneven surface (any resulting gap may be closed), and make sure the line is horizontal. Put in a pin nail every 500 millimeters or so as a makeshift wall anchor. (The adhesive/filling compound will hide the tiny nail holes). The space between the line and the ceiling might be scored for improved adherence. You can opt to do the same thing on the top.

First, measure the required distance along the wall, then measure it again to ensure. Copy the dimensions onto the coving and, if necessary, draw a line in the direction the cut will generally go. This will help you align the coving with the miter box and make a clean cut.

Make the incision, and then offer to double-check that the two halves fit together to your satisfaction. Don’t worry if the join isn’t flawless; few rooms have 90-degree corners. The key is to utilize filler sparingly and only when necessary.

Apply the glue down the entire length of the coving’s back borders, where it will touch the wall and ceiling. As a rough guide, a 310ml cartridge should provide adequate coverage for 6-8m.

Push the coving firmly into place, correcting as needed, using the nails as a lever and the line on the wall as a guide. Now, put a dab of joint cement on the coving’s end, where it will connect to the next piece. If done correctly, this will create a joint more substantial than the coving piece it joins and will avoid cracks in the future.

To finish exploring the space, repeat the steps above.

Get rid of the surplus glue and use it to seal the spaces between the coving and the wall or ceiling. Smooth with your finger, a filling knife, and a damp paintbrush, then remove any excess glue with a wet sponge. Finally, after 3-4 hours, remove the nails and fill the holes described above.


The coving has already had an undercoat or primer applied, so after 24 hours, it will be ready to be painted. Any paint can do, although emulsion is water-based, so keep that in mind. This implies that if there is a lot of vibration or movement in the ceiling, it could develop tiny cracks. Acrylic/oil-based paints are less likely to develop fine fractures since they have more “elasticity” in them.

The Davuka GRP Company

David Warner is the owner and managing director of Davuka GRP Ltd (, the premier online retailer of decorative ceiling coving, cornice, and architectural moldings in the United Kingdom.

You may find an illustrated version of this coving installation guide at

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