Sovalli Blog — Plaster Coving installation

Sovalli Blog - Plaster Coving installation

Plaster Coving installation

Installation advice

Plaster coving

To start this section i would like to say that there is a lot of different advice out there for the installation of plaster coving, this is simply my advice and the way i would install any type of plaster coving in any room. Most importantly i believe this method will give the first time installer the easiest way to a perfect finish.

Mixing container

Pallet knife or similar

Sharp fine tooth hand saw



Panel pins around an inch and a half long (40mm or so) for most coving

Don’t forget to make sure that you have a good safe platform to work off and some help


The first thing to do is to prepare the walls and ceiling.

Use a piece of coving offered up to the wall and ceiling to work out roughly which areas of the wall and ceiling will be in contact with the adhesive. These areas should be prepared or keyed so that the adhesive will grab correctly. Remove any dust or flaky paint and using either a piece of sand paper or a wire brush lightly roughen both surfaces. If it is new plaster then it should be sealed with a PVA solution (which is just wood glue and water) and left to dry.

Next you need to mark out the room. Take a short piece of the coving and offer it up so that it sits against the wall and ceiling as the coving will eventually do, make small pencil marks every foot or so on both the wall and the ceiling throughout the room making sure that in each corner the lines on the ceiling form a cross over each other in each corner.

I then hammer the panel pins into the marks you have just made. Only hammer the pins in half an inch to make a hole and then remove them. They will be used to support the coving while the adhesive sets but they will be in your way if you leave them in.

Choose the ‘worst’ corner in the room which is least noticeable, usually this is above the door. The reason for this is that if there is going to be a slight mis-match of pattern then it does not want to be in a conspicuous place. Start not in this corner but in the next corner either clockwise or anticlockwise and follow on around the room in the same direction until you get back to the corner one away from the ‘worst’ corner. The plan is to leave the two sides leading up to the ‘worst’ corner until last.

Set up your working platform, this should be a small tower scaffold or builders trestles and boards. The main thing you need is to be able to safely and easily work along the length of the coving.

You can now start with the first mitre. I would recommend that you cut a smaller piece of each length of coving to use for the corner cut, it is easier to handle this way. Make sure that you cut the piece in line with the pattern and that you use the remaining part of the length next.

Take the smaller piece and offer it up to the corner, you will see the point where the marks you made earlier intersect on the ceiling. Make a pencil mark at this point. You want to cut in a 45 degree straight line between the pencil mark and the opposite corner of the coving. Lay the piece of coving flat to do this. You are trying to get a 45 degree angle between these two points but the most important part is the face of the coving which you will see. Small errors can be made up with the adhesive.

Do this for both parts of the corner before using any adhesive, you will be able to get a better corner joint if you can move both parts about while the adhesive is still wet.

Mix up a small amount of adhesive to a thin paste, dampen all of the surfaces you will be working on and then apply adhesive to the corner cuts on both the wall and ceiling faces and also to the faces that will join to form the corner. You want enough adhesive on so that when you press it against the wall and ceiling some squezees out. Put one section in place and then press the panel pin into the hole that you made earlier (you will need the hammer to hand to give them another tap). Put a pin into the ceiling to retain it and then do the same for the other section. You can now position these to make the corner. Smooth off the excess adhesive with your finger.

Now take the remaining part of the length and again dampen the surfaces then apply adhesive along the length. Once in place use the pins to support it and smooth off with your finger.

Sovalli Blog - Plaster Coving installation

Keep working around the room untill you are back to the last corner.

You now have only the two sides leading into the ‘worst’ corner to do. You should now work back into the corner equally.

Ceiling roses

To fix a ceiling rose is really quite easy.

First of all you need to locate the joists, you can do this by tapping the ceiling or using an electronic joist locater. Which ever method you prefer you should check that what you have found is actually a joist. Use a brawdal or drill. In older buildings the plaster is likely to be lathe and plaster and will be at least an inch thick. If your probe meets open space after an inch or so try again.

Once you have found the joists you should mark them in pencil, mark outside of the area covered by the rose.

It is always best to get a fixing into more than one joist.

Dampen the surfaces, apply some adhesive and then position the rose in place.

Screw through the rose into the joists using screws that are at least 4 inches long.

Fill the edges with adhesive, smoooth off with your finger and make good the screw holes.

The specifications and technical information given in this publication are intended for guidance and although they are to the best of our knowledge correct, they are given without warranty. We cannot accept any responsibility for reliance placed upon the advice contained herein since practical experience and site conditions are outside of our control. Neither do we accept liability for the performance of the product arising from such use. This does not affect your statutory rights.

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