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Fitting Guides

If you plan to fit your plaster cornice or coving yourself instead of using a tradesman, this guide will help.


You will need a number of tools to complete the job, including:

• Standard wood saw for cutting the cornice
• Mitre box to help with accurate cutting
• A stable workbench for cutting
• Tape measure
• Stanley knife (or similar sharp blade)
• Wallpaper scraper
• A stable platform (this is much safer to work from than stepladders)
• Hammer and nails
• Screwdriver and screws


1 Cut a small length of cornice to use as a template.

2 Use the template to mark the top and bottom edges of the cornice on the walls and ceiling all around the room, making sure the marks are at regular intervals.

3 Remove any wallpaper or loose paint and plaster from the area.

4 Score the wall with a sharp blade, such as a Stanley knife, between the lines you have drawn to give a ‘key’ for the adhesive.

Cutting the cornice / coving

1 Calculate how many pieces of cornice you will need for the room and how long they should be before you begin cutting. Try to use as few joints as possible, as this will help to create a neater finish.

2 Place the cornice on a stable surface, such as a workbench, to help make cutting easier.

3 Do not rush the cutting. Neat mitres will make the fitting much simpler.

4 Use a mitre box to help achieve an accurate cut at the end of your first piece of cornice.

5 Take care to place the cornice the correct way around before cutting the first piece and double check that you also cut the angle of the remaining pieces in the right direction.

6 If the corners will come out into the room - for example, around a chimney breast - remember that the mitres will need to be cut in the opposite direction.


It is advisable to have some help when hanging cornice and you should also remember that plaster cornice can be quite fragile, so you will need to take extra care when lifting to avoid snapping it.

1 Spread a layer of adhesive over the rear of the cornice covering all the areas that will come into contact with the wall and ceiling.

2 Carefully press the cornice into place while lining the bottom up with the mark you made earlier.

3 If using long lengths of cornice it is always best to temporarily support the bottom of the cornice with nails, otherwise they may fall off before the adhesive has set. Make sure you leave enough of the nails ‘proud’ of the cornice to enable you to remove them once the adhesive has dried. The holes can easily be filled in later.

4 If the cornice is deep as well as long, it is sensible to use screws on heavy pieces as an additional fix. The heads of the screws can be countersunk and later filled over.

5 Use a scraper to remove any excess adhesive that may leak out, as well as filling any gaps or joint lines.

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