Planning & preparation

  • Coving comes in a variety of widths and materials such as plaster, lightweight polystyrene and duropolymer, so be sure to look at the range and select an option that works for you
  • Sections of coving are typically joined in the corners of the room, using a pair of 45-degree mitre cuts. However, by selecting a type of coving that offers pre-cut internal and external joints, you’ll only need to make simpler square cuts
  • Check the coving manufacturer’s instructions for information about the correct type of adhesive to use with your product
  • It’s best to fit your coving prior to painting or putting up wallpaper
  • If your room also has architrave or skirting, consider choosing a similar design in order to have a consistent style throughout

Do it right

  • You should always fix coving straight and level as you can fill any gaps in afterwards. When drawing your fitting line, make sure that it is perfectly horizontal, rather than rising and falling with any unevenness in the ceiling
  • If you are cutting your own mitre joints, it’s a good idea to practice cutting both an internal and an external join on an offcut of coving, to avoid mistakes later. Bear in mind that for an internal corner, the wall edge of the coving is longer than the ceiling edge. For an external corner, the ceiling edge is longer than the wall edge
  • If you are using pre-formed internal and external corners, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the preferred order of fitting corners and straight lengths of coving
  • It is possible to put up coving on your own, but for long pieces, it’s much easier with another pair of hands, so ask a friend to help

Staying safe

  • Clamp the mitre box in a workbench, or screw it to a piece of sheet timber that you can kneel on. This keeps both hands free so you can to hold the coving in position whilst using the saw
  • Make sure your stepladder or work platform is on a level base, and the legs are locked into place. Move the ladder regularly to avoid over-reaching
  • Wear safety goggles and a dust mask when sawing or sanding
  • When using adhesive, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on usage, safety and drying times


  • Allow at least 24 hours after installation before painting the coving
  • Check the coving manufacturer’s instructions for any advice, or restrictions, on the type of paint to use

How to Fit Coving


Check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how far the edges of the coving should be fixed from the joint between the wall and the ceiling.


Then, go around the room and draw pairs of marks onto the wall and ceiling at 500mm intervals.


Join up the marks with a long spirit level, so you have one continuous horizontal line running around the room on the wall, and another line on the ceiling. These will be your guidelines for fixing the coving.


Ensure the area between the lines is free from dust and loose plaster.


If the surfaces have previously been painted, sealed, or are very porous, prime with PVA adhesive and allow to dry.


Score the wall above the line using a retractable knife, to help the adhesive to bond firmly.


If you are using mitre cuts to create your corner pieces, measure the distance you need and then mark the length onto the wall edge side of the coving.


Then, mark the intended direction of the mitre cuts. This will depend on whether it is an internal or external corner.


Firmly secure the mitre box in your workbench. Place the coving into the mitre box with the wall edge at the top of the box.


Use a fine-toothed panel saw to make 45-degree mitre cuts at each end, in the marked direction. If need be, lightly sand the cut ends until smooth.


To fit the coving, start by hold the cut piece in position to check it is a good fit.


Apply a generous line of the correct adhesive to the top and bottom edges of the coving. Use enough so that a little will ooze out and help to fill any small gaps.


Align the coving with the lines on the wall and ceiling, then work your way along, carefully pressing it into position.


It’s a good idea to lightly hammer panel pins into the wall to hold the coving in place, whilst the adhesive sets.


If a long wall means you have to join two lengths of coving together, make a pair of 45-degree mitre cuts in the same direction, so that the two sections overlap at the mitred join.


Apply adhesive to both mitre cuts and then join.


If you are using pre-cut corners, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the preferred order of fitting corners and straight lengths of coving. Then, fix the coving in the same method as outlined above.


Fill any remaining gaps between adjoining pieces of coving, or between the coving and the wall or ceiling, by squeezing in a little extra adhesive.


Remove any excess adhesive with a scraper, then wipe with a damp cloth, to leave a clean and even join.