The terms coving and cornices are frequently used interchangeably to describe an angled finish where a wall joins a ceiling. However as a London builder will explain, coving is the straight area between two horizontal corners and a cornice is the decorative moulding which masks the join where necessary between two pieces of coving. Coving and Cornices can also be used both internally and externally to create some incredible effects – see what our London builders have done on our “Inspiration” pages – or they can be integrated into a fantastic interior design program with matching architraves, skirting and dado rails.
Originally interior coving and cornices were made from plaster and became very popular during the 17th and 18th centuries as wealthy house owners demanded more and more ornate cornices to display their wealth. During Victorian times, the use of covings became more popular in more modest formats, and the Victorians also introduced the picture rail – a matching parallel strip several feet below the coving.
In modern homes, coving is likely to be very simple but still fulfils the same function – to hide the line where surfaces meet. Modern coving and cornices are almost all made from plastic or polystyrene, although plaster, gypsum and timber is available, usually at a greater cost. Coving is a simple way to finish off the look of a room and does not require any special skills to erect, just care and attention. Coving is especially useful when a new stud wall has been erected or a ceiling has been replaced, and fitting a cornice will remove the need to undertake detailed finishing of the corner where the wall and ceiling meet.
Coving and Cornices come in a range of materials:-
Plaster coving is expensive, heavy and easy to damage, however provides a more solid, impressive look to a room. You need to take precautions when putting up plaster coving as messy hands marks can be left on the plaster and surrounding walls and ceilings. Plaster coving can be painted with either emulsion or gloss to compliment the decor of your room once it is in place.
Paper Covered Gypsum is a medium weight option which is fairly robust but definitely needs to be painted after it is installed.
Polyurethane is a lighter coving which is also strong and also needs painting once you have it in the right location.
Polystyrene is a very light and very inexpensive choice for coving. It is easy to damage and has that typical polystyrene bubble finish, so will need careful handling and painting with emulsion.
Timber coving is light, flexible and easy to use. It is more appropriate in darken rooms with a wood theme and needs painting or varnishing once installed as it can discolour unevenly.
If you would like to find out more about coving and cornices, and the difference they can make to a room, speak to one of the builders in London featured in our Tradesmen´s Directory or alert London builders to your requirements by filling out a request in our “Post-a-Job” facility at the top of the page.