Fitting Coving Costs

By Melissa
Last updated 30th January 2024 - Reading time: 13 mins
At a glance
  • The average cost to fit coving is around £340
  • The job will take approximately 1 - 3 days to complete
In this article, you'll discover the following:
  • A complete pricing breakdown which includes cost factors to consider, the types of coving available, along with what such a task usually involves
  • How long the job should approximately take and a general overview of what kind of jobs can be performed
  • How to find and hire a coving fitter

Want to know the pricing involved in having coving installed?

In this guide, we'll look at the cost of different types of coving installations and discuss other related subjects ranging from what's involved in fitting coving to whether it can be installed DIY.

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On average, the cost to install coving typically lies anywhere between £250 and £450.

coving

Average Cost of Fitting Coving:

Depending on the complexity of the job, it usually takes: 1-3 days

£340

How Much Does It Cost to Fit Coving?

The cost of fitting coving would depend on the type and style of coving being installed. It costs around £130 to £210 to have regular and cheap lightweight polyurethane coving installed, whereas most standard coving for a regular-sized room would have an installation price of between £250 and £450.

If you’d rather have Bespoke plaster coving fitted, expect to pay approximately £750 to £1,250. Other types of coving that may interest you are picture rails/dado rails which cost about £240 to £360 to install. As for a wall panelling installation, you’d need a budget of roughly £450 to £550.

The cost factors would include type/size of coving installation, the material used and ease of access to the work area. In addition, where you live would matter since labour costs differ from region to region throughout the UK.

Would having various coving installed in my living room, kitchen and around the outside of my home add value to my home by any significant degree?

"Well, depending on the type of house it is, for example, if Victorian keeping or replacing ornate coving would have value, especially if it was broken or torn down, some new homes not so sure, as it would be more for decoration and hiding unsightly ceiling line, i.e. cracks."

Coving Prices

Type of Coving Labour Cost Supply Costs Total Cost
Lightweight Polyurethane Coving £90 to £130 £40 to £80 £130 to £210
Coving for a regular-sized room £150 to £250 £100 to £200 £250 to £450
Bespoke Coving £350 to £450 £400 to £800 £750 to £1,250
Picture rails/dado rails £160 to £220 £80 to £140 £240 to £360
Wall Panelling £250 to £300 £200 to £250 £450 to £550
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Supply Only Costs

We'll now look at the coving installation cost of supplies/materials. These would be the costs involved if you purchase the supplies directly from a retailer.

The average supply costs are as follows:

Type of Coving Supply Costs
Regular lightweight polyurethane coving £40 to £80
Standard coving for a regular room £100 to £200
Bespoke coving £400 to £800
Picture rails/dado rails £80 to £140
Wall Panelling £200 to £250
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Additional Costs

When having coving fitted, you may be interested in having some additional work undertaken. Let’s take a look at some extra jobs’ worth considering.

Painting Your Living Room

One suitable job would be to have your living room done up. Fresh coats of paint can give a room a lease of life.

painting living room

To have a room painted with two coats of emulsion would be priced at around £300 to £500. If old wallpaper must be removed first, this will bring the overall cost to around £450 to £550.

Replace Skirting Boards and Architraves

These replacements would be a nice match for the installation of coving in your living room. On average, the cost of replacing skirting boards and architraves lands around £200 to £300.

replacing skirtingboard

However, the pricing would vary depending on the size of the installation area and the type of moulding used. For instance, hardwood skirting boards tend to be more expensive than softwood skirting boards, which generally cost more than MDF skirting boards. The same logic applies to said materials in relation to architraves.

Labour Costs and Timescales

As for the cost of labour, how much a contractor will charge will depend on the extent of the work required. A regular lightweight polyurethane coving installation would cost about £90 to £130 with pricing reaching £150 to £250 for standard coving for a regular room.

The labour price is about £350 to £450 for a Bespoke coving. The cost of labour for installing wall panelling is around £250 to £300 with it likely ending up between £160 to £220 for a picture rail/dado rail instalment.

As for the work timeframes, they are approximately as follows:

  • Regular lightweight polyurethane coving - 0.5 days
  • Standard coving for a regular room - 1 to 2 days
  • Bespoke coving - 3 to 4 days
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Cost Factors of Fitting Coving

We'll now discuss the cost-affecting factors of installing coving in more detail.

coving

Type/Size of Coving

The cost of coving would depend on the type/size being installed. This would affect both the supply cost and labour cost. The prices of supplies vary naturally, while the type/size would also affect the labour cost as some would take longer to install than others. The materials used could also prove a cost-relevant way of differentiating various types of coving.

Ease of Access

If a contractor can access an area with relative ease, the job will likely cost less than if the work area is less accessible. This would relate to the labour cost as less accessibility may mean the work takes longer and, therefore, may be billed higher.

Location of Property

Another important cost factor is what region in the UK you live in. This is due to the fact that labour prices differ throughout the UK. Labour prices are usually higher in the southeast, whereas they tend to be under the national average in northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What's Involved in Installing Coving?

The process of installing coving can vary depending on the size/type being installed. However, in this section, we’ll give you an approximate step-by-step guide to the installation of coving.

1. Preparation

Before any real preparation work can get underway, you’ll need to decide whether you want to hire a contractor for this job or not. If you do, don’t forget to check our final section ‘Hiring contractors to fit coving checklist’ for more advice on this.

Alternatively, you may want to fit it DIY, and we’ll touch more on this approach in the following section.

Measurements are required prior to the actual installation taking place. You’ll need to first measure the width of the coving and mark it on a ruler. Next, mark a straight line on both walls.

It should be the same distance from the ceiling as the coving width itself. The marked spot on your ruler can be used to help here. The line needs to be level and run from corner to corner. The reason for taking this approach is to ensure the coving adhesive will stick firmly in place.

2. Installing the Coving

We're now getting on to the more practical side of things. Using a knife, score the area between the marked lines and the actual ceiling. This is a way of making sure there are no sizeable areas of undisturbed paint/wallpaper.

Sort of returning briefly to the preparations phase, you’ll need to make more measurements. In this case, you have to measure out the actual coving areas. At both coving corners, the coving should be cut at a 45° angle as a way to ensure each section runs from perpendicular walls and slide over one another.

The first section of coving entering a corner should persist atop the other. The cut in the first coving should slope upward and vice versa for the second piece. Decide which section will protrude which way and mark the lines accordingly.

After this, grab a mitre box and fit the coving sections in place so that you make the necessary markings. Employ a saw to cut through these lines. It’s important that you keep the edges as level as you can for the best results.

Once you've cut the coving sections, add adhesive to the back of one coving section. This adhesive should be added as a thin and even layer; it should cover the full length of the section too.

Press this coving piece against the wall based on the correct position it should be installed. You’ll be using your marked line as a way to achieve this accurately. Hold the coving section in place firmly and hold it with the palm of your hand.

While the adhesive dries, you can hammer several nails into the section to fully secure it into position. Now, repeat the previous actions for the second coving section although, the only difference is that you’ll want to add adhesive to the edges of each coving section so that they press together and stick in place fully.

Once everything is in place, you should wipe off any excess adhesive on, above or below the coving sections with a towel.

Can I Fit Coving Myself?

The good news is that yes, you can indeed fit coving DIY. Of course, it’s important that you have the right skills and knowledge.

carpentry

An incorrect installation could prove costly as you could spend time and money on doing it yourself only to find you need a professional to come out and do it all over after.

Even with the right skills and knowledge, it’s important to take your time to ensure the job is done right. Fitting it DIY would reduce the cost of installing coving as it means no labour fees.

Hazards/dangers of installing coving by yourself:

  • Hurting yourself while cutting with a saw.
  • Injuring yourself with a knife when scoring the work area initially.
  • Ingesting adhesive by accident.

Building Regulations & Planning Permission for Coving Installation

There are no specific building regulations or planning permission rules that relate to installing coving. However, you should still make sure you install it in the correct manner and in a safe way also.

If you are undertaking additional work, then regulations or planning permission may apply. If in doubt, you should get in touch with your local council.

Planning permission approval can take up to eight weeks and often costs about £200 whereas building regulations approval tends to be priced at around £100.

Types of Coving

There are indeed different types of Coving. We can break them down by category of quality/scale, such as lightweight polyurethane coving vs. bespoke coving. However, we'll look more at the different types in terms of style and material.

Coving/Cornice

The primary option is regular coving or ceiling coving; this is the strip that is fitted to the join between a ceiling and wall. The cornice is a decorative C-shaped type of regular coving.

coving

Cornice (a sort of Victorian coving style) is often found in Victorian houses whereas contemporary cornice tends to be plainer and is sometimes referred to as art deco.

For a simple and popular option, regular coving/cornice would be a good option for you. Two sub-categories of regular coving are polystyrene coving and polyurethane coving.

Picture Rail/Dado Rail

Similar to coving, these ‘coving rails’ exist along a wall and do not reach up to the ceiling. They are called rails because they are often positioned at the height, you’d expect to find a handrail in a given location.

Both a picture rail and dado rail are quite similar with a few differences between them. Picture rails would be used to avoid wall plaster having nails knocked directly into them. Picture hooks can then be employed as an alternative for fitting artistic work. Dado rails are designed to prevent wall scuffing.

Wall Panelling

These panels are a sort of larger version of regular coving that begins near or at the ground and rises up. They are installed for decorative purposes, indeed, most coving is.

wall panelling

Hiring Contractors to Fit Coving Checklist

We'll now lay out our key tips to take on board when finding a contractor for the job. By taking the right steps, you might save money or ensure a particularly high-quality job, or both.

Checklist for hiring a contractor to install coving:

  • Ask friends/family for their recommendations.
  • Obtain several quotes before making a decision.
  • Check out any online ratings/reviews different coving installers might have.

FAQs

Is installing coving a messy task?

It can be a bit messy, yes, particularly if you’re installing plastic coving. On the whole, wooden coving is generally more straightforward to install.

How many coats of paint should go over layers of coving?

If painting is the right look for your coving and you decide to do so, generally between one and three coats will suffice.

Would a painter/decorator take on the task of fitting coving?

Some would be happy to undertake this work, while others will not. It will depend on the specific contractor.

Should coving be painted with a matte or gloss paint?

You’d want to go with a very matte paint. Gloss should never be used on coving as it won’t look good.

Is coving outdated?

Not really. It is something that goes way back and yes, some designs can look old-fashioned but there are many suitable modern coving designs to choose from.

How do you fix broken coving?

To do so, the following steps are generally needed;
  1. Remove the damaged coving section
  2. Scrape broken paster off
  3. Fill any holes with a plaster-based filler
  4. Let the filler dry
  5. Sand the surface down for a smooth finish
  6. Add the new and matching section of coving
If in doubt consult a professional.

What is LED coving?

LED lighting coving features LED lights on the coving itself and illuminates the space around it.

How do you cut coving corners?

Coving corners should be cut with a metre block at a 45-degree angle.

Sources

https://www.wickes.co.uk/how-to-guides/decorating/fit-coving
https://www.wikihow.com/Fit-Coving

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