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Please help, how easy will it be to remove this coving??

(30 Posts)
Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 19:34:58

We are finally getting rid of our old back boiler and decorating our livingroom, starting with stripping the thick, textured wallpaper from the walls and removing the semi-boxed in cabinets from the alcoves.
We discovered that the coving in the room is plaster and not polystyrene like we originally thought (another room had polystyrene coving so we assumed this was the same)

Now we have removed the boxed in section of the top part of the alcove the wall behind it has no coving as it goes straight across (sorry I know this makes no sense, hopefully the picture makes it clearer) so we need to remove the coving. Any tips for how to remove this whilst causing minimal damage? We are planning to get the walls and ceiling replastered but we obviously don't want to cause too much carnage!

Me and DP are new to DIY so any tips and useful tools that would help us would be very much appreciated! smile

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Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 19:37:39

Also just to add, we areassuming that the coving has been there for many years as there is an old light we found boxed in the alcove that looks very old. If its anything like the textured wallpaper we have removed, it will be stuck down to within an inch of it's life and not want to be removed without a fight!

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TooManyMiles Tue 23-Feb-21 19:38:06

Why not have Covina added to match?

Neighneigh Tue 23-Feb-21 19:40:21

Honestly I would consider only taking off the straight section across the alcove, and buying a match so that you can continue the line of the coving inside the alcove. This will be cheaper easier and if it's original to the house please keep it!

tilder Tue 23-Feb-21 19:42:46

Plaster coving can be removed. How messy it is depends on a lot of things.

Do you want to get rid of all of it or just the bit across the opening? I would have thought cutting off that section and remounting at the back of the opening would be easier and less messy. You would also get to keep the plaster coving, which i like.

pilates Tue 23-Feb-21 19:43:49

Agree with Neigh, it will look so much better than without

Evillmum Tue 23-Feb-21 19:44:26

Would you recommend a block paver?

Cissyandflora Tue 23-Feb-21 19:50:37

I would just cut the piece that’s going across the front and move it to the new back. Cut straight through with a multi tool. If not available then try scoring and cutting with a knife.

Veterinari Tue 23-Feb-21 19:52:30


Honestly I would consider only taking off the straight section across the alcove, and buying a match so that you can continue the line of the coving inside the alcove. This will be cheaper easier and if it's original to the house please keep it!

It's obviously not original to the house as it doesn't follow the original outline of the room and go into the alcove

Veterinari Tue 23-Feb-21 19:53:12

Would agree it'll be easier to keep in and match the alcove to it though

Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 19:55:45

In all honesty I would love to keep the coving but as neither me or DP are very handy I am worried that trying to remove the coving that hangs above each alcove neatly will be very tricky and we will balls it up blush would a professional be able to find coving that matches to cover the exposed parts of the alcove if we manage to remove the 2 sections without destroying it?

I'm quite regretting removing the top part of the alcoves that were boxed in but we are hoping to have cabinets fitted in the lower section of each alcove and some shelves on the top half so wanted more room.

Can you tell I'm rubbish at all things home improvement?!

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Gwenhines Tue 23-Feb-21 20:01:14

Why not just drop the ceiling inside the alcove go the same level as the coving so it boxes in that old light and looks like its intensionally lower. You'll lose like 6 inches of height in the alcove but it'll look neat and squared off.

Gwenhines Tue 23-Feb-21 20:02:23

You could even get some spot lights wired into the false alcove ceiling.

Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 20:19:49

@Gwenhines that's not a bad idea! The ceilings are quite high so we would still have plenty of room for shelving in the alcoves. I know this is a silly question but is that something a plasterer could do as part of skimming the ceilings? At the moment the ceiling seems to be covered with a textured paper that has been painted over so we weren't sure if we would need to remove this or if a plasterer could skim over this.

I think we will continue to remove the other alcove and the remaining wallpaper and leave the coving alone for the moment. We need the boiler in and the electrics checked before we can move on to the plastering so we have a bit of time to look at different options.

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Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 20:22:09

Sorry I know I should really be asking a plasteter these questions! I'm like a fish out of water, wish I was handy and had the vaguest idea what I was doing grin

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whensmynexthol1day Tue 23-Feb-21 20:26:58

Gwenhines idea sounds perfect. It would be a shame to rip out that beautiful coving! I would have thought the plasterer could fix some plaster board to the existing frame and then plaster it over. I'd ask them

TooManyMiles Tue 23-Feb-21 21:48:44

You would need a plasterer who specialises in plaster work to match what is there.

An ordinary plasterer probably wouldn’t know what to do.

You could strip that paper off the ceiling. Score it and steam it, but don’t hold the steamer over one spot too long. Then use a scraper.

Afterwards you might find you need some repairs to the ceiling, and you might want to line it with lining paper.

Dropping the ceiling to cover up is a bit of a shame and might change the feeling of the proportions of the room.

Do you know roughly the date of the house?)

Tangledtresses Tue 23-Feb-21 21:55:09

We needed new ceilings in our Victorian property as there been plastered in horrid swirls of asbestos!
The asbestos people cut the ceiling out using a angle grinder and the plasterers put the new ceiling in and did an amazing job 😀
It can be done ✅

Tangledtresses Tue 23-Feb-21 21:56:44

We had a part missing too and I got someone in to match it and replace missing part £200

Rose5678 Tue 23-Feb-21 22:04:34

The room will probably have originally had built in cupboards in the alcove so the coving is following the original room layout.

Don’t take it out OP - original features add value! Plus it looks so much nicer! You can get a replica made using a mould of the existing coving and fill in any gaps with that. Much less messy and a nicer result than losing the coving

Idrankalltherum Tue 23-Feb-21 22:38:22

It's actually a flat (not that that makes a difference!) I think the deeds said it was built in 1934?

I know it's all a learning curve but this is the first place we have owned so I really don't want to mess it up. The only rooms we have touched are the 2 smaller bedrooms. Which look good, if you spin around 3 times and don't look too closely at the dodgy paintwork grin

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gluenotsoup Wed 24-Feb-21 11:00:41

I would do what Gwen said. Keep the coving as it is, is there a matching alcove on the other side? Keep the light point inside the alcove, install a false hidden ceiling to each alcove just behind the coving, put in a discreet downlighter and then floating alcove shelving with whatever you want on. It could be beautiful, and avoids the cost and mess with removing it.

crunchiess Wed 24-Feb-21 11:03:32

Nothing more to add apart from keep the coving!! I always think it finishes the room off when fully decorated.

TooManyMiles Wed 24-Feb-21 13:22:43

1934 nice. Keep the coving. Do not disrupt. the proportions by dropping the ceiling.

Idrankalltherum Wed 24-Feb-21 14:43:55

Providing a progress report after a full day of wallpaper stripping and uncovering the other alcove. DP tried to remove the wooden frame in the alcove without damaging the covint but unfortunately the frame turned out to be glued and nailed to the coving so it broke off when he removed the frame.

We had a lovely surprise on the other side though as behind the boxed area we found the original coving! And the room looks so much better, despite it being aged and dark grey! The coving that ran across the boxed area actually turned out to be a mix of polystyrene, wood and had then been plastered over, so we have taken it down. With any luck we can find someone who can replicate the coving and add it to the other alcove. We also discovered another light and both of them still work! Gives the room a nice glow smile

I've (hopefully) added a before picture and some after pictures

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