Plaster Coving - Bumpy, - can adhesive be sanded down?

15 Jan 2006
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United Kingdom
I've had some plaster coving put up in my lounge by a builder who used Coving Adhesive. Is it normal when putting up coving that on one length of the wall that 2-4 pieces might be used as I think they were offcuts from my bedroom. As the problem I have is that where there is a join you can see all the adhesive on top which I've put down as shoddy!! – can this be sanded down as I tried a little (possibly with the wrong sanding paper) and some paper came off!! I just thought that a long piece of coving would have been used and if any joins they might be nearer to the corners. I probably wouldn’t have had a problem with 2-4 pieces being used but as its so obvious now I know that once I paint it it will highlight this even further. I'm getting the builder to come back but just want to know if this is salvageable and get him to sand back the bits that are bad or if I should just ask him to take it down the only joins might be in the corners – my room is 12ft 8 by 11ft 5. I hope someone out there can help me cos I was happy with all of the other work he did for me - but obviously coving definitely isn’t his thing! :(
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I think the word you used "shoddy",sums up the job that this person left you with.Once the excess adhesive has set on the face of the plasterboard coving,you wont get it off.As you said,trying to sandpaper it will destroy the surface paper,and will not look good.He shouldn't have used 2 to 4 off-cuts on a length of wall either,as all the joins together would look terrible.I think if it was me,and I had paid good money to have a job done properly,I would point out the length/s etc your not happy with, and get them replaced at his expense,for all the cost involved.I don't think it will be salvagable without noticing it.You shouldn't have to salvage a brand new job anyway!!!

Thanks roughcaster - thats doesnt sound good at all :( . I have called him and he has said that its not finished (although i have to question that as he had given me back my door key) he basically said to do a "mist coat" or a thinner coat first and this would show up the imperfections (but i still find that a little strange cos its blatantly obvious where the imperfections are without coating it) but perhaps this also helps with the sanding (im being optimistic) and he wouldl then make good with either filling (which isnt required cos he overfilled it) and sanding where necessary!!

I checked again re. the lengths and perhaps I might have exaggerated it as i was pretty angry at the time (still am) - there is one length of wall with 2 joins in the rest are mainly long lengths with perhaps a join.

Ive been "singing" this builder's praises cos I cant fault the rest of his work so thats why I was very surprised when i saw it - i also couldn't work out why he would leave all the adhesive to the front - luckily I managed to wash this all off (which I dont think I should have had to do and because he was relatively tidy on all the other jobs) but it did make me think was he trying to cover it up by leaving it like that but on the other hand he knows i still have quite a bit of money for him.

Im prepared to see if he can "salvage" the job as i still owe him quite a bit of money and am prepared to pay him for the jobs that he has done but Ill hold back on paying him for this job. He doesnt seem eager for his money and has said that once Im happy so I hope to report that it all worked out well. That really was the whole point of why I took down the original coving (would have been over 100 years) someone had made a hash of the front) so i dont want it replaced with shoddy coving. If not and he still wants to be paid then Ill pay him when he takes it all down!

Thanks for your input.
Back again with an update. Builder came back and did some sanding after i had dont the first mist coat of undercoat. And i have to say it did look a lot better. told me to do another coat and there would be minimum sanding as he couldnt do everything cos he had used decorators caulk and polyfilla. So I did that and have so far put 2 coats of silk on and apart from one join the rest are invisible - the last I think I need to perhaps sand a little more but all in all i cant fault it.
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Hi C/Joe,
Thanks for the update.Glad to hear you're now happy with your finished job.We read a lot on here about shoddy work and bodge-ups,so to read about a job made good, makes a nice change. Good luck to you.

Better painting it in matt as silk will highlight faults on any wall.
Thanks but Im a "silk" type of person and that was the main reason I was concerned as i thought it would highlight all the imperfections but I have to say Ive done 3 coats (and a little extra on the actual join cos of the colouring) and I cant now work out where the joins are (apart from the corners of course) so Im very happy. But i still think he made the job a lot more work even if my walls are straight some of the cuts just didnt make any sense. But im happy now and thats the main thing.

Thanks for your input.


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