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Competencies covered

MSFFL3013: Install commercial vinyl floor coverings

MSFFL3014: Install resilient floor coverings using custom designs and decorative finishes

Types of coving

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Coving is the process of turning up a sheet at the perimeter to provide a continuous surface between the floor and wall, or floor and other vertical surfaces.

It's often used in commercial buildings, hospitals and schools, especially in areas where hygiene is important or a watertight seal is necessary.

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When the field material is used as the cove, the process is often called:

  • flash coving, because the coving is 'flashed' up the wall, or

  • integral coving, because the cove is an 'integral' part of the sheet.
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Types of coving

Australian Standard 1884 describes three types of cove:

  • preformed,

  • border, and

  • pencil cove.
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Preformed cove

When a cove former or fillet is used to support the sheet at the floor and wall junction, the cove is called preformed, since the amount of curve is set by the fillet piece.

We'll look in detail at the process used to install preformed coving in the next lesson.

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Border cove

A border cove uses a separate piece of sheet material which is joined at the floor to the field material.

The border piece can be the same colour as the field material or a contrasting feature colour.

Linoleum coving is generally installed in this way. We'll cover the installation process for border coving in the unit: Linoleum.

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Pencil cove

Vinyl sheets with good flexibility can be installed with a pencil cove.

The field material is flashed up the wall, in the same way as with preformed coving, but there is no cove fillet involved.

Instead, the material is simply pushed into the junction between the wall and floor with a stair tool.

AS 1884 specifies that the radius of the curve for a pencil cove must be a maximum of 5 mm. To help achieve this tight radius, the material is warmed with a heat gun to make it more flexible.

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Learning activity

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The curve at the bottom of a cove is sometimes described in terms of its size and other times in terms of the radius of the curve. For example, a common size for a cove former is 25 x 25 mm, which refers to the height and width of the piece when it's in position.

But a pencil cove is required to have a curve of no more than 5 mm radius.

Can you explain what this means?

If you have trouble remembering what a radius is, go back to the 'Area' lesson by following the link below.

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Area (Making measurements)