When you hear the word cornice, what do you picture? Do you see an elegant building built around the 1800s? But what is a cornice and why is it often associated with elegant structures?
Cornices have long been used as a means to a pleasant and tidy finish at wall and ceiling junctions. These little parts are actually elements that can make the room feel more special.
Technically, cornices are horizontal moldings or sculptures that lies on windows, doors, and roofs. One of the chief reasons why a cornice has been introduced was simply to make sure that the rains will not touch the building walls. In time, discolorations could ensue if rainwater keeps seeping down the walls so the cornices are there to keep moisture at bay. The Greeks made good use of cornices – some can even be seen in ancient temples and buildings.
There were two techniques in making cornices in the past. One of these two is easy and you can do on your own but the other one is a little bit more complex. Back in the day, masons and sculptors were asked to craft cornices. A team of craftsmen went to the site and there create intricate designs which later became cornices. These master artisans had a wide array of cornice-making tools from huge chisels to mallets. There are also fine-tipped pins for a more precise detail.
Cornice masonry takes months – if not years – to finish. Most became too difficult to maintain, labor and financial wise. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, concrete and molds were used and cornices were mass-produced. Man then discovered that a cornice does not have to be intricately made. Concrete fortified cornices, though.
The Modern Cornice
In modern architecture, using cornice is not as widely practiced as before. There was a noticeable decline in the number of homeowners asking for cornices to be made inside their homes. The most number of modern use for cornice is to restore old buildings and castles in Europe.
The Cornice Basics
If you want to install the elegant cornice in your home, just prepare the following –
- Three clean buckets
- Hand saw
- Cornice cement
- Plaster profile mitre box
- Medium towel
For bigger projects, you will need cornice cement that is longer-setting. This means that you can have more time to work on an expansive area. Cornices come in 30, 60 and 120 min. Ascertain that the ceiling and wall joins are set as well as sanded before beginning the project. Ask another person to be on standby as you place the plaster profile in place. The steps are –
- Measure from wall to wall then cut cornices according to the needed lengths. The standard cornice is 90mm. Use a chalk to mark the line all around the room. Just be sure to measure down the walls with cornice measurements. Be cautious when working with decorative cornice; be sure the patterns or color you chose will blend with the rest of the design elements.
- Mix the cornice cement. If you have achieved the consistency of a toothpaste, then you are doing well. Press the cornice against the wall and ceiling. Fortify it with the use of screws or nails. Put the cornice upside down into the two buckets. Butter the cornice edges.
- Allow to set then clean the area up with the use of a wet rag or sponge. Make sure to clean the joins while the cement is still far from drying. Apply cornice cement in every gap.
After your hard work, sit down and enjoy the beauty of the cornices that you have installed.