If you have original cornice in your home, it pays to make the most of it.

Regardless of its current condition or clear signs of age, it is always possible to restore decorative cornice to its former glory. Whether you choose to go the professional or DIY route is up to you, but in both cases the fundamentals of the restoration process will look somewhat similar.

So if you’ve ever wondered exactly what’s involved in the restoration of cornice, here’s a brief breakdown of the steps required to bring it back to life:

Remove paint carefully

The Cornice Restoration Process

First of all, any cornice that is painted will need to be stripped accordingly before continuing with the restoration process. If it is too difficult or potentially damaging to get rid of the layers of paint with a standard chisel, a high-quality paint stripper specifically designed for wood needs to be applied. Which will subsequently loosen the paint and make it much easier to remove, without the risk of causing damage to the wood

If your cornice has had many layers of paint applied over the years that are difficult to chip away using a chisel, you’ll need to use a specialist paint stripper for wood to make the job easier. A product such as Peelaway is a great, easy-to-apply solution, as you simply apply the pre-mixed paste to the surface, cover in plastic sheeting and leave for 24-48 hours. Once this time has passed, the paint should come off easily with a chisel.

Clean the cornice

Once the paint has been removed, the entire area to be restored needs to be thoroughly yet carefully cleaned. It is important to ensure that while effective and meticulous, the cleaning process is also gentle and does not adversely affect the surface of the wood prior to painting.

Repair cracks

The Cornice Restoration Process

Once every trace of dust, dirt and debris has been eliminated, the process then moves on to repairing visible cracks. Specialist tools are used to make the cracks more even and easier to deal with, after which any protrusions or lumps are sanded to create a smooth surface. A specialist filler can then be used to fill the cracks, using a little at a time and smoothing over to create a seamless finish.

Refine the edges

When it comes to ornate and decorative cornice, it is important to pay particularly close attention to the definition and crispness of the edges. While working to ensure that the original shape is in no way compromised, a small blade or chisel can be used to ensure that the right angles and corners are sufficiently smooth and highlighted.

Clean once again

Once the filler has been given time to dry and the edges have been refined, the area should once again be cleaned using no more than warm water and a soft cloth.

Paint the cornice

Last but not least, unless looking to leave the cornice with something of a rustic and unfinished look, the final step in the process is to paint it. Using a standard matt emulsion, carefully and frugally apply a thin initial coat, before giving it time to dry and moving on to a second coat. Then it’s simply a case of giving it time to try, stepping back and admiring your handywork!