Installing Crown Molding - Pro Construction Guide
Installing Crown Molding

Installing Crown Molding

Nothing attracts more attention than installing crown molding in the right room, with the right material and the right installation. Ask any realtor, and he’ll tell you that a room with crown molding artistically placed high on a wall and ceiling junction has a look that screams sophistication.

If you’re going to install crown molding, you have to do it right. The truth is that installing crown molding can be a bit tricky, mainly because it sits at an angle on the wall and each joint is made of compound angles. When it comes to installing crown molding, getting it right means you have to have patience (lots of it), and an affinity for space relations. Having a few tricks up your sleeve doesn’t hurt either.

Here are some of the basic techniques for installing crown molding you need to hone:

No. 1 – The hardest part of installing crown molding is cutting the corners. It’s not like cutting any other kind of trim pieces because the molding sits at an angle between the wall and the ceiling. The easiest way to cut the corners is to use a coping saw. The coped joint is tighter than a mitered joint. Any gap in a coped cut can be easily concealed with a little bit of caulk. Another tool that’ll make the job easier is a power miter saw. It is more accurate and can make a cleaner cut than a plastic miter box.

No. 2 – Before you get started, measure the wall for the length of your first piece of molding. You should mark the wall to show the bottom edge of the molding.

No. 3 – After you determine the length of the wall, take the molding to the saw and cut it in a straight line, at a 90-degree angle. Make sure both ends of the molding are butted against the side walls.

No. 4 – Slide your miter saw guide to the 45-degree angle point, and then set the molding into place. The edges must be pressed firmly against the saw table and the vertical side fence.

No. 5 – The second part of the process can be a bit confusing. Because the molding is upside down, the edge that sits against the vertical fence is actually the bottom of the molding, while the edge against the table is the top.

No. 6 – With the molding in the proper position, use a 10-inch saw blade to cut a perfect 45-degree angle. Remember – make sure you cut the molding angle in the right direction, i.e., for an inside corner, the bottom of the molding should be longer than the top part of the molding, and for an outside corner, the top of the molding will be longer than the bottom.

No. 7 – Now you must cope the joint. Scribe the end of one molding to the face of the other. Using a pencil, mark the front edge. Next, use the coping saw to cut as close to the line as possible. Hold your thumb against the side of the blade to guide your first cut. Don’t splinter the edge and cut at a slight angle. Cut off more from the edge of the molding, and then cut out small pieces to make the coped joint easier.

No. 8 – Check the fit against a scrap piece of molding to reveal any gaps that must be trimmed. Use the coping saw to cut off the high points.

No. 9 – After you get the fit right, take the molding to the wall. Push the end into the corner. Make sure the fit is as tight as possible, and then attach it to the wall. Use your caulk gun to cover up any gaps in the joint. Note: You may need another small piece of molding to finish out the wall.

No. 10 – Remember – the outside corners should meet exactly.

No. 11 – Bore two pilot holes through the tiny triangular return with a 4d finish nail chucked in your drill. Apply a thin coat of glue to the return, then press it into place and hold it for a minute or two. Nail the joint gingerly with 4d nails through the pilot holes only if the glue fails to hold. Set the nails and fill all nail holes with putty.


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