Crown molding gives a space sophisticated finishing. It provides an aesthetic link between the wall and the ceiling and can go a long way in complementing your eccentric style.

The process of installing this finishing however can be rather daunting. If the pieces do not fit seamlessly, they are likely to leave gaps especially when the wood shrinks making the work look shabby and poorly done. This is not to mean that your ideal home is beyond your reach. With these simple tools and steps, you can achieve a smooth finishing that will give any space a whole new look.

You could opt to install the crown molding by itself or combine it with trim to give it a larger, fuller look. Additional trim also helps you deal with the nailing conundrums better. With the single-piece mold, you can only put the nails where there is a framing behind the drywall. Other areas will need nailing boards or glue which could be messy if not applied well. You could also play with the design by contrasting woods for a two-tone effect. If you do, make sure that the pieces are compatible so that they do not look out of place and ruin what you were going for. You also want to be careful not to put up molding that is too dominant for the room and ceiling.

Corner pieces are other additions that will add flair to your installation. They can sit either at inside or outside corners and could come in handy if you want to avoid mitering or coping the board edges.

What you will need:

❖ A hammer

❖ Coping saw

❖ Miter saw

❖ Caulk and caulk gun

❖ Ladder

❖ Tape Measure

❖ Pencil

❖ Wood glue

❖ Crown molding

The Preparation:

A few helpful pointers

    Good preparation will go a long way in making your work easier. Create as much room as possible. Remove what can be removed, especially from close to the wall. You will be working with some long pieces and will definitely need the room to navigate as much as possible.

    Have a steady work surface that will enable you to clamp down the molding firmly for coping. While coping is not too difficult to do, it will be challenging to achieve a smooth cope if the molding keeps shifting.

    If possible, set up two ladders on opposite ends of the wall. This will save you the time and energy you would otherwise take to move a ladder across the room.

    Protect your surfaces. Cover carpeted surfaces with drop cloths and hardwood floors with cardboard. This will keep you from damaging the floor.

1. Select your Crown Molding

Before you make your choice and purchase, determine what you will need. Measure the length of every wall. Add the lengths to get the perimeter and divide this by the length of your desired molding. Always round up your measurements and account for errors that may occur by adding an extra 10-20% to what you need. It is also very helpful to have this extra to give room for trimming while preparing the mitered or coped edges.

Aim to buy pieces that are long enough to completely fit one wall length to save you from the extra work needed to scarf pieces together. Inspect every piece before making your selection to look out for any splitting at the end and marks that will be difficult to sand out. Molding that is pre-primed and ready to paint is probably the easiest to work with. However, it will not be advisable especially in the bathroom because the humidity will likely cause warping. If you are planning to use a light-colored stain or no stain at all, choose pieces of a similar tone.

Aim to purchase your material at least a week before installation if possible and allow it to sit within the house for that period. This will give it ample time to adjust to the temperature and condition of your place.

2. Decide on how to cut the corners of your molding

Molding rests on the ceiling and wall at an angle. This means that you won’t cut the corners like normal trim- They are either coped or mitered. Coping is the easier and more effective way to cut them as a coped joint is tighter than a mitered joint. It will also be easier to conceal any gap on a coped joint using little caulk.

3. Mark the Wall

Mark the points on the wall where the bottom of the molding will rest if you are putting up single-piece molding or chalk lines for the position of the rails. For the trim, you can also use tape as an alternative to the chalk marks. Install the trim over the tape and leave it to protect the wall and ceiling. Use material that is less likely to pull away with paint chipping such as painter’s tape.

4. Measure and cut the pieces

Measure the length of the molding that you will need and prepare them for installation. Start with the longest wall as it will likely be the most difficult to work with. The first piece need only be cut straight and will not need coping (All the more reason to start with the longest).

Plan to work to the right so you make the most of the 45°cuts with the miter saw set to the left and without needing too much movement. Miter the ends that will adjoin at outside corners and cope for inside corners .

It is worth noting that corners are seldom perfectly square and therefore do not assume that 45° cuts will automatically fit. Use spare pieces and work slowly until you have found the angle at which the two pieces fit perfectly. To help you achieve this easier, take two pieces of wood that are ideally of the same length. Hold them against each side of the wall, allowing them to overlap by about an inch. Use a pencil to mark lines along the upper and lower overlapping edges. Draw a line to connect the two opposite ends of the line and cut along this diagonal line. This will be the angle you use. Test the fit and repeat until it is perfect. Once you have the angle set, make the cut on the first end of the molding and then make a mirror cut into the other piece.

The Installation

1. Fix the molding pieces to the wall.

Once all the pieces are ready, it is time to fix them to the wall. As with the measurement and cutting, begin with the longest wall so you get that piece out of the way. It will also set a smooth beginning to your work and guide you to fix the molding as you had planned out. 

2. What if you run out of molding before reaching the end of the wall?

Sometimes the length of the wall may end up being longer than a single piece of wood thus needing the addition of another piece of molding. In this case, all you will need is to simply make a scarf joint . Angled cuts are less visible that square cuts-Prepare your pieces at a 45° cut so that they will fit perfectly together. Apply wood glue to the joint before nailing it to the wall. Wipe away any smudges with a cloth immediately as you work so that it doesn’t dry and leave a mess.

Nail the pieces into place. If there are still gaps, use caulk to hide them. Fill nail holes with putty or wall repair compound.

3. Double copes

If the room does not have outside corners or scarf joints, the final piece will be coped on both ends. For as long as the piece is mitered correctly, this should be fairly easy. Check that the piece fits in perfectly and then cope both ends as usual.

The finishing

1. Apply the finishing touches

Fill all the nail holes and sand them, then paint or add varnish as you desire. If you had put tape, it should guide you and protect the wall and ceiling from a paint mess. (If not, work slowly and methodically for a smooth finish). Allow it to dry and then remove the tape- Do not wait too long because it will peel away with the paint. Where fresh paint from the crown fell on the tape, cut rather than peel so it does not come away with the new paint.

With that, you’ll be done!

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