Crown molding is an exquisite piece of decor that adds a spark to any room. When chosen well to complement other decor pieces, it brings elegance and a sense of completion. It smoothly links the wall to the ceiling while hiding any uneven surfaces. It will frame an accent wall to make it stand out even more.

To achieve this beautiful finish, it is imperative to get the installation just right. For a beginner or as a DIY project, crown molding installation can be a daunting task. So much thought goes into finding the appropriate places to nail through and making the correct measurements, among a myriad of worries and questions. Perhaps the biggest conundrum is how to make the angle cuts just right.

With these pointers and hacks, however, you need not fret. All you need are the proper tools and a bit of practice and you will be well on your way to prowess.

Material and tools

     The choice crown molding

     Tape measure

     Miter saw

     Coping saw

     Nail gun and nails

     Utility knife

Set up the space

Truth be told, no one ever got a perfect cut on the first try. It often involves making several trips between the saw and the wall, adjusting and filing away at the crown molding edges until the right fit is found.

To make work easier and save time, set up the work station in the same room. Remove what can be removed from the room to provide space for maneuvering especially with long pieces of crown molding.

Keep the miter saw mobile in case you need to move across the ends of the room while making cuts on long pieces. Have a well-built work surface that will allow you to clamp down the molding while coping.

Protect the floor from damage by covering it with a drop cloth or cardboard. You will work faster when you’re not constantly worried about ruining the floor.

Types of Cuts

1.   Mitered Cuts

There are two ways to make miter cuts.

I. The compound method (flat down)

Here, the molding is placed with the broad, back surface flat on the saw table and the decorative surface up. With a compound miter saw, you will adjust the saw to make both a bevel and miter cut.

II.  Non-compound method (vertically nested)

For a lot of people, this is the preferred method. Here, the molding is set against the saw at an angle as it would rest between the wall and the ceiling. The top of the molding is set against the table while the bottom is set against the fence.

The miter angle is set at half the angle of the wall. If for instance, the angle is a perfect 90 degrees, the miter angle will be 45 degrees. An accurate measurement will be needed here as in reality, wall angles are seldom perfect right angles.

With a compound miter saw, the bevel angle will be set at 0 as it is not necessary.


     While making these cuts, take note of the direction in which you will be working so that the saw is set in a comfortable position. Always begin with the longest wall because;

     A long piece of molding will be more cumbersome to work with and is best dealt with first.

     The first piece of molding is installed with squared ends. The longest piece is best for this.

     When this first piece is determined, work to the right of it and around the room in that direction. With this setup, most of the miter cuts will be with the miter saw set to the left and the motor out of the way. The molding will be easier to hold and the cut marks easier to see.

Outside Corners

Mitered cuts will be great for outside corners as two pieces will easily fit into each other. Do not assume that the corner is a perfect right angle as 45-degree cuts may end up coming together in an ill-fitting joint.

To find the correct angle, practice with two pieces of spare blocks. Hold them overlapping each other at the corner of the ceiling. Trace both edges of the bottom board on the top board and then join these two marks with a diagonal line.

Place the blocks on the miter saw and adjust the saw to match the diagonal angle then make the cut. Join the pieces at the wall corner to check how they fit into each other. If the joint is not snug, adjust the cut slowly until they form a tight meet.

Save this angle and use it on the actual crown molding. Adjust the saw to make an opposing cut at the same angle on the other crown molding.

2.   Coped cuts

Coping is fantastic for inside corners. Why? Because as with outside corners, inside corners are hardly ever perfectly square. A coped joint will fit well even if the corner is slightly skewed.

Moreover, a coped joint is more likely to remain tight even if the molding shrinks as it adjusts to temperature changes. Coping will save you the extra labor of cutting angles on both pieces of molding as the coped joint will lie on the square edge of the adjoining molding.

To make the coped cut, first, make a 45-degree mitered cut. Use the coping saw to slice out the back of the molding edge such that only the profile will be left. The goal will be to have the coped edge fit to the profile of the square-ended molding.

Test how well the coped edge lies upon the adjoining molding and file away slowly until it is a perfect fit. Sand the coped molding to smooth it over for a seamless joint.

A room without outside corners will probably need to be finished off with a piece that is coped on both ends. To achieve this, all you need to ensure you have the correct length of molding. Make the mitered cuts on both ends and then cope them as you did the other inside corners.

3.   Scarf joint cuts

Sometimes, the length of the wall may be so long that you need two pieces of crown molding for the straight run. In this case, you will need to make a scarf joint.

A scarf joint will be made using two mitered cuts as they will fit more securely and make a better joint. Squared edges will not make as smooth a joint and will likely leave a gap in the event of shrinking.

To make a scarf joint, make a 45-degree miter cut on one piece of molding, then make an equal but opposing cut on the adjoining piece.


Making crown molding cuts is not rocket science. As long as you have the layout of the room in mind, the proper tools, and these pointers in mind, you will be a crown molding master in your own right.

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