When I hear the words crown molding, the word crown lingers in my thought. I can’t help but associate it with the words majestic, royal, and elegant. When I hear the word molding, on the other hand, I think of new birth, shaping and the fulfillment that comes with creating something unique and beautiful. 

It, therefore, follows that such a graceful part of interior decor requires only the best practices when it comes to embellishment. Today we delve into how to finish crown molding in your home or office exquisitely, by painting it just right.

To be successful in your endeavor, you need to take note of the dos and don’ts of painting trim.

The don’ts of painting crown molding

1) Thou shalt not be a cheapskate.

The elegance of crown molding is disgraced by using low-quality cheap paints and cheap brushes. As the word cheap implies, cheap paint and brushes give crown molding a low aesthetic appeal because the material used to make them is substandard.

Opt for good quality brands. While they may mean an extra pinch to your pocket, they will more than make up for it in the finished job.

2) Thou shalt not use quick-drying paint.

Think of yourself as Pablo Picasso. The words quick-drying might imply a faster job and therefore a better deal, but it is often the unrushed work that comes out best. The reality is quick-drying paint makes it harder for you to correct imperfections on your chosen crown molding material when the paint has dried.

If Picasso could wait for the oil paints on his canvas to dry, you can wait for the paint on the molding to set

3) Thou shall not perpetuate injustice to your trim.

The color you choose to paint your trim may emphasize or hide the details of the crown molding. Therefore, it is important to select the right color and the most suitable sheen for the room and trim.

Bright colors lighten the room and emphasize the details of your trim but may look excruciatingly wild and out of place when the shades do not complement each other. Dark colors may be equally as unforgiving if not well thought out.

While there is the tendency to stick to the common go-to, white, you could also opt to paint the molding in the same color as the walls or do a shade darker for contrast.


4) Thou shall not paint after installing the crown molding.

Whether to paint the crown molding before or after installation is an often contested affair. Some people recommend doing it beforehand while others argue that there is no problem with painting the trim as the last step of installation. 

Our recommendation is to do it before. This way, there is plenty of room to work around and you can paint the entire surface including the edges that may be hard to reach after putting it up. Also, it will be less laborious to paint the trim at waist level than from above.

When doing the crown molding, consider whether you are solely painting the trim or the trim and the room. If you are painting both the trim and the room, do the room first, then the trim separately, and finally install the trim later when everything is dry. If you are painting the ceiling and the trim, do them separately and then install the molding after everything dries off.

Whichever method you prefer, remember to cover sections like the floor and furniture with a drop cloth and the walls with tape to protect them from paint spills.

5) Thou shalt not think of taking shortcuts.

I get it. You want to do a good job but you also want it done quickly. Taking shortcuts might seem like a good idea, but that’s a rookie move. You are no rookie, you are Picasso. Take your time and get the desired results.

The do’s of painting crown molding

1) Thou shall prepare your crown molding for painting.

Identify all the areas that the molding need to be fixed and pay extra attention to trim that is in places that are easy to reach such as the floor, windows, and those that make frames. Trim that is easy to access is more likely to suffer dents, cracks, and scratches because of frequent handling or mishandling. 

Check for nail holes and their markings on the moldings. In this case, apply a bit of caulk to cover them and allow them to dry. Smoothen the whole trim by sanding it down lightly. Use a damp cloth to clean the surface and then apply the paint.

2) Thou shall use high-quality brushes.

This is just a reminder of what we already know. Good quality tools lead to good quality work.

Angled sash brushes are perfect for precision painting on contoured surfaces on corners and edges as well as tight spaces. Flagged painting brushes cover more surface area because there is more paint on the brush itself offering a smoothly applied coat of paint and fewer brush marks.

3) Thou shall use a masking tape.

Masking tape is a precautionary measure that can be annoying but well worth it. It prevents paint transfer from the painting brush to an unwanted surface. Taping helps leave a smooth, crisp line as it curbs the imperfection of unsteady hands when painting.

4) Thou shall correct imperfections between the crown molding and its immediate neighbor.

Applying caulk to uneven and gaping edges gives you straight lines. Use a caulking gun to regulate the amount applied. Cut the gun’s tube at an angle of ¼ inch for efficiency. Use a wet finger to smooth the caulk and not paint scrapers or putty knives as the finger will do a finer job. In case of the accidental overflow of caulk, wipe it off with a cloth before it cakes on the surface.

5) Thou shall use a convenient painting technique.

Hand brushing method. Use your high-quality paintbrush to apply the first coat of paint with long even strokes and leave it to dry for the specified time. Apply the second coat with long even strokes brushing towards the last stroke applied and finishing with a light stroke for each painting section.

Spray painting method. Use an airless sprayer to spray in a vertical manner overlapping the sections to avoid spitting paint onto the trim when you release the trigger. Adding a spray gun allows you to spray at a distance and more conveniently.

Remove the masking tape before it has fully dried to avoid peeling the paint.

Crown molding is low maintenance and an easy way to spruce up any room. Getting the paint job right is key to achieving this majestic finish. With these quick and painless tips, any room will be effortlessly elevated onto a status of class.

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