The Installation Guide for Perfect Crown Molding

Crown molding quickly takes a room from looking plain and drab to majestic and ornate. In many construction projects, moldings will be minimal and puny—or even nonexistent.

Interior moldings provide attitude as well as architectural interest. One of the easiest ways to upgrade a room is to beef up all of the moldings, adding width, depth and height to the trim. Far from closing in a room, the increase framing adds depth to the walls; especially if it is painted the same color as the walls for a unified look.

So if you’re trying to sell your current home or looking to spruce things up around the house, consider our tips on how to install the perfect crown molding.

shutterstock_207393013The Materials

A deep crown molding can add architecture to a room that has little, and it draws eyes upward in the same way curtains hung at ceiling height do. “Good proportions are easily magnified with strong, heavy moldings,” says Designer Sarah Jernigan from HGTV. “A simple 8-foot room can become much more dynamic with a simple but strong 5-inch crown molding. By emphasizing the ceiling, the room has much more character and strength.”

In order to get started, you’ll need to purchase the following tools and materials:

  • crown molding (enough to cover perimeter of room)
  • miter saw
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • finishing nails
  • protective eyewear
  • 16 gauge 1 1/2” nails
  • primer
  • paint
  • 2″ sash brush
  • spackle
  • bright white paintable trim caulk and caulk gun
  • clean wet cloth

Measure Room, and Prime and Paint Molding

Using a tape measure, determine the amount of crown molding needed to cover the perimeter of the room. It’s a good idea to buy extra to accommodate waste and mistakes. It’s also best to buy molding pieces that can run the full length of the wall, if possible, to reduce the number of joints. To save time, prime and paint molding prior to installation; touchups after the molding is installed should be minor.

shutterstock_105741494Measure and Cut Molding

Transfer room measurements to your crown molding and cut each piece to size following our Cut Guide listed below. Be sure to measure from the outermost point on the inside corner cuts and the innermost point on the outside corner cuts for a proper fit. Always make a few test cuts to be sure the angle and bevel is set correctly.

Miter Saw Crown Molding Cut Guide – Miter-saw bevel should be angled left at 33.9 degrees for all cuts:

  • INSIDE Corner, LEFT Side – Position top of molding against miter-saw fence, angle set right at 31.6 degrees, left side is finished piece.
  • INSIDE Corner, RIGHT Side – Position bottom of molding against miter-saw fence, angle set left at 31.6 degrees, left side is finished piece.
  • OUTSIDE Corner, LEFT Side – Position bottom of molding against miter-saw fence, angle set left at 31.6 degrees, right side is finished piece.
  • OUTSIDE Corner, RIGHT Side – Position top of molding against miter-saw fence, angle set right at 31.6 degrees, right side is finished piece.

Here’s a tip: The left and right sides mentioned refer to left or right side of the corner, not left or right side of the room. Also, most miter saws have the angle and bevel degrees highlighted for crown molding to make them easy to locate.

Install Molding

This step is best completed with two people, especially for long stretches of molding.

  1. Hold crown molding in place, so it’s tight against both the wall and ceiling. Make sure the back of the bottom side is flat against the wall, so the angle stays consistent.
  2. Nail through the molding into the ceiling and/or wall to secure it into place.
  3. Line up the second piece at the corner and nail it into place.
  4. Due to irregularities often found in walls and ceilings, molding may not meet perfectly, but caulk will fill small gaps. If it’s necessary to butt two pieces together on a long wall, cut the meeting ends at a 45-degree bevel with no angle.
  5. Cut one end with the finished side of the molding face up and the other with the finished side face down, so the ends fit together like a puzzle.

Here’s a tip: For higher ceilings or larger rooms, beef up the appearance of crown molding by adding decorative trim a few inches below and painting the crown molding, trim and wall between the same color and finish.

Caulk Gaps and Fill Holes

  1. Use a caulk gun to apply white trim caulk to seams where the molding meets the ceiling and wall.
  2. Also apply caulk to the corners where the molding meets.
  3. Working in small sections, apply a bead of caulk then wipe away the excess with a damp finger or cloth.

Here’s a tip: Keep a bucket of water handy when caulking to rinse clothes or fingers. Using your finger, fill nail holes with lightweight spackle, then wipe away the excess with a damp cloth. Once spackle and caulk have fully dried, apply touchup paint for a clean, finished look.

shutterstock_8570896The Finishing Touches

You want the crown moldings to seem like a natural extension of the wall. However, it can look disjointed when painted in a contrasting color. Paint moldings the same color as the wall but in a semi-gloss enamel finish. This tricks makes a room feel larger (no white outlines drawing the eye here and there) and introduces a very sleek and sophisticated touch.

In a very dark room, however, like a chocolate brown bedroom, white crown molding adds a crisp, delicious contrast, like a gift wrapped up in a pretty bow.

Ready to take on the challenge? Visit your local Ritter Lumber store with ideas, paint swatches and fabrics of your rooms to speak with a trained associate. We can easily identify what crown molding type is ideal for your space and provide you with a luxurious upgrade to your home.

Ritter has you covered! Our knowledgeable associates are here to help answer your questions and help you find what you need.