Crown molding isn’t the easiest thing to install. That’s why hiring a professional is a good idea. This is always an option and it’s a good one too! You can have crown molding installed for a relatively low price compared to other contracting jobs.
However, if you are feeling bold and believe that you can take on the job of installing crown molding, then we can help you with that. This guide will take you through the steps and give you tips along the way.
What Is Crown Molding?
Crown molding is a type of ornamental molding used along interior walls and ceilings. It looks high-end and can cover any gaps or imperfections in the area where the ceiling meets the wall. But not all molding is created equally.
Any trim can do this as well, but crown molding is special. It uses a specific form and technique that is as old as the crown molding itself. Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish the look on your own.
How To Install Crown Molding
Installing crown molding doesn’t always need to be done by a professional. You can install it on your own. While it isn’t easy and shouldn’t be a beginner’s project, you can install it by following these steps.
Step 1: Test the crown molding
It’s a good idea to buy a few samples of crown molding before you buy all that you need. You can secure them together and hold them to the ceiling to try different types out and find what you like best.
Step 2: Measure, Measure the ceiling for crown molding
I say measure twice because it is a good idea to always measure twice as much as you cut. So first off, get some grid paper and make a diagram of your room, using each square as one square foot of space.
Write down the length of each wall, door, and walkway in the room where it is located on the paper. This is when you figure how much molding you need. Use linear foot to calculate how much you need.
Step 3: Find The Right Pieces
Go to the store and find the molding you chose after getting samples. Then, look at each piece carefully so you don’t end up with any pieces with imperfections. Make sure you get enough for your entire room.
There’s a good chance you will have a few extra feet. This is okay. It’s normal when the molding is sold in pieces rather than in linear foot alone.
Step 4: Gear Up
Now is a good time to buy a miter saw and brad nailer. You want to get everything you need from the hardware store in one trip. If you don’t want to spend money on these things, then rent them instead.
Step 4: Mark The Wall
You need to mark your ceilings and walls at this point. It depends on the size of your molding but there will be a mark on the ceiling, wall, and corner. Use a chalk line or pencil to mark them, ensuring the lines are straight.
Step 5: Install The First Board
The thing about crown molding is that now you can get it in single pieces. But most crown molding will come in three pieces. Two baseboards or stops and then the crown molding piece which is installed diagonally.
You want to make sure baseboards are installed first. So go ahead and install them across the wall. They are easy to install and will help secure the crown molding, giving them the crown look.
Step 6: Install Ceiling Rails
The ceiling rails are usually angled to help you get the right angle on the crown molding. They are usually installed at about 45-degrees, but this is up to preference. Just make sure you do a test with the sample first.
Because of the angle, they usually need to be glued before you screw or nail them in. You can place brackets with nails or screws to hold the angle while the glue is drying as well.
Step 7: Install The Molding
Now comes the fun part. The molding needs to be cut at an angle on each corner. This is what the miter saw is here for. So learn how to make angles and use the miter saw before you begin cutting your precious molding.
The placement should be fairly obvious. It’s a good idea to have someone who knows what they are doing on hand during this step because it is important as it will be the most eye-catching part of the molding.
Step 8: Sanding And Painting
Now it’s time to finish up. You can start by sanding down the molding if it is wood. Then fill the nail holes with wood filler. Let it dry before starting to paint or stain your crown molding your chosen color.
Make sure you protect your walls and ceiling with painter’s tape. If you are painting your walls too, paint them before you install the molding. If you do it after, then paint the molding first.
DIY Crown Molding Tips And Tricks
Now that you know the basics of crown molding installation, you can now get down to business and learn a few tricks as well. These tips can help you when you are installing your crown molding and afterward.
Customize Your Crown Molding
You can actually mix and match crown molding to create your own. You can even cut your own if you know how to do it. This takes a lot of practice but you can “mold” your own molding with the right tools.
This is similar to wood carving but isn’t usually done by hand. When you make your own crown molding, you can even carve little designs into the molding. These are very expensive and sell for a lot of money.
Because checking each piece of molding is important, pick out your pieces in the store. Even if you have them shipped to your house or delivered. Ask them to send you the exact pieces you pick out. Most hardware stores will comply.
You can buy online or have them deliver any pieces. But they will usually pick off the top. Or worse, pick the pieces that they can’t sell in the store. So yes, finding your own pieces is always best.
Study The Crown Molding Design
Before you begin, it’s a great idea to study the crown molding design. There will be three to five pieces unless you but already put together crown molding. But even if you do, learning the diagram can help you.
You will have a picture of what the inside will look like, or at least should look like, which can help you get the right angles and make the right cuts. Visualizing is important when it comes to construction.
Mark Your Miter
When cutting angles, you need to mark your miter with a pencil before you even begin to cut. It’s easy to get flipped around or upside down so always mark the board on the side that you can see when testing it out.
Then, you can mark the side you will cut on as well. Whether you cut on the front or the back. Just make sure you don’t mark the angle wrong or you will end up with a piece of crown molding you may not be able to use at all.
Don’t Forget To Caulk
Caulk can be just as useful as a wood filler. For any gaps that won’t be visible but need to be filled, caulk can work wonders. Just use it along the edge and between any piece that isn’t touching and you won’t even notice it!
Caulk is an important material and should always be kept on hand if you are doing any type of home interior or construction work. Make sure you have multiple different kinds and don’t open them until you are ready to use them.
Don’t Overdo It On Nails
Nails can make you feel as if your crown molding is extra secure, but add too many and it does two harmful things. First of all, too many nails can really affect the wood filling, which becomes complicated.
But it can also affect the structural integrity of your crown molding. Too many or one in the wrong place and it can easily split. So avoid this by only placing nails where they need to be placed to secure the boards.
Try to keep angles at 45-degrees. Try your first 45-degree fit by cutting two boards to fit. If they don’t fit right, then there’s a problem with your ceiling or wall, not your molding. Because two angles should fit together.
If this is a problem, try to check the levelness of your ceiling and wall. If this is the problem, you’ll need to hire a professional to level it out or install your crown molding for you. Hopefully, you don’t face this issue!
Learn To Cope
Coping is a way to use a miter saw to cut the crown molding at an angle. But not just in the way you assume but also to create a lip that will let the crown molding pass over the other piece to create an even tighter fit.
This will all but eliminate gaps and look much better. It takes a lot of practice but if you do any woodworking then you will be able to learn this trick fairly easily. It will make all of the difference in the world!
Get Exact Measurements
Again, measure, measure, measure! Get your measurements right not by measuring right the first time but also by ensuring that you measure multiple times. Make sure the measuring tape is always straight too.
If it bumps or bends then the measurement won’t be accurate. This doesn’t matter in some cases but it sure does matter a lot when it comes to crown molding. Every millimeter counts, so try your best to get it right.