Add Architectural Interest With Crown Molding

Give any boring, builder-basic room a high-end upgrade by adding crown molding. This update can be completed in just a few hours and is a great project for beginning woodworkers.

Rustic Traditional Bedroom

Materials Needed:

  • crown molding (enough to cover perimeter of room)
  • miter saw
  • tape measure
  • pencil
  • finishing nailer
  • 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 amount of crown molding needed to cover perimeter of 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 each 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.

Measure and Cut Molding

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

Miter Saw Crown Molding Cut Guide (The left and right sides mentioned here refer to left or right side of the corner, not left or right side of room.)

Note: 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.

Tip: Most miter saws have the angle and bevel degrees highlighted for crown molding to make them easy to locate.

Measuring Crown Molding

Install Molding

This step is best completed with two people, especially for long stretches of molding. Hold crown molding in place, so it's tight against both the wall and ceiling. Make sure back of bottom side is flat against wall, so the angle stays consistent. Nail through molding into ceiling and/or wall to secure in place (Image 1). Line up second piece at corner and nail into place (Image 2). 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 meeting ends at a 45-degree bevel, no angle (Image 3). Cut one end with the finished side of molding face up and the other with finished side face down, so ends fit together like a puzzle. 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

Use a caulk gun to apply white trim caulk to seams where molding meets ceiling and wall (Image 1). Also apply caulk to corners where molding meets. Working in small sections, apply a bead of caulk then wipe away the excess with a damp finger or cloth (Image 2). Tip: Keep a bucket of water handy when caulking to rinse clothe or fingers. Using your finger, fill nail holes with lightweight spackle (Image 3) then wipe away the excess with damp cloth. Once spackle and caulk have fully dried, apply touchup paint for a clean, finished look (Image 4).

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