Installing Crown Molding

Installing crown molding can be achieved by learning a few techniques that professionals use.  Crown molding installation is easier than most people think it is, and it adds instant value to a room, or to your entire home. 

The tools that are required for installing crown molding are a miter saw, coping saw, trim hammer, measuring tape, finish nails and caulk.  You can use a pneumatic trim nailer to nail up the crown molding if you have one, but it isn't required.  You can use a trim hammer with a nail set to counter sink the nails.

Miter Saw Coping Saw
Miter Saw Coping Saw

When I think of crown molding installation, I think of two key points; cut the crown molding in an upside down position; and cope the inside joints.

Cutting Crown Molding

To cut crown molding, position the molding upside down on your miter saw.  This way, when cutting angles, you have one of the crown mold's surfaces on the saw's table, and the other up against the saw's fence.  This is the best way to get an accurate cut, because you can hold the molding firmly in place while making your cut.

Another reason for cutting crown molding upside-down, is so that you can see the mark that you make on the bottom side of the crown when you measure it for length. 

Cutting Crown Molding
Place the simple crown molding on your miter saw as shown above

Coping Inside Joints

The best way (perhaps the only way, in my opinion) to cut inside joints is to cope them with a coping saw.  Mitering inside joints is difficult and usually results in an unwanted gap between the two pieces of molding. 

View this video, about on installing crown molding, to learn more about how to cut and cope crown molding, or read the detailed explanation below.

How to Install Crown Molding

Crown molding installation varies among carpenters, but most agree that coping inside joints is a must.  The first cut to make is a straight 90 degree angle on the first of the two pieces of crown mold.

On the second piece of crown molding, flip the crown molding upside down and make a 45 degree back cut with a miter saw.

Making a Miter Cut
Cut a 45 degree angle on the second piece of crown molding

Using a coping saw, cut along the line that separates the face of the crown molding and the 45 degree cut.  While making the cut, angle the coping saw towards the back of the crown to remove any wood that might be in the way of the coped joint. (see below)

Coping a Miter Joint
Coping saw angled towards the back of the molding while cutting

Compare the 45 degree miter cut (below, top), to the coped miter cut (below, bottom).  Once the miter cut has been coped, the two pieces of crown should fit nicely together.  That is, the piece that was cut with a 90 degree angle and the piece that was mitered.

Coped and Non-Coped cuts
Mitered cut (top) vs. Coped cut (bottom)

Before nailing either piece, hold them both up against the ceiling, shifting them around, until both pieces fit nicely together.  Hold the 90 degree piece in place and nail it.  Then hold the coped piece up tightly against the first piece and nail it.  When you look at the finished joint, it looks just like it would have if you had cut a 45 degree angle on both pieces, but the coped joint is a much better and tighter joint.

Coped Joint - Crown Molding
Finished Coped Joint

Installing crown molding can also make repainting your walls easier too.  You don't have to worry so much about how much about the paint you get along the edge of the ceiling, when crown molding will cover it up. 

Paint your room first, then paint and install the crown molding.  Once the crown molding has been installed, you can caulk and touch up the nail holes afterwards.

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