how to extreme

Crown Moulding: Selection and Installation

Construction How-To, Decorating, Molding April 30, 2012 Sonia

Crown Moulding

By Clint C. Thomas, Esq., Photographs By Zoe Thomas  

From material selection to installation techniques, here’s how to finish the job with success, when working with Crown Moulding Primer.

Crown moulding adds a definite touch of elegance to any room and can be installed without too much effort, once the mystery surrounding its installation is solved. Crown moulding itself comes in many different shapes and sizes, and can be found in a variety of compositions. It can be combined with other pieces of moulding and trim to produce elaborate displays of architectural finery.

There is a variety of crown moulding available

Crown moulding is available in a variety of materials. Pre-primed, paint-grade wood moulding is a popular option that’s readily available at most home stores.

Material Makeup

Modern manufacturing techniques now permit common and ornate moulding to be made from several different products. Traditionally, wood moulding reigned supreme due to the labor intensive process involved in working with plaster by the stuccotori in the days of old. Wood moulding comes in two types, stain-grade and paint-grade. Stain-grade has a continuous grain while the paint-grade is assembled from different pieces of wood joined together by finger joints.

Urethane Moulding

Urethane moulding weighs less than wood and can be manufactured with elaborate decorative patterns.

Two other options that are readily available are urethane and hard plastic. Urethane is lightweight, very easy to work with, and can be wrought into oversized sections that exhibit magnificent detail. However, urethane can expand and contract more than wood, so all joints should be bonded with polyurethane construction adhesive to prevent separation.

Hard plastic does not expand and contract by any noticeable amount and has many of the same positive characteristics as urethane. However, it does come at a premium price.

The final option available outside of plaster is medium-density fiberboard, known in the industry as MDF. This is a substitute for wood and is a little easier to cut, nail and drill. Its primary downfall is that it is easy to break off a corner or dent an edge.


Installation Issues

The installation of crown moulding involves assembling two angled pieces of material in a corner. The combination of the slant of the moulding and the angle of the corner create what is called a compound miter.

For my project I chose wood moulding that I purchased in a contractor pro-pack at a discounted price. I had wanted to install compound or “built-up” moulding, but one corner of the room had been previously turned into a small coat closet. The upper-most edge of this closet would not allow for the installation of compound moulding because it would have interfered with the closet door.

Pre-paint your moulding

Pre-paint your moulding to make the finish work easier once the trim is on the wall.

The first step is to prime the moulding if you are not using moulding that is pre-primed by the manufacturer. I prefer the pre-primed moulding because it saves a lot of time. I like to go ahead and also apply one or two coats of the finish paint, too.

Even though it will get scuffed up and dirty during the installation process, it is easier to run a quick touch up coat of paint over the installed moulding than to have to paint it from square one without getting paint on the wall color.

Cut with a miter saw

When cutting on a miter saw, the crown moulding must be oriented upside-down, with the base representing the house ceiling and the fence representing the house wall.

For inside corners with coped joints

For inside corners with coped joints, the first length of moulding has a square 90-degree cut that butts against the wall.

Before beginning the installation process, it is necessary to decide which method will be used to cut the angles for the corners of the crown moulding. There are two ways to cut the angles. Let’s assume you are working with a right angle, that is, one that measures 90 degrees.