Crown moldings are the pieces of wood that adorn the joint where the wall meets the ceiling in a home. Crown moldings originated in Europe at the close of the Middle Ages. It served as, not only an ornamental feature, but as a means to hide defects or poor construction where a wall met a ceiling. Today, crown molding serves almost exclusively a decorative function, adding elegance and cultural sophistication to any room or home. Crown molding can be one piece of solid wood or a built-up stack of pieces. It can be made from pressed wood products and even man-made materials. Until recent times, crown molding was cut from a single piece of wood using a hand-powered molding plane. Now, crown molding is cut on a shaper or powered molding plane. It seems difficult to install but, with patience, diligence, and the proper tools, installing crown molding is not difficult at all and you can achieve professional results with a minimum of effort.
- It is usually best to draw a diagram of the room where you intend to install the molding.
- Plan on working around the room in a counterclockwise direction, saving the last joint for an outside corner.
- Purchase more material than you will need.
- Make the square and miter cuts with a power miter saw. You can use a hand miter box but it is more time-consuming and less accurate.
- Cut the coped joints with a coping saw. Coped joints are simply mitered joints whose ends have been cut to match the profile of the crown molding face.
- You can use the powered miter saw to cut any scarfed joints that are required. Scarfed joints are matching miter joints used to splice two pieces of molding together to make one longer one.
- Using a piece of molding as a template, mark the bottom of the molding on the wall at two opposite corners on that same wall.
- Chalk a line on the marks from corner to corner.
- Follow this same routine all the way around the room.
- Just outside the lines, locate and mark all the wall studs and ceiling joists.
Crown molding installation
- Measure the first piece from inside corner to inside corner and cut both ends square.
- Nail it up holding the bottom edge flush with the marks on the wall. Install 8d finishing nails or brads in from the edge of the molding a short distance.
- Miter one end of the next piece of molding at a 45 degree.
- Cope that mitered end by marking the profile of the face of the molding on the end and using that mark as a saw cut guide.
- Hold the coped end of the molding in place against the first piece of molding and mark the far end for either a miter for an outside corner joint, or a coped miter for another inside corner joint.
- Cut the second piece to fit with the proper cut and nail it in position.
- Follow this procedure for cutting inside and outside corners until you have completed the crown molding installation all the way around the room.
- Fill and sand all the nail holes and prime them if the crown molding is to be painted.
When coping a mitered end, cut slowly with the coping saw using a good, sharp fine tooth blade. Cut away a little at a time, test fit the piece, and cut away a little more, if necessary. You can use a sharp knife, a file, or coarse grit sandpaper to final fit the joint.
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