Installing Crown Moulding
Installing crown moulding, like playing the piano, takes practice. Unlike playing the piano, however, most people can get the hang of it with only a little practice. Before you take the time to become a maestro, however, you may want more information on preassembled corner pieces that simplify the project tremendously.
- MARK TABLE TO SHOW SIZE OF MOuLDING and MAKE GUIDE MARKS ON THE WALL
- MEASURE THE LENGTH ON THE WALLS AND MARK STUD LOCATIONS
- MEASURE AND MARK STUD LOCATIONS ON THE MOuLDING
- CUT AND INSTALL THE MOuLDING
- CHECK THE FIT
- LAY OUT THE COPE JOINT AND CUT THE MITRe
- CUT TO LENGTH AND CUT THE COPE JOINT
- FIND A JOINT TO SUPPORT A SPLICE AND COPE ONE END OF MOuLDING ON THIRD WALL
- LAY OUT THE SPLICE AND CUT FIRST SIDE OF THE SPLICE
- MEASURE SECOND PIECE OF MOuLDING AND CUT THE SECOND PIECE TO LENGTH
- NAIL SECOND PIECE OF MOuLDING IN PLACE
- MOULDING ALONG FOURTH WALL AND CHECKING THE CORNER FOR SQUARENESS
- MITRE A SAMPLE PIECE FOR ONE SIDE OF THE CORNER AND CUT A SAMPLER FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CORNER
- COPE ONE END & LAY OUT THE MITRE ON THE OTHER
- NAIL THE MOULDING IN PLACE AND PREP FOR PAINTING
MARK TABLE TO SHOW SIZE OF MOuLDING and MAKE GUIDE MARKS ON THE WALL
Mark the table to show the size of the moulding. Put the moulding on the table with the top edge resting on the table and the bottom edge leaning against the fence, as shown. Mark the fence and table by drawing a pencil line along each edge of the moulding. Use the lines to help you position the moulding on the saw when you start cutting. After, make guide marks on the wall and measure from the saw table up to the mark on the fence, and cut a piece of scrap to this length. Put the scrap against the ceiling, as shown, and draw a line along the bottom to mark where the bottom of the moulding will meet the wall. Go around the room, making similar marks, sometimes called "witness marks," every few feet.
MEASURE THE LENGTH ON THE WALLS AND MARK STUD LOCATIONS
Measure each wall from corner to corner and mark the length on the wall. Measure carefully to the 1/32 inch and mark the distance near the top of the wall, where it will be hidden by the moulding. Mark the exact length of anything shorter than 10 feet. If the piece will be more than 10 feet long, add 1/16 inch to the measurement for a snug fit, and write the total on the wall. Then find the studs and mark their locations using a stud finder, which lights up when it's over a stud. Mark the centre of each on the wall so it extends just below what will be the top of the moulding.
MEASURE AND MARK STUD LOCATIONS ON THE MOuLDING
Mark the stud locations on the moulding. Measure the distance from the corner where you'll start to the first stud along the wall. Mark this distance from the same end of the moulding. Then put the end of the tape on the mark, and make a mark every 16 inches on the moulding to show where the studs will be when the moulding is in place. (Adjust as necessary if the spacing is other than 16 inches from the centre of one stud to the centre of the next.)
CUT AND INSTALL THE MOuLDING
Cut and install the moulding. Cut the first piece of moulding to the length you wrote on the wall. Have someone help you put it in place. If the fit is tight, flex the moulding slightly to get it in place, then push it against the wall for a tight fit. Then nail the moulding to the wall. To stay flat, crown moulding must be nailed along both the top and bottom edges. Align the moulding with the witness marks, and nail it in place. Start nailing about two feet from the end at one of the lines you drew on the moulding showing stud location. Drive an 8d nail into a stud at the bottom of the moulding. Drive a 16d slightly above the middle of the moulding into a joist, into a ceiling nailer, or into blocking. Leave about two feet of moulding loose at each end for now. Set the nails, driving the heads slightly below the surface with a hammer and nail set.
CHECK THE FIT
Check the fit. Built-up plaster or drywall compound can twist the moulding slightly out of place and cause gaps in a cope joint. To test the fit, cut a sample cope joint. Fit it against each end of the installed moulding before you nail it. If there's a gap between the two mouldings in the top of the joint, tap on the installed moulding with a hammer and piece of scrap to push the moulding up and close the gap. If there's a gap in the bottom of the joint, tap on the sample to push the moulding toward the wall and close the gap. Nail the ends of the moulding to the wall once the fit is right.
LAY OUT THE COPE JOINT AND CUT THE MITRe
Lay out the cope joint. One end of this piece of moulding will be copedcut to nest into the piece that's already up. The joint starts with a mitre cut. To make sure the mitre angles in the right direction, hold the moulding against the wall. Draw a pencil line that starts at the bottom of the moulding and angles away from the wall. Next cut the mitre and label both the top of the moulding and the saw table with pieces of tape. Put the moulding in a power mitre box so the top of the moulding is on the saw table and the bottom leans against the fence. Set the saw at 45 degrees so that it follows the general direction of the line you drew on the moulding.
CUT TO LENGTH AND CUT THE COPE JOINT
Cut the moulding to length now, before you cut the cope joint. The edges of a coped joint are razor thin and hard to measure along without making a mistake and damaging the joint. To cope the joint a mitre cut exposes the profile of the moulding. Cut along the profile with a coping saw. Tilt the handle of the saw higher than the other end so that the cut removes more from the back of the moulding than the front. Test-fit the joint against a piece of scrap. Nail the moulding to the wall as before.
FIND A JOINT TO SUPPORT A SPLICE AND COPE ONE END OF MOuLDING ON THIRD WALL
Find a joint that will support a splice. Crown moulding comes in a maximum length of 16 feet. On longer walls you splice two pieces together to get the required length. Position any splices over a stud so that you can nail the boards to something solid. Then cope one end of the moulding on the third wall and begin with a piece that's a foot or so longer than the distance from the corner to the stud you'll use for the splice. Mark the top of the moulding and the direction of the mitre as before. Mitre and cope the end that goes against the moulding on the second wall.
LAY OUT THE SPLICE AND CUT FIRST SIDE OF THE SPLICE
When laying out the splice put the moulding temporarily against the wall. Sketch in a splice that begins about 3/4 inch past the centre of the stud you'll use. Cut the first side of the splice and put the moulding on the saw table. Position it as usual-the top of the moulding is flat on the saw table, and the moulding slopes back so the bottom is flat on the saw fence. Turn the saw to a 45-degree angle that follows the general direction of the line you drew on the moulding.
MEASURE SECOND PIECE OF MOuLDING AND CUT THE SECOND PIECE TO LENGTH
Measure the length of the second piece of moulding. Nail the first piece of moulding to the wall. Measure the distance from the corner of the room to the long tip of the splice. Add the width of the moulding to the measurement to get the desired length of the moulding that goes on the other side of the splice. Cut the second piece to length. The second side of the splice is cut with the saw at the same angle as the first, but with the moulding coming in from the other side of the saw. Make a mark on the moulding at the desired length and cut the piece to length and apply glue on the joint. The joint is held to the wall with nails, but glue helps keep the two pieces from separating.
NAIL SECOND PIECE OF MOuLDING IN PLACE
Nail the second piece of moulding in place and put the moulding on the wall, and start nailing it in place, beginning at the splice. Work your way down to the end. Before you nail in the last couple of feet, use the sample joint to make sure the end is properly positioned.
MOULDING ALONG FOURTH WALL AND CHECKING THE CORNER FOR SQUARENESS
When you put moulding along the fourth wall in a room with no outside corners it becomes difficult, because the moulding will have to be coped to fit against moulding on both the first and third walls. If you're finishing against an outside corner, the job is simpler. Simply cope the end that goes against the third wall, and cut the other end square. To ensure the corner is square put a square against the wall and if it is, you'll be able to cut both mouldings at 45 degrees. If the corner is out of square, you'll cut the mouldings at an angle other than 45 degrees. Whichever the case, sample joints will help make sure you get the right setting.
MITRE A SAMPLE PIECE FOR ONE SIDE OF THE CORNER AND CUT A SAMPLER FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THE CORNER
To cut the moulding for right-hand side of the corner, put the moulding in the saw in its usual position: top of the molding against the saw table, bottom leaning against the fence. Set the saw 45 degrees to the left as shown, adding or subtracting a degree to make up for an out-of-square corner. Make a cut on a piece of scrap. Turn the saw in the other direction, as shown, setting it to the same angle you used for the previous cut. Cut a sample for the second side of the corner. Put the sample on the wall, and see how it fits. If there are gaps in the seam, reset the saw and cut another sample corner until the fit is right.
COPE ONE END & LAY OUT THE MITRE ON THE OTHER
When you're happy with your sample joint, cope the end of a fresh piece of moulding and put it on the wall. Make a mark where the bottom of the moulding meets the corner of the wall. Repeat on the other side of the corner. Cutting this moulding is just like cutting the samples. Put the moulding for the first corner in the saw, as shown, and cut at the mark you made. For the other corner, put the board on the other side of the saw and turn the saw to cut the mitre in the other direction.
NAIL THE MOULDING IN PLACE AND PREP FOR PAINTING
Nail the moulding to the wall, starting at the coped end and working out to the mitre. When you've nailed both pieces to the wall, lock the joint in place by driving a 3d nail in the corner so that it goes through one of the mouldings and into the other. Sand any splices smooth with 120-grit sandpaper. Run a bead of caulk along the top and bottom edges of the of the moulding, and smooth it out with your finger. Fill the nail holes with window glazing, let it dry, and sand smooth.
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Skill Level: Beginner
Time: 1 hour
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