Crown moulding is an amazing and relatively inexpensive way to immediately elevate the look of your home. It adds polish and glamour to any space and can increase the appeal and value of your property. However, there are a lot of different kinds of moulding out there, and all at vastly different price points. Here, we’ll walk you through the different kinds of crown moulding, from materials to designs; and offer some advice on which styles will work with your existing décor.
Types of Crown Moulding
Crown moulding is available in a large variety of materials. While wood is the classic choice, another option may ultimately end up being right for you.
The finished product after a plaster installation looks beautiful. There are no “joins” visible on the surface and the edges meet the wall tightly. Plaster additionally doesn’t warp, contract or expand with differing temperatures and humidity. While this may sound like the most appealing option, it is worth noting that the process of getting to the finished product is not so straight forward. Plaster is applied right to the wall and built up. It is a messy process and there will be plaster on the walls and ceilings once the moulding is installed. This will all need to be cleaned up and painted over in order to conceal the excess. Dust from the plaster is also common so in a finished house covering the floors and furniture is a must. This is the costliest method for having the work down but again once you’ve completed the job the finish looks great.
Solid wood is a great option for a variety of applications and can cleanly be installed in any home. Unlike plaster the wooden pieces come in specific lengths and for longer walls pieces must be joined together. This join may be visible depending on how carefully the work was done. As your home is exposed to different temperatures and humidity levels solid wood mouldings will begin to change. Sections may expand and contract leaving gaps or overhangs where pieces were joined together. Additionally wood is infamous for warping due to knots or abscesses in the original tree. As time passes these may become more noticeable. One more thing to consider is that wood splinters when cut, the edges where any cuts were made will be slightly uneven and sometimes this is noticeable. The material itself is reasonably priced depending on the species of wood and this is the only option suitable for staining. As with plaster the finished product looks great but as time passes that may change.
This material is less costly and a lot lighter. It holds up better to changing temperatures and moist environments and as such is well suited to outside locations. The finish on polyurethane is not as smooth as plaster, solid wood, and MDF, but is a good imitation. Polyurethane however can be damaged easily as it is an extruded foam product. It is very resistant to changes in temperature and humidity so if the job is done expertly the finish is long lasting. Although a more cautious hand is required when working with this material because of how soft it is. Like MDF and plaster you will want to paint this material. It will offer a good looking finish to those on a tighter budget.
Polystyrene is the lightest and least dense material. Like most materials, it comes in fixed lengths and you need to be cautious about the finish near joins. The finish on this material really shows that it is a cheaper material and close inspection will reveal many imperfections. A little paint and a lot of love can help to mitigate this but at the end of the day the finished product is not quite what you would expect from the other options in this list. As with anything you get what you pay for and this option is the least attractive look, though it can still add some style to an otherwise plain décor.
MDF refers to medium density fiberboard and is a wood product. The material is held in shape by resins and is typically primed white on the visible face. Like wood it is made in specific lengths and for longer walls pieces must be joined together. Unlike wood, the nature of MDF material allows for very precise cutting and joins are concealed very well. MDF will always be consistent throughout every piece and as a result any changes due to humidity and temperature are spread evenly through the piece. It does not expand nor contract to the same degree that wood does. The material itself is very cost effective and as a result of its ease of use is preferred by many carpenters. MDF being primed white is only suitable for homes where the moulding will be painted. The finished product looks great and will stand up to the test of time better than solid wood.
Which Style is Right for Me?
There are no hard and fast rules for matching different mouldings to the style of a particular home. As a result the options are virtually limitless as to what different combinations are possible. However the trend has been that most people opt for simpler styles and clean lines. These crown mouldings appeal to many tastes and will always be in style. For traditional homes, mouldings with a repeating pattern and more intricate detail are well suited. This is particularly the case when complimenting homes where the style includes ornate furniture and a more ornamental look.
A crown moulding that is too small looks incomplete and leaves you feeling like something is missing. Conversely a crown moulding that is too large is jarring and presents a sense that it doesn’t quite belong. In homes with 8’ ceilings we recommend 5” crown mouldings although we have done some great work with 7” profiles as well. For 9’-10’ Ceilings we would recommend 7” – 8” crown mouldings, and anything with taller ceilings would need an 8” – 9” crown moulding. Once you start getting taller than 10’ your options for designs is reduced though you can still find some beautiful profiles.
What Not To Do
If your doorways stretch right to the ceiling or you have archways that stretch within a few inches from it, it is not advised to use crown moulding in that room. While we can do some beautiful work around them it gives the sense that the crown moulding is breaking up the room and lacks the flow that helps tie everything together.
At Royal Mouldings, we offer a large variety of sizes and designs, from simple, clean lines, to more intricate patterns. For very large spaces, we even offer coffered ceilings and medallions to add further interest to your home.