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Do-It-Yourself: How To Install Crown Moulding

Do It Yourself Crown Moulding Installation

Crown moulding is a wonderful way to add some beautiful detail and a stunning, polished look to your space.  It can instantly transform a bland room into one with classic glamour and makes any home look more finished and appealing.  While consulting a professional is always an option, you may be surprised to learn that you can install crown moulding yourself with relative ease.  Here we walk you through the process, from choosing the right style to finishing it all off.

  1. What You’ll Need


  1. Tape measure
  2. Ladder
  3. Miter Saw
  4. Stud finder


  1. Nails
  2. Crown moulding
  3. Paintable caulk and gun
  4. Sand Paper
  5. Choosing the Right Moulding


Choosing the perfect crown molding for your space can sometimes be the most difficult part of this upgrade.  There are many options and materials to choose from, and ultimately, much of it comes down to taste.

Solid wood works for almost all installations and can’t be beat for beauty and character.  Plaster, a higher end option, is a lovely choice for a large foyer, but its cost deters many homeowners.  If you’re on a tight budget, MDF (ultralight medium density fiberboard) is a great alternative possibility.  Much more affordable than its wood or plaster counterparts, MDF can still be handled in much the same way.  However, it is less durable than wood and shouldn’t be used in bathrooms, kitchens, or other humid areas.  Polyurethane is another option available to you.  It holds up well against rot and insects but is, again, less resilient than wood.

Check out our full guide to choosing a crown moulding style.


  1. Measure the Room

Measuring The Room For Crown Moulding

Measure your walls and find the studs with a stud finder.  Mark the places where the studs are located as well as the bottom of where the moulding will lay.


  1. Paint the Moulding


You can either paint the moulding now, before installation, once it’s up.  We prefer to do it beforehand and do any touch ups afterwards.  We find this makes for a much easier and less intensive finishing process.


  1. Make a Guide Fence

Cutting The Crown MouldingCutting the corners of crown moulding is by far the trickiest part of the job.  But proper use of a 10 or 12-inch power miter saw can help make this task easier.  The moulding can be cut in two ways.  You can lay it flat under the blade or against the saw at an angle.  Laying it against the saw is preferable, as it allows you to make one only cut instead of two.

To do this, you’ll need to construct a guide fence, a piece of plywood glued to the saw table, that will help you position the molding correctly each time.  With this setup, the saw table will act as the ceiling and the fence as the wall.

Put a piece of moulding upside down on the miter saw table and hold it at the same angle at which you will be installing it.  Secure with clamps.  Then, take a piece of plywood and glue it to the table against the clamped moulding.  Once the glue is set, remove the moulding and cut away the center of the fence at 45-degrees in each direction.


  1. Cutting Outside Corners


Outside corners are the easiest to cut.  Put the first piece of moulding in the saw, using the guide fence and cut at a 45-degree angle.  Then cut the piece that will be attached to it, keeping the saw in the same position.


  1. Cutting Inside Corners


For inside corners, the first piece is cut square and the second is cut at a 45-degree angle.  So, cut that first piece with the saw set to 0-degrees.  Then cut the second with it set at 45-degrees.

Tip: Measure the walls before you shop and buy pieces of moulding that are as close as possible to the length of your walls.  This will save you from having to join many pieces together during the installation.



  1. Attach the Moulding to the Walls

Attaching The Crown Moulding

Having someone around to help you position the moulding can be invaluable.  One person can help hold the moulding in place while the other secures it.

Use finish nails to attach the moulding to the walls at the studs.  Continue with this process moving from wall to wall around the room.  If you had to make scarf cuts to fit multiple pieces along one wall length, use a little glue to help secure them.  Simply wipe the glue away after the pieces are fixed to the wall.


  1. Smooth the Moulding

Smoothing The Crown Moulding

Sand down any rough patches on the moulding with 100-grit sandpaper and caulk any corner joints that are slightly off.  Any scuffs or nicks in the paint can be easily touched up once it’s clean and sanded.