Crown molding provides a decorative addition to the top corners and trim of an interior room. Doing so allows a homeowner to convert a basic, box ceiling into a detailed room. The work can be done by one person although it’s easier to do with a partner. All the tools and materials can be found at a full-service hardware store, and a room can be finished within a day, including painting.
Determine which room you will work on first. Measure the distance for each wall, from end to end, that will have molding in the top corner. Write the measurements down with a pen and notepad as you determine the distances. Make sure to measure small corners and turns as well if the wall is not straight.
Use a calculator to add up all the measurements on your notepad for the room. Take the aggregate number and go to a hardware store to purchase enough crown molding to cover the distance as a whole. Purchase one more plank just to have enough for potential mistakes.
Lay the planks out on two saw horses. Paint the molding planks with the paint color you want them to be when finished. Apply at least two to three coats with a paint brush. Let the molding planks dry. Use your measurements to determine the length of the first molding piece.
Cut the piece to size on a table saw. Turn the piece over and apply a liquid nails adhesive to the back side using a caulking gun. Hold the piece up and climb a ladder to where the piece will install. Press it into the corner so that the adhesive side sticks to the wall.
Drill a predetermined nail hole into the molding itself with a power drill to avoid cracking the molding. Insert a molding nail in the hole and sink it through with a nail punch and a hammer. Repeat with enough nails to secure the molding piece to the wall. Repeat the same process for the entire room until the ceiling corners are finished. Let the adhesive dry for a few hours.
Climb the ladder again and apply caulk with a caulking gun in each of the gaps and splits between the molding pieces. Smooth the excess caulk with your finger and a paper towel. Let the caulk dry. Don’t forget to fill in the nail holes. Use a paint brush to paint the final touch-up of the installed crown molding. Clean up and remove your materials from the finished room.
Sometimes for a long distance it’s easier to split the molding into two equa-distant sections when installing. Then smooth out the seams with caulk and paint over for a solid appearance.
Always pre-drill your nail holes. Just hammering a nail into the molding will likely split the wood especially with small pieces. Then you will have to re-cut a new section to do it all over again.
This Old House: How to Install Crown Molding: Joseph Truini. [http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,1016651,00.html]
This Old House: How to Put in Crown Molding: Charles Wardell. [http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,214981,00.html]
HGTV: Crown Molding – Choosing & Installing [http://www.hgtv.com/topics/molding/index.html]
Ron Hazelton: How to Install Crown Molding [http://www.ronhazelton.com/archives/howto/crown_molding_and_ceiling_medallion.shtm]