How to Install Crown Molding

You might think that installing crown molding is a job for your handyman or carpenter, but it’s not as difficult as you might think! But before you even think of starting, here are some essential tips

1. Measure Twice, Cut Once!

If you’ve ever had the opportunity to use a table, saw before this step will be familiar; if not, it’s fairly simple anyway. Mark the length of the two pieces of molding together on your piece of material with pencil or chalk. This way, all you have to do is to line up the blade along that line and make one swipe for each cut.

How to Install Crown Molding, Zazzy Home

2. Use a Miter Box

Depending on how large your crown molding will be, you might want to opt for using a miter box instead of a chop saw. This is especially important if you’re using crown molding that’s 5 feet or more, as it can be very unwieldy with the larger pieces of molding. Instead, line up your cut line and make one swipe of the blade to finish each end.

3. Use an Air Compressor

The purpose of the air compressor here is to hang your crown molding for drying purposes. You might think that you can just slam nails into the wall (which won’t work) or use some kind of adhesive (which could cause problems down the road). A better way would be to attach a nail on either side of your trim piece along with both top corners, so hang it! One problem with this method is that Crown Molding is usually too thick to fit on a standard temporary nail; I would recommend going with a small brad nail.

4. Use Crown Molding Glue

The last essential that you might want to do for your crown molding is to use some kind of adhesive. If you’re using a wood product like pine or maple, then this should be fairly simple as they have been known to accept adhesives well! When your finish nails are in place, it’s time to apply glue along the backside of the trim and press it firmly against the wall. Ensure that all sides are secured by using either an L Bracket or corner bracket, which might come with your kit depending on how much material you purchased.

With all of these now considered, we can start to think about the processing of installing our new crown molding.

Installing crown molding.

Place the rectangular end on the edge of the wood against the wall, with one corner touching where you want to measure. Then drag it along the wall, keeping it flush against the edges. Make marks wherever your cut will intersect a stud, electrical outlet, or another obstacle in your room. Repeat this process until you have marked every area that needs cutting.

How to Install Crown Molding, Zazzy Home

Use a measuring tape and a pencil to transfer those measurements onto your 1x2s and place them accordingly on top of one another so that they line up evenly at each mark. Next, secure them together by nailing through all three pieces with a hammer and nails every foot or so around each piece of molding, using three nails per piece. This ensures that the pieces stay put during cutting.

Cut along each pencil mark with a handheld circular saw, or miter saw, making sure to wear safety glasses and hearing protection (not required but highly recommended). If you do not own either of these tools, it is possible to make do with a hand saw. If need be- simply use clear tape on the edge of the wood where you are going to cut, then draw your cut line with chalk, keeping the straightedge firmly pressed against the wood as you go. Then follow that line carefully using only your handsaw.

Measure again at every stud/obstacle intersection against one of your 1x2s and place them back up on top of one another with the marks facing up. Repeat step two again, making sure to use your tape measure marking measurements for each piece of molding to straight against the wall. Once all pieces are cut, nail through the backside with a hammer and nails to secure them in place.

Secure your crown molding against the ceiling using finishing nails by holding it flush against the wall at one end and carefully tapping into place with a hammer. This ensures that everything is securely fastened together, giving you that finished looking! Next, securely attach your Crown Molding Shelf brackets to each stud on either side of where you placed your crown molding, ensuring that they are level with one another before securing them in place with finish nails or screws (whichever you are using).

Place another strip next to it so that there is no space between them and nail them together at their ends. This will create a nice tight seal against the wall. Next, nail this piece against the ceiling by positioning it with one end flush against the wall, marking where the studs are, then nailing into place.

What you’re doing here is creating a barrier between the two pieces of drywall, thus preventing any air leaks that would otherwise allow both pieces to move independently. This is important because it will keep your wall looking nice and straight. Of course, you can’t always do this with every joint, but you should try whenever possible.

How to Install Crown Molding, Zazzy Home

I like to do this for all joints that run along the length of the wall and even some that run up and down. For example, if I’m doing a ceiling, I will nail one side then put another strip on the other side so that both pieces are nailed together. If you accidentally cut your second piece wrong or it’s too short, just use your third piece as extra reinforcement.

I like to glue these two pieces together using Gorilla Glue instead of nailing them for the crown molding that runs along the floor. Gorilla Glue works great for this kind of thing because it fills in any gaps (which you don’t want) between the two pieces leaving them nice and tight. It’s best to put a generous amount on both sides to ensure that they stick together well and feel over it with your foot until dry to ensure no big air bubbles underneath.

This is a great beginner project, and it can be completed in about an hour or so if you have all the tools already. This is a perfect weekend DIY project for any do-it-yourselfers out there and for anyone who’s looking to add some character to their home.

Note: It is advisable that you wait until everything has dried completely before putting up your items on the shelf. I was anxious and did it a little earlier, which is why you see some paint drip marks on mine. Also, if you don’t want to use nails for attaching your molds to the wall, consider using a construction adhesive instead or even an expanding masonry/wall anchor.

If you’re re-doing a room that has crown molding already attached, then you can do this project without having to attach anything new to the walls! All you need to do is cut out sections from the existing molding by cutting through the back of it with your skill saw and slowly prying off each piece. This will create a nice clean look in any room and give it that extra touch.

Well, that’s it for now. Don’t forget to get creative and have fun with your crown molding if you get the chance! I hope this tutorial has been helpful, and good luck with your next project!


Claire is a blogger, writer, and designer with a passion for making the most out of any space. She's worked in interior design and maintenance for over a decade, and has learned how to make the most of even the smallest room. Claire shares her expertise, where she offers tips and tricks for creating beautiful, functional spaces on any budget. When she's not blogging or designing, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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