Quick Tip: Installing Crown Molding

This tricky but satisfying DIY project can add old-world style and polish to your home.

Installing Crown Molding

Photo: From Bob Vila's Home Again Bob's Shingle Style Home

The Merits of Crown Molding
If your home doesn’t have the style you wish it had, adding crown molding can help. It can mask any imperfections between the wall and ceiling and add formality, polish, and a sense of history, literally crowning the room.

Installing crown molding can be a tricky job and probably isn’t for beginners. But for those with basic carpentry skills and some patience, it can be a very satisfying do-it-yourself project.

Getting Started
Before you start, set up a short scaffolding using sawhorses and planks so you can reach the ceiling and move easily while you work.

To avoid wasting expensive molding on mistakes, cut one-foot-long test pieces. Experiment with cutting them to the correct angles and use them as templates: The key is to know which edge is the outside of each cut.

Cutting Molding
Keep it simple by cutting molding in position on the saw using crown stops. Most pros only use a compound miter saw on the outside corners, which are the most visible. For inside corners, use a coping saw.

Use real wood molding for this job because manufactured materials will chip if you cope them.

Finding the Right Edge
Perhaps most important, how do you know which edge is the top of the molding? Look for the ogee, the common element in most crown molding that looks like a wave. It goes closest to the ceiling.