Crown molding adds an elegant flair to any room, and you can save a significant amount of money by learning how to install and paint crown molding yourself. From a design perspective, crown molding often adds a touch of texture to otherwise flat architecture. Straight, solid wood crown molding is most commonly used, and stock options include mahogany, oak and medium density fiberboard, which can be covered with a wood veneer that can be stained. However, flexible molding also is available to finish off the tops of bay windows and curved walls.
Although painting crown molding can be accomplished after installation, it’s easier and less messy to paint the molding strips prior to installation. Some crown molding already is primed for painting. But depending on the molding material, you should apply a plain white primer on all types. Once the primer paint is dry, lightly sand the molding strips to get a smooth finish. The crown molding now is ready for the first coat paint.
When deciding the paint color, consider the color of the walls, the layout of your home and the color of other crown molding throughout the house. To give a home a sense of continuity, most homeowners opt to choose white for crown molding throughout the home. Pick an area free of airborne dust and debris that is large enough to lay all the strips of molding flat. Cover the floor with enough drop cloth for all the molding strips. Load up a 3-inch paint brush with paint, and run it the full length of the strip, without stopping. Make a second pass of paint before the first coat dries. Stop painting and let all the strips dry, and then repeat the process and let dry again.
To install the crown molding, you first need to cut the mitered corners. Use a crown molding compound miter jig saw, which will produce an exact 45-degree angle to the corners. If the corners are not 90-degree angles, it’s better to cut too little. If you need to adjust, use a chisel to get a snug fit.
Many home renovators may find they need to practice miter corners before cutting the real thing. First determine how far you want the molding to protrude from the wall and how far down the wall you want it to go. Cut a 2-inch piece of crown molding to gauge this. Put the small piece into a framing square. Write down both the measurements. Put the small piece upside down in the miter box. Adjust the molding until you reach the measurements you wrote down. Mark the saw frame to correctly and accurately hold the molding as you cut it. If you keep trying to get the correct miter cut, there are plenty of online tutorials and videos to help you. There is nothing worse than having to go through trial and error on many possibly expensive strips of mahogany or oak crown molding.
Once you have the corner piece cut, secure it to the wall with finishing nails and a finishing hammer. You want to nail the molding to ever wall stud. Once you have worked your way around the room, stand back and take a look. If you would like to make more of statement, you can add additional molding to the top and bottom of the first installation.
Adding more strips of molding creates a thicker crown at the top of the wall and often is seen as more elegant and gives the room a richer look. For continuity, paint additional molding strips the same color as the first installation. To add even more texture to the molding, choose additional strips that have routed, rounded inset edges. Strips of crown molding also come with intricate designs. These kinds of strips work well when placed as the top or middle strip.
Once you have all of your crown molding secured, you’ll want to go around the room and paint over all the nail holes. Some homeowners also like to apply white silicone along the top and bottom of the crown molding throughout the room. The white silicone often hides imperfections in ceilings and walls, such as uneven ceilings or ceilings that have “popcorn texturing” that was popular in homes that were built in the 1970s and ‘80s.
After you have painted over the nail holes, your crown molding project is complete and you can enjoy this inexpensive style upgrade to your room.