Introduction

installing kitchen cabinet crown molding
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
»
Q: I want to install crown molding on my kitchen cabinets. What's the best way to go about it?
—Brian Spears, St. Louis

A: A lot of upper kitchen cabinets these days don't have enough material above the doors on which to mount crown molding. To get around that shortcoming, I build a hardwood frame that sits on top of the cabinets and use it as a base for fastening the crown.

Using a frame allows me to do the detail work on a bench—much easier than from a ladder—and I can attach the crown from the back side, so there are no nail holes to fill. Once the frame and crown are attached, you install the whole assembly in one go.

If the ceiling isn't level, as was the case here, then you have two options above the crown: Leave a gap or scribe-fit a filler strip that follows the contours of the ceiling. Whatever you do, avoid scribing the crown itself or leaving a small gap of ½ inch or less. Either one will draw attention to the ceiling's unevenness and undermine all your careful work with the molding.

Pictured: Here's a clever way to add crown to cabinets: Mount the molding on a frame and install it as a single unit.
Ask TOH users about Crown Molding

Contribute to This Story Below

    More in Molding & Carpentry

    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • hand clamps
      Clamps
    • miter saw
      Miter saw
    • drill
      Drill/Driver
    • pencil compass
      Compass (optional)
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw (optional)
    • pneumatic pin gun
      Pneumatic pin nailer (optional)

    Shopping List

    1x4 poplar boards
    Shims
    Crown molding
    Filler strips (optional)
    1¾-inch drywall screws for building the frame
    1¼ and 2½-inch washer-head screws for attaching the crown
    Pin nails
    Wood glue
    Caulk (optional)