Introduction

installing crown molding tout »
Modern crown molding can be traced to the late Renaissance, when designers adapted elements of Greek and Roman architecture to ornamental plaster and wood cornices used to disguise and beautify the juncture of ceiling and wall.

The cornice's curves, referred to by classical names such as scotia, cyma, and ovolo, add sculptural definition and visual interest to an otherwise characterless space. The molding used can be simple stock, like the single-piece crown installed here by This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, or elaborate pieces built up from separate lengths of various profiles.

Installing crown is only slightly more complicated than running baseboard. The variety of different joints and saw cuts, including a coped corner joint, an outside miter, a square cut, and a scarf joint, are best done with a coping saw and power miter saw. With practice, you should be able to make tight, long-lasting joints.
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    Tools List

    • miter saw
      Power miter saw with 10-inch carbide-tipped blade
    • drill
      Drill/driver,
      for drilling pilot holes for nails
    • 16-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • pneumatic finish nailer
      Pneumatic finishing nailer with 1½- to 2-inch finish nails,
      to fasten molding to wall
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      for laying out molding on walls and ceilings
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping installation lines on the wall
    • coping saw
      Coping saw,
      for coping molding at inside corners
    • utility knife
      Utility knife,
      for trimming coped joints
    • rasp
      Wood rasp,
      for fine-tuning coped joints
    • studfinder
      Electronic stud finder,
      for locating studs and joists
    • hammer
      Hammer

    Shopping List

    1. 4d, 6d, and 8d finish nails

    2. 1/16-inch drill bit

    3. Wood putty

    for filling nail holes



    4. Acrylic or other flexible caulk

    to seal gaps between molding and walls and ceiling



    5. Carpenter's glue

    for adhering outside corners and returns