Step 7: Hang the cornice

Lay out the precut coped and mitered cornice pieces on the floor to determine how they’ll be arranged on inside and outside corners.

Coped pieces slide into square-cut pieces at inside corners. Mitered pieces meet at 45-degree angles at outside corners. However, the starting piece should have square cuts at both ends.

Hold a cornice to the ceiling on the starting wall, overlapping the edge of the last row of panels. Mark its bottom edge on the wall.

Use a level to extend this mark across the wall and around the room, creating a level reference line for positioning all the cornice pieces.

Place the first cornice on the line and against an inside corner. Nail it to the wall and ceiling every 6 inches. Continue installing square-cut cornice pieces until you reach the next corner. Cut the last piece to fit.

After installing cornice pieces across the first wall, move on to the adjacent wall.

Cut a coped joint on a length of cornice and then slide it tightly into the corner. Then, install the rest of the cornice around the room.

Seal cornice seams. Then caulk and touch-up any gaps. If desired, you can prime and then paint the ceiling.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw,
      for cutting plywood sheets
    • jigsaw
      for cutting holes in plywood
    • drill
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping layout lines
    • gloves
      used to protect hands from sharp-edged ceiling panels
    • brad nailer
      Brad nailer and compressor,
      rent for about $40 a day
    • pencil compass
      used to mark round cutout holes
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      used to mark square or rectangular cutout holes
    • metal cutting snips
      Tin snips,
      for cutting ceiling panels
    • hammer
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level,
      used to mark cornice layout lines on wall

    Shopping List

    1. Pressed-metal ceiling panels

    come in 2x2- or 2x4-foot sizes

    2. Press-metal cornice

    come in 4-foot-long sections

    3. 3/8-inch plywood

    creates solid nailing surface for ceiling panels

    4. 2 1/2-inch decking screws

    for attaching the plywood underlayment

    5. 2x4s

    used to build T-braces for supporting plywood during installation

    6. 11/4-inch-long, 18-gauge finishing nails

    for brad nailer to fasten ceiling panels; or use special cone-headed nails

    7. Latex caulk

    used to fill gaps at the seams

    8. Metallic touch-up paint

    for concealing caulked gaps and mistakes on an unpainted ceiling

    9. 1x4 tapping block

    used to seal panel seams

    10. Fine-point indelible marker

    for marking cut lines on ceiling panels

    11. 1/8-inch drill bit

    used to locate ceiling joists

    12. 3/8-inch drill bit

    for boring tin-snip starting holes in ceiling panels