attaching the cleats for three-piece crown molding
Photo: Wendell T. Webber

Step 2: Attach the Cleats

To mark the room’s framing, affix painter's tape to the walls and ceiling, as shown, so that it won't be covered up as you work. Use a stud finder to mark the stud and joist locations on the tape. Affix 2x2 cleats to the framing using 3-inch screws. The cleats should lie inside the chalk lines toward the junction of the walls and ceiling, as shown. Where the ceiling's cleats are parallel to the joists, use toggle anchors for a secure installation. Mark their locations by driving 3-inch screws through the cleats and into the ceiling. Remove the cleats, drill larger holes in the ceiling where the screws penetrated it, and fit anchors into them. Reattach the cleats, driving 3-inch screws through the holes and into the anchors.
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    Tools List

    • studfinder
      stud finder
    • chalk line
      chalk line
    • miter saw
      miter saw
    • coping saw
      coping saw
    • drill
    • brad nailer
      nail gun
    • hot glue gun
      hot-glue gun
    • hand clamps
      spring clamps
    • caulk gun
      caulk gun
    • sandpaper
      fine-grit sanding sponge
    • chisel-tip paintbrush

    Shopping List

    Primed crown molding. Select a larger profile for the upper run and a smaller one for the lower run. To calculate how much to buy, round the length of each wall to the nearest foot and add the lengths together. Get tips on sizing crown molding to suit your space

    Primed fascia board with a decorative profile on one edge.

    Primed 1x6 soffit board

    2x2 for cleats on the walls and ceiling, to which the half beams will be attached.1x1 for the nailing strip that will help you join the soffit and fascia boards.

    2x4 to rip at an angle for making backing blocks for the gable ends of the room.

    Painter's tape

    1¼-inch and 3-inch screws

    1¼-inch and 2-inch finishing nails

    Toggle anchors

    Paintable caulk

    Semigloss paint