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Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

We've never done any crown molding before, much less mitering. This is all new to us and we're doing research to learn how to install crown molding that comes together at inside corners. My question is...Why isn't the back side of crown molding made to fill all the way up into the corner where the wall and ceiling meet, filling all the space and leaving no hollow space? This is confusing. We really need for one end to be solid to the corner because it is butting up against an installed shower surround wall. I'm afraid that the gap behind the crown molding will show when it is butted up against the shower surround. What solutions do we have? :confused:

A. Spruce
Re: Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

Crown is "hollow" so that it will bridge irregularities in the wall, also so that it requires less material and is less weight.

The easiest way to handle the crown at the shower will be to return it back to the wall. That is, instead of "dead ending" or butting it into the shower, you cut an outside corner on it and then a mating piece that butts it into the wall just short of the shower. You could also use a corner block at the end, but that will probably look a bit strange.

Re: Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

There are several reasons, one is that it takes a lot less lumber a solid piece would cost 3 or 4 times as much, another is the weight, another is that it is often installed where the angle between the wall and ceiling is not exactly 90 degrees.

You can handle the end in two ways. One is to install a drop
The other is to do a return. A return is just and outside corner on the end that turns into the wall


Re: Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

You might want to check out this how to article on line http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/step/0,,1016651_20067363,00.html


Re: Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

I would also reccomend that you get just a little extra to make practice fits so that you can see how it goes together

Re: Crown Molding - why hollow behind?

The crown moulding is typically milled out of a 3/4" or 1" board. This is much cheaper and easier to make than using a 4" square timber. It makes it lighter and easier to install, too. And, as others have said, it helps to hide irregularities in the wall & ceiling. Another plus -- this cavity can be used to hide new wiring in old houses.

JLM's suggestions for finishing the ends are the "standard" ways of dealing with the situation. When well crafted, it's a very nice treatment.

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