Your site has inspired me to install crown molding in my dining and living rooms. However, if I start and I like how it looks, I know I’ll want to do the whole main floor. Our house came with beautiful 4-1/2″ base molding and the ceiling just looks so bare. If I like my work, I may go on to doing trim molding around the bottom half of the dining room.
What equipment do I need? At what point is it cost effective to buy machinery for this? Can you recommend a book that shows different moldings up close so I can go to the hardware store and just point, asking whether they carry that? Can you give me an approximate cost on putting up a 6″ crown molding around a 12×15 room?
I’m glad to hear you’re going to go for it on the crown molding! I know you won’t be dissappointed!
I’ll answer your questions one-by-one:
What equipment do I need?
Cutting The Crown
The toughest part of installing crown molding for most people is getting the cuts in the corner done right. The larger the crown, the harder that can be. There are books and websites that give you all the angles for cutting it flat on a smaller miter saw, but I’ll tell you, in my experience the job is much easier if you can cut the crown while holding it in the same position it will be installed at. Which means it won’t be laying flat.
This requires a miter saw, and for 5.25″ crown, you’ll need a 10″ miter saw. For larger crown, you’ll probably need a 12″ saw. If you’re only doing one room, it may be smart to rent the saw. If you plan to do the whole house, you might buy one.
Tip: if you live in a populated area, watch Craigslist.org for deals. People sell tools cheap sometimes! Believe me.
Nail or Staple Gun
Crown molding is installed in a variety of ways depending on your wall surface and the size of your crown. Large crown, or crown molding installed on a hard wall such as plaster, will usually require some solid wood installed behind it (in the gap created by the angle) so that you can nail to that with finish nails. The point being that you can use huge ugly screws to install the support wood and get it firmly attached to the wall, then use tiny little nails for the crown.
Smaller crown is sometimes installed with a “crown stapler” which is an air tool that shoots long narrow staples. These are nice for drywall because they hold better than regular nails, but I really don’t like the wider hole they leave at the top. (which I have to finish)
My favorite form of attachment for crown on drywall is finish nails or brad nails, shot with an air nailer. In order to gain a better hold, I alternate the angle of the nails. They are often only hitting drywall, though I do mark framing locations and hit that when possible. Some installers don’t worry about hitting any framing and rely on the caulking to hold the crown in-place along with the nails. I try and hit wood in at least a few points along each piece.
Generally, longer nails are best for crown molding.
It’s a bear trying to do crown molding alone. They make tools for holding up the other end, and you can cut a board to length to use as a “deadman” to prop it up, but you’ll find the work to go much faster with two people.
Can you recommend a book that shows different moldings up close so I can go to the hardware store and just point, asking whether they carry that?
Amazon.com has books on crown molding, but I’ve never personally reviewed them. They look to be very helpful from what I can see.
If you dig a little using the site search, categories, or site map, you’ll find that I’ve got dozens of posts related to interior trim. They’ll be full of pictures and tid-bits of information. One in particular that comes to mind is Selecting Crown Molding – Sizes, Profiles, Options.
I would think that a picture would work for you in the store. If you can get someone to help you that knows anything at all, they should be able to look at the picture and see what profiles of mouldings are used.
Can you give me an approximate cost on putting up a 6″ crown molding around a 12×15 room?
Of course this depends on quite a number of factors such as your location, they type of wood your material is made of, and the uniqueness of the profile.
But sure, I’ll give you a ballpark. In my area, using standard materials, you’re looking at less than $100.00 worth for the crown, the nails, the caulking, and maybe even the paint.
I hope this helps, and have fun with it! (a good radio is best for that!)