Home Home & Garden General Home & Garden How to Install Crown Molding Without any Mitered Cuts
How to Install Crown Molding Without any Mitered Cuts
(2 votes, average 5.00 out of 5)
Written by Susan Peebles   

Crown Molding placed over the backing strip Crown molding installation can be done without using mitered cuts or running the risk of unslightly hammer marks on beautiful wooden moldings. Decorative crown molding can give a finishing look to any room and can be installed using only straight cuts if the right method is used.

1. The following materials will be needed: Crown molding, Hand saw, Measuring tape, Hammer, Screw driver, Electric drill with bits, Wood screws, and Nails. Depending on how the you will want the finished molding to look, paint, wood stain, and varnish will also be needed along with the supplies to apply them.

crown molding2. Measure the area the molding will be going in before buying crown molding. Hardwood crown molding can be expensive so it is best not to buy any more than what is needed. If the molding will be painted then extra will not be needed for purposes of matching, but if the wood molding is going to be stained then extra lengths will be needed. This is to allow for matching since not every piece of wood will stain up the same.

3. Pick out the individual pieces of crown molding checking for twisted ones, splits, bad knots, and other flaws. Figure on buying crown molding lengths that are long enough to go all the way across the walls or half way across so any joints will be evenly spaced around the room. Say the room is 18 foot wide and the molding comes in 16 ft. lengths. Don't figure on using one 16 ft. and one 2 ft. length, instead have the joint in the middle by using two 9 foot lengths.

Wall block for joining two molding strips

4. Buy matching crown molding corner blocks and divider blocks when buying the decorative molding. These blocks are what make it possible to get a professional look with crown molding installation without using mitered cuts. Mitered cuts are the angled cuts used to join decorative moldings so the joints are not noticeable.

Painted Corner Block showing screw holes

5. These cuts can be very hard to get 100% correct, especially if the walls the moldings will go on, are not true and straight with exact 90 degree corners. The corner blocks and divider blocks will solve this problem because by using them only straight cuts will be needed.

The Backing strip nailed in place A piece of the Backing strip

6. Buy backing strips to go behind the crown molding and nail sections of them up on the wall. Backing strips are long pieces of wood, triangular in profile, usually of some type of cheaper soft wood such as fir. Short sections of the strips are nailed up along the top of the wall to give a surface to fasten the molding to using screws.

7. Unless the wall has a severely warped surface, there is no need to to nail a strip along the entire length. 12 inch long pieces of the backing strip can be nailed up along the top of the wall, every 3 to 4 foot to support the crown molding. Because the backing strips will not show, they do not need to be finished in any way and any hammer marks will not matter. Be sure the backing strip will fit behind the molding allowing it to fit up against the ceiling and wall without any gaps.

Crown Molding placed over the backing strip

8. Paint or stain the corner blocks and divider blocks and nail or screw them into place. It is best to pre-drill the nail/screw holes so the pieces are easier to fasten in place. Counter sink the screw heads or use a nail punch to counter sink the nail heads so each can be hidden using wood putty or filler. Colored wood fillers work best with stained pieces. If the crown moldings and blocks are going to have a clear wood finish applied, put the first coat on and slightly sand it before attaching them to the walls. The final coat, which will go on after they are up and any holes are filled, will only have to be brushed on the upper surface without going near the ceiling or walls. Nail up backing strip pieces on either sides of each corner block and any divider blocks being used and along the lengths of the walls.

9. Measure between the in-place blocks to see how to cut the crown molding pieces. A circular saw or a hand saw can be used for the cuts, just be sure to make them about 1/8 inch longer than needed. Pre-fit the moldings between the nailed up blocks to check for a good fit. Mark each piece to show where each fits so no mistakes are made when they are put up permanently. Do any final cuts or end sanding to get good fits and then stain/paint and apply the first coat of any clear wood finish on the crown molding pieces. Stain and paint the cut ends and the back edges so any lighter colored wood will not show if there are gaps.

10. When positioning the prepared crown molding pieces, mark where the backing strips will lie against the molding by making marks on the back side. Using these marks pre-drill holes for the screws that will hold the crown molding in place. The size of the wood screws used will depend on the thickness of the crown molding. Screws with smaller heads are better so the counter sunk holes will not have to be very large. Don't counter sink the screws too deeply, just enough so they can be covered with wood filler to be hidden. Look at the profile of the crown molding. Notice where the thickest part is and place the screw holes there, angle the holes so the screw will go into the backing strip.

11. Be sure to not line up any of the holes in the molding with the nails or screws used to fasten the backing strips to the wall. When working with long pieces of crown molding, two people will be necessary to hold it in place while fastening it. Use a drill with a Phillips head bit to drive the screws in so the heads are counter sunk.

12. Don't over tighten the screws or the molding may split. Once all the pieces are up use wood putty or filler in the screw holes and in any gaps around the corner blocks. Allow it to dry and then apply the last coat of either paint or clear wood finish to the crown molding. If the crown molding does not lay flat along a section of the wall, use some colored caulking to fill the gap. Besides looking better this will also keep spiders and insects from making homes behind it. Here is a link to a website with more information about crown molding, http://www.installcrown.com/Links.html

Comments (3)add comment

paul said:

Great tips. Cutting crown molding can be difficult and since it's so expensive, there is no room for mistake. This is a great idea to avoid mitered cuts. 5*
June 09, 2010
Votes: +1

Peggy H said:

Peggy H
Nice alternative to mitering. I love the corner blocks!
February 23, 2011
Votes: +0

Carl Benjamin said:

Carl Benjamin
I have never been good with crown molding.
February 24, 2011
Votes: +0

Write comment
You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.