[This is part of Our Kitchen Molding Makeover series.]
On This (really long) Page
- How to Scribe the Crown
- Which Wall to Start On?
- How to Cope a Crown
- How to Splice Two Pieces of Crown Together
- How to Wrap Crown Around an Air Vent
You’ve come this far with the installation, and now we’re going to add the final piece that will pull the whole thing together.
Scribe the Crown
It’s easy to nail crown in a slightly wrong position. The problems show up when you try to match the scarf and cope joints with a crown that’s been nailed slightly out of position — the scarf and cope joints are hard to line up.
To achieve a consistent placement of my crown, I like to run around the room one more time making scribe marks. This time I’ll put them at the lower edge of the crown detail. This really helps me position the crown in just the right spot before I shoot brad nails into it.
Glue all Contact Surfaces
Just like I preach when installing any molding, apply glue to the upper and lower contact surfaces of your crown.
Which Wall to Start On?
I’m going to start on one of my short walls. The piece of crown I applied the glue to in the above picture is now installed in the picture below.
Below Next I installed the crown on the opposite short wall.
How to Cope an MDF Crown Molding Corner
Don’t be nervous about cutting a cope joint, because it’s really easy. It’s just one of those things you have to do a few times to develop a feel for how to do it.
Below I like to cut away small sections so that they fall away and leave me room to work my cope saw on more difficult angles.
Below I still get happy when my cope joints turn out this perfect. I want to say something like, dad, dad, look dad, look what I did dad!
Below Repeat the cope process at the far end of the wall. Glue and nail the crown in place.
Now I’m going to install the crown in between the two air vents. It’s a long wall, so I’ll need to splice two pieces of crown together with a scarf joint.
Crown Molding Scarf Joint
After my painstakingly installed crown molding is painted, I don’t want to see the scarf joints staring at me every time I walk in the room. So this is my method for splicing crown molding pieces together.
Above The most important thing is to use a long-ish piece of scrap crown to test fit the joint. If you only use a short piece then you’re not really going to know how the crown is going to behave the length before the joint — it may be full of little inconsistencies that don’t show up when testing with a small piece of crown.
How to Wrap the Crown Around the Air Vents
Air Vent Wrap Step 1
Cut a piece of crown long enough so you can make all of your pieces for each vent from the same piece of molding.
Air Vent Wrap Step 2
Cut inside 45 degree miters at each end of crown.
Air Vent Wrap Step 3
Find a comfortable work surface and cope both ends of the crown.
Air Vent Wrap Step 4
Hold one of the coped ends in place exactly how it will sit when installed and then scribe the back side. Take your time with this step because you have a lot of time invested into coping those ends.
Air Vent Wrap Step 5
Cut an outside miter at the scribe line. It’s better to cut it a hair long rather than short.
After cutting on the miter saw.
Air Vent Wrap Step 6
Take the long piece of crown and put an outside miter on the left side, and then glue the left small piece to it.
Air Vent Wrap Step 7
I hold the piece in place and then scribe where I want my outside miter.
Air Vent Wrap Step 8
I cut an outside miter where I scribed in the previous step.
Air Vent Wrap Step 9
Glue the small piece of mitered crown to the right side.
Air Vent Wrap Step 9
Glue all contact surfaces: top/bottom of crown and the cope joints.
Air Vent Wrap Step 10
Carefully put your crown molding wrap in place and then nail it with a few 23 gauge micro pins.
What initially was an obstacle to installing our kitchen crown has instead become a nice architectural element.
Installing the Very Last Piece of Crown
Installing the last piece of crown in a buildup is where I tend to make small mistakes, because I’m tired or feeling rushed to finish. But this is not the time to cut wrong, it’s the last piece. Here are some things to consider.
Below It’s hard to scribe the exact spot on a scarf joint. I make many trips to the saw as I shave the length down to where I’m almost there. At that point I gauge how much of the crown needs to be shaved and then mark it with a pencil.
Below The saw I’m using is new to me, and so not being that familiar with it I shaved off just a tad too much. For a client I would have started over with a new piece, but I’m going to let this one go.
Below Can you see the scarf joint in the picture? It’s easier and better to fill a slight gap in a cope joint (above) than it is to leave a gap in a scarf joint.
I know that my method of installing three-piece crown moldings is laborious, but my crown moldings never come apart, so it’s worth the effort to me.
The Next Step
The next step is to prepare the crown to be painted. As you may have guessed, I have a process for that too.
CROWN MOLDING-103 Installation Series
9. How to Install the Last Piece of Crown Molding