detroit crown molding installationTraditional Style

Finish Carpenter Price c. $12.00/lf + $12.00/Corner or Return

This example perfectly demonstrates the four powerful effects a simple flying crown molding gives an otherwise undefined and visually bland great room:

  1. Provides architectural detail to undefined, blank walls
  2. Increases the number of colors you can work with
  3. Creates an intimate living space below the crown
  4. Allows you to decorate walls with normal size artwork

Expanding Your Great Room’s Color Palette

I know this color combination is probably not what you’d choose to paint your great room, but at least it boldly demonstrates the affect you can create with this simple horizontal treatment — that of an intimate living space below the crown while preserving the lofty feeling of your high ceiling.

rochester hills finish carpentry

Crown molding on cathedral ceiling in the DIA.

Hiring a Finish Carpenter Tip

Chances are your local finish carpenter has never heard of a “flying crown molding (the term is my own convention),” so don’t ask for it by name when you first talk to him.

Instead, just say you want a two-piece crown installed at a certain height below the ceiling.

Before he comes to your house for an estimate, however, direct him to this and my other pages on flying crowns so he has a better understanding of the concept and how it should be installed (most don’t).

It’s very important that you tell him before he writes your quote that you want all contact surfaces glued to each other, just like I describe below.

How to Install this Flying Crown Molding

oakland county crown molding installation

It’s Easy to Make

If you’ve never installed moldings before, this would make an excellent first project for you.

The most challenging part would be dealing with any limiting factors that affect the installation height. I cover that topic below.

Calculating Installation Height

Your ultimate design goal should be to create an elegant flying crown that does not look forced or broken. Some great rooms are so odd that they just can’t accept a flying crown, so allow yourself to abandon this treatment if you just can’t come up with a solution.

The Golden Ratio  In a perfect world, where Quinlan Terry designs every home, you would install your flying crown at the height you find by calculating the golden ratio.

But contemporary homes are rarely designed with this classical proportion in mind, so you must allow yourself the freedom to fudge.

Close enough, is the order of the day. At least by calculating the golden ratio first, you’ll understand where you are deviating from.

Limiting Factors  Most great rooms are created on an open floor plan — with archways and windows and air vents and such — interrupting the path of your flying crown.

These obstacles are your limiting factors. And these limiting factors will force you to deviate from the perfect installation height. But deviate you must.

How to Terminate a Crown Molding

Here’s a post I wrote to show some ways of starting and stopping a crown molding on the wall:

Materials Needed to Make this Crown Molding

CM-002 $1.57/lf

To replicate CROWN MOLDING-100 exactly you will want to use a crown molding profile with about a 4-1/4″ drop. CM-002 has a 3-1/4″ drop, so it will work just fine for a scaled down version.

And don’t forget that you can use any style crown molding profile you want, you don’t have to use this exact ogee crown. A crown profile with a cove or one with a pulvinated face would look just as nice.

Flex Trim  If you have a wall niche to wrap your crown through, and so need to buy a flexible crown molding (and flat-stock), then you’ll need to buy all of your molding (both rigid and flexible) from the same manufacturer so that all pieces perfectly match. I’ve used Flex Trim in the past with excellent results.

More about CM-002 here >>

MDF-200 c. $0.57/lf

To make the lower flat-stock portion of this crown buildup, you’ll need to buy a full sheet of 1/2″ thick mdf board.

The board can then be ripped down on your table saw into the exact widths you need.

More about MDF-200 here >>

Step 1  Layout

Use a chalk snap line to find the lowest point of your installation, the bottom of your lower flat-stock detail, and then snap the line.

Step 2  Locate Studs

Use a good stud finder to locate your studs, and then mark them with blue painter’s tape.

Step 3  Install Lower Detail

Before you nail the flat-stock to the studs and wall, first apply a healthy amount of Liquid Nails to the back of the board.

Before you nail the board to the wall, press the board against the wall and give it a little rotation to distribute the glue across both surfaces. This makes for a nice bond.

Scarf Joints  Use a scarf joint to splice two pieces of flat-stock together, not a butt joint. And make sure you use Liquid Nails on both faces of the scarf joint for a solid bond.

Also, make your scarf joints fall on a stud so that you can nail into something solid.

Step 4  Install the Crown Molding

Use a pencil to mark the bottom of the crown molding on the flat-stock. Start in a corner and then install from left to right or vice versa.

Glue the contact surface on the back of the crown before nailing. Now nail the crown to the flat-stock.

Step 5  Prep for Paint

The kind of spackling you use is very important. Here’s the kind I use >>

I’ve written this very detailed post on how to prep and paint moldings >>

Step 6 How to Paint Crown Molding

Here’s two short videos I made on how to paint walls without masking tape >>


How to Install Crown Molding Series

Here’s a list of posts I’ve written about crown molding installation. I highly recommend you read through these before making any final decisions. Good luck!

No Crown Molding on Vaulted Ceilings: Making My Case for Flying Crown Moldings

What Molding Do I Use for Flying Crown Molding Lower Detail?

How to Terminate Flying Crown with a Finial Return

How to Make a Crown Molding Finial Return

Why I Don’t install One-Piece Crown Moldings

Three-Piece Crown Molding: Three Common Mistakes

Three Ways to Terminate a Crown Molding

How to Return a Crown Molding to the Wall

How to Install a Three-Piece Crown Molding Series

How Do I Blend a Crown Molding Scarf Joint?

Great Room Moldings Ideas for Marijke & Joel

Dave’s Kitchen Crown Molding Challenge