Kitchen crown molding installation

This is how the room will look when I’ve finished installing the lower crown molding detail.

[This is part of Our Kitchen Molding Makeover series.]

On This Page

  1. Prepare the Corners
  2. Gluing the Scarf Joint
  3. Wrapping Molding Around the Air Vent Box
  4. Cutting the Cope Joint
  5. Glue Molding to the Brick Wall

Prepare the Corners

Drywall tape and joint compound usually forms a small “U” shape in the corners that can push your moldings out of whack.  To help your corners come out better, use a putty knife to knock them square like I did in the images below.

U shaped corner not good for installing crown molding.

Most inside corners are rounded like this one.

crown molding wall preperation

A hammer and putty knife will get the job done just fine.

Note: I normally install the cornice piece first.  But since I can’t layout the cornice on the ceiling until I’ve installed the lower detail around the air vent, then I have to start with the lower detail this time.

kitchen crown moulding installation on air vent

glue on crown molding buildup

Note: I’m using 18g brad nails for the majority of this installation.

crown molding three piece buildup in kitchen

Gluing the Scarf Joint

The right side of this air vent is a long wall that requires I use a scarf joint to join the two pieces together.  Here’s how I do it.

crown molding buildup in kitchen scarf joint

Both sides of this scarf joint need to be glued before nailing together.

crown molding buildup scarf joint glued

crown molding buildup scarf joint glue

crown molding buildup scarf joint nailed

crown molding installation glue

Hey, they’re my walls, I can make a mess if I want!

Wrapping Molding Around the Air Vent Box

Air vents are one of those limiting factors that affect what size crown molding you can install in a room.  My preferred method is to wrap a box around the vent like I’m doing here.  But you could also start and stop the crown with a return to the wall on either side of the vent.

crown molding around air vent

Note: Make sure you make your box deep enough that you have room to adjust your air vent lever.

crown molding air vent tabs

Cut the first piece and test the fit.

kitchen crown molding installation around vent

Hold it in place until the glue tacks up enough for you to let go.

kitchen crown molding installation buildup around air vent

Above: This is what I get for putting too much glue on the mitered faces.  Tip: Let the glue dry for two or three minutes and then scrape it away with a scale or putty knife.  Glue that has set up a bit won’t smear like fresh glue does.

kitchen crown molding lower detail buildup around air vent

Above and Below: With the extension tabs installed and the glue dry (above), you can now measure an then cut the front piece (below).

crown molding air vent box last piece

Glue in place last piece of crown molding air vent box

crown molding air vent box nailed with Senco micro pinner

Below: I built this box just barely big enough to allow me to adjust the vent lever and also remove the screws and the entire vent if I need to.

crown molding box around air vent in kitchen

Now I can build the rest of the crown molding around this box.

Glue Molding to the Brick Wall

Our “dining room” wall is a brick firewall between ours and the next townhouse.  If you have a brick wall too, you may be wondering if you can install crown molding.  The answer is yes, and there are two methods:

  1. Anchor the lower detail by drilling holes in the brick and screwing and gluing it in place.
  2. Just glue the lower anchor in place.

I use method #2.  I’ve attached plenty of crown molding to brick and tile walls, and they are all still solidly in place today.  All I ever did was glue the lower anchor to the wall with a heavy duty construction adhesive (not molding adhesive) — and lots of it — and hold it in place for a while until it sets up.  That’s it.  That’s my secret to attaching crown molding to brick or tile.

installing crown molding on a brick wall

When you’re up against a brick wall, use plenty of heavy duty construction adhesive.

Below: Tack a scrap piece of wood that can support your lower detail until the glue drys.

install crown molding on a brick wall

Cutting the Cope Joint

Below: The lower anchor only needs to be coped on the right side.  The left side will be a blunt cut.

how to cope crown molding buildup

Molding ready to cope.

coping crown molding for brick wall installation

I put about a 45 degree back cut on my cope joints.

cope crown molding for brick wall installation

Let the small sections fall away so you have more room to work your cope saw.

coping crown molding to install on brick wall

Tip: Don’t force the blade through the material, let the blade do the work.  It helps to always use sharp coping blades — they’re not expensive, so have lots on hand and change them often.

cope away the detail from your crown molding

With the first section gone, cut the easy, straight piece away.

coping crown molding to be installed on a brick wall.

coping crown molding detail and then filing smooth

Note: Always test the fit of your cope joint before you apply the glue.  This MDF is soft enough that you can use a utility knife to make fine adjustments to the fit.

glue your crown molding cope joints before installing

Below: After gluing a molding to a brick wall, I always let the glue dry overnight before I add any molding on top.  That may be overly-cautious, but I feel better if I don’t disturb it for while.

coped crown molding lower detail of buildup

crown molding buildup on brick wall

lower detail glued to brick wall for crown molding

Maybe I used a bit too much glue here.

The next step is to install the cornice on the ceiling.

Want to keep up with our molding makeover progress?  Then subscribe to our blog via our RSS feed or by email.  Don’t worry, we don’t have any annoying newsletters or ebooks to sell, so we’ll just notify you of new posts here on our blog.

Cheers, Ken


CROWN MOLDING-103 Installation Series

1.  How to Install CROWN MOLDING-103 for About $3.00/ft

2.  Crown Molding Limiting Factors

3.  Kitchen Crown Molding: Materials from Lowes $211.75

4.  Building a Crown Molding Model

5.  Preparing the Cornice Molding

6.  My Crown Molding Layout Techniques

7.  How to Install the Crown Molding Lower Detail

8.  How to Install the Crown Molding Cornice

9.  How to Install the Last Piece of Crown Molding

10. Before & After: Another CROWN MOLDING-103 Installation