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Assembled from pine or hardwood and milled in a multitude of profiles to correspond with almost any personal decorating style, unfinished solid wood moulding is the most common moulding used in homes. The most important tool when working with moulding is patience. Never try to rush trim work.
Use this checklist when you go to the store and purchase your items.
Lay the moulding with its back flat against the bottom of the miter box or the bed of the power miter saw. For inside corners, cut through the face at 45° so the edge of the cut is visible from the front. For outside corners, cut through the face at 45° so the edge of the cut is hidden from the front. Cut the pieces as mirrors to each other.
For outside corners, use a power miter saw and set it as indicated in our crown moulding adjustment table below. For inside corners, you can either miter cut the pieces or cope them.
Wall Intersection Angle
Crown Moulding with
52° and 38° Edges
Crown Moulding with
45° and 45° Edges
When you are covering a span that is longer than your moulding, splice two pieces together with a scarf joint. Lay the moulding with its back flat against the bottom of the miter box or the bed of the power miter saw. On one piece, cut through the face at 45° so the edge of the cut is visible from the front. On the second piece, cut through the face at 45° so the edge of the cut is hidden from the front. The joint should meet over a wall stud or some other point where it can be nailed.
Measure the room at the height where each moulding will go to determine the number and the length of the pieces you'll need. Jot these measurements down.
Standard wood moulding usually comes in 8', 10' and 12' lengths. Looking at your list, calculate what lengths of moulding will cover the area with the least waste. For example, if you have one wall that's 6' and another that's 5', using a 12' piece of moulding will yield both the 6' and 5' pieces, only leaving 1' of scrap moulding. However, if you used an 8' piece for the 6' wall and an 8' piece for the 5' wall, you'd be left with five feet of scrap.
Apply the finish to the moulding before installing it. You'll save time because you can apply the finish faster. Find a dry, well-ventilated and dust-free area to apply the finish to your moulding.
Put down a dropcloth and apply the finish according to the manufacturers' instructions. Apply the finish to the moulding in the same order you intend to install the pieces. Then you won't have to spend as much time waiting for pieces to dry.
Set aside some finish to touch up any raw edges.
Locate and lightly mark the wall studs.
Measure the distance between two inside corners and cut a piece of moulding to fit between the corners. Predrill the moulding at every wall stud and nail in place. To avoid denting the moulding, use a nail set to finish driving the nails home. You may need someone to help hold long pieces while you drill and nail. In the event you have a span between two corners longer than the moulding, simply make a scarf joint as mentioned above to splice two pieces.
Continue installing pieces until all the moulding is up.
After all the moulding is up, touch up any raw edges with a light coat of finish. Use wood putty or a filler stick to hide nail holes. For crown moulding, it may be necessary to apply a bead of caulk where the moulding meets the ceiling to close any gaps.
Built-up moulding is usually associated with intricate crown moulding on vaulted ceilings or the ornate mantels of colonial mansions. Although those patterns may overpower the average home today, you can use the same techniques to design your own personalized moulding. Gather several sample profiles. Experiment with them until you find a profile you like.
Once you decide on the profile for your built-up moulding, determine which piece should go up first. Select the most rigid piece or a piece that butts to a rigid surface like the floor or ceiling. Starting with the most rigid piece ensures straight lines and eliminates the flex that smaller moulding can have. Next determine the order for installing the rest of the pieces.
Install the first piece as you would a single profile. Install each subsequent profile in its entirety before going on to the next.
*Time and Cost are estimated.