Installation Tips

Questions About Installing Crown Moulding

1. What am I nailing to?

Typically crown moulding gets nailed to a framed stud wall. Studs are generally 16” on center for 2X4 walls and 24” on center for 2X6 walls. The ceiling joists are usually stick framed 12”, 16” or 24” on center trusses.

Nailing into the top plates or studs at the bottom of the crown fastens it. Then cross nailing will hold the top tight to most ceilings. You can also caulk the top and bottom joints so it’s secure as a system.


  • Use a stud finder- on older lathe and plaster walls use the “deep scan” setting on your stud finder
  • Look for indentations from the drywall screws, you may be able to locate one or two studs and measure from there
  • Use a 2” or longer finishing nail and move along the wall at 1” intervals more than 2-1/2” down from the ceiling (top plates)
  • Once you’ve located one stud center, measure the 16” or 24” on center for more
  • Leave the nail in your first found stud and hook the tape on that, mark the studs out just below the bottom of the crown

2. What am I nailing with?

Crown is typically nailed up with a 2” finishing nail and a compressor and finishing gun. Outside corners are usually done with a brad nailer and 1” brad nails with glue.

Studs are generally 3-1/2”, drywall a ½” and the crown moulding a minimum of ½”; therefore 2” finishing nails are necessary.

For 3” rise or less crown moulding you won’t need to mark out the studs, as you will nail into the top plates. (Remember that a 5” crown may have a 3” total rise depending on its spring angle.)

Nail into the higher profiles of the crown, as it is easier for the painter to fill and sand than if you nail into a crevice.

3. How much crown moulding do I need?

You must first determine where the moulding is to be used and then estimate the quantity of each type you’ll need. Mouldings are available in 3’ to 16’ lengths. Whenever possible, try to use short pieces rather than buying a long piece for a space where several short ones would do the job as well. It is estimated that over half of a home’s interior trim consists of lengths under 8 feet.

Make a list of the specific lengths you’ll need and then round your measurements up to the next largest foot to allow for cutting and trimming.

In mitering, allow for the width of the cut by adding the width of the mitered pieces to give you an outside dimension.

4. How do I Apply Filler?

To fill nail holes, repair scratches, dents and gouges, simply sand the affected area lightly. Use non-shrinking filler and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results. For stainable mouldings, use filler that closely matches the wood colour. Once holes have been filled and allowed to dry, lightly sand the areas to remove any rough spots. To fill scratches on stained wood after installation use a wax-based filler crayon to conceal any marks. Be aware that you cannot stain over wax-based fillers and therefore they must only be applied after the moulding has been stained.

FAQ about Crown Moulding

1. What tools do I need?

Tools list:

  • Power miter saw
  • Coping saw
  • Chalk line to create a reference line on a wall with an uneven ceiling
  • Drill/driver to pre-drill nail holes where molding is prone to split
  • Hammer and nailset (preferably nail gun with compressor)
  • Carpenters glue
  • Wood putty for filling nail holes
  • Paint or stain for finishing the crown moulding

2. I have a curved wall. What do I do?

Ultra-Flex is the new easy-to-use lighter weight moulding material that delivers the ultimate in strength and flexibility, great for interior or exterior applications.

Ultra-Flex acts just like wood, machines like wood and has a case-hard surface that can take a beating better than wood. Guaranteed against breaking, cracking and splitting, Ultra-Flex is perfect for curved walls, crown, custom-shaped arches, arch jamb, jamb extensions and provides outstanding performance in hot or cold climates.

Curved crown moulding must be pre-formed by the factory in order to be properly installed on a curved wall. When ordering curved crown moulding it is necessary for you to supply us with the radius of the wall, whether it is concave or convex and which side of the crown is being mounted against the wall.

3. What size crown moulding should I use?

Deciding what size of crown moulding to use may take time but the reward is worth it. Our crown moulding is available in sizes ranging from 2-1/4” to 7-1/4”. First, consider the style of your home and choose a size that coordinates with it. Select a moulding size appropriate for the ceiling height of the room. The taller the ceilings, the wider the crown moulding can be. We have samples in store of our crown mouldings. Feel free to take a couple different sized samples home and see what works in your room. Any of our knowledgeable sales representatives will be happy to help you decide on the best size crown moulding for your home.

4. The difference between wood and MDF crown mouldings

MDF stands for medium-density fiberboard and is a recycled wood product. It is densely packed with binders and resins to bind it together. The entire board is squeezed under pressure to be very dense. MDF crown mouldings come in pre-specified lengths (usually 14’ or 16’ lengths) only.

Wood mouldings are made of any wood that has been dried in a heated kiln to lower the materials moisture content to between the 6% and 12% range. We have a wild selection of wood crown mouldings in stock to suit your style. Wood mouldings come in a convenient variety of lengths up to 16’. We also have a line of pre-primed wood mouldings that come in 16’ lengths. Paint or stain, these wood mouldings can be finished in an assortment of ways.

5. Which way is up?

One of our knowledgeable sales staff can help clarify for you which way is up on the crown moulding if there’s any doubt. However, if you get your crown moulding home and realize you don’t know which way is up here are some tips to help you figure it out.

A fairly common element in crown moulding is its shape called the “ogee”. Most of the time this will be at the ceiling.

6. What’s a bevel and what’s a mitre?

Bevel is moving the blade side to side to the angle on the arm (Bevel: tilt of the blade)

Miter is moving the blade side to side to the angle on the table (Miter: angle on the table)]

Methods For Cutting Crown Moulding

There are two common methods of cutting crown moulding which will be explained now. The two common methods are:

1. In position

The “in position” method of cutting crown moulding requires you to place the crown moulding on the mitre saw at the angle it will be installed at and use only the mitre portion of the saw (and not the bevel portion of your saw). For example, for an 80-degree corner you just set the mitre to 40-degrees.

For this, you will require a good protractor to get the corner angles, and crown-stops to hold it in position.

The advantage of cutting in this position is that it’s much easier to measure and to cut. We recommend this position for beginners.

However, you must be careful that the crown moulding stays in perfect position. If it moves slightly out of position you won’t get a perfect cut. You can only cut crown that will fit on your saw sitting at its spring angle.

You also have to cut it upside down and that makes the corner backwards, so you have to stay on your toes. Try cutting a few scraps first to get the hang of it.

2. Flat

You will use the Flat Cut method when the crown moulding is too large to cut “in position” on your mitre saw. In this method you use the mitre and bevel settings on your saw, with the crown laying flat. You can then cut using those compound angles.

Warning: Real world angles do not match mitre saw angles so get a chart or a protractor that will convert those angles for you.

Cutting crown using the flat cut method is more precise since it can be held straight on the mitre saw easier. However, you either have to flip the crown, or move the bevel (flip if you can as that keeps the bevel constant) and remembering whether the top or bottom hits the fence and which side to cut can get difficult to remember. Visual references can be helpful to have nearby for this method.