How to install Crown
How to install Crown
A web site for understanding and cutting the compound angles for Crown Molding and cornice mouldings
Solution:    A few tips for measuring and laying out a crown project!
Crown installation Tips

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Solution:   Here are a few tips for finding studs!
Solution:   Typically these are the nails you'll want to use.

Typically you'll be nailing to a framed stud wall. Like the image left, the studs will most likely be 16" on center for 2x4 walls and 24" on center for 2x6 walls.

Typically the ceiling joists will also be either stick framed 12"  16" o/c or  24" on center trusses.

Sometimes you will need to place crown to a concrete ceiling perhaps a brick or block wall or dropped for lighting like we did in this project.

In those cases you will fasten the backer to the wall  then nail the crown to the backer.

A solid backer

Some tricks of the trade:
Use a stud finder like the one I use (on the right).
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.
Locate an electrical plug most electricians are right handed and the boxes will be nailed on the right side of the stud.
Look at the trim closely, you should be able to see the nailing pattern, most finishing carpenters nail into the studs.
Knock with your knuckle on the wall, it will sound densor over a stud.
Use a 2" or longer finishing nail and move along the wall at 1" intervals more then 2 1/2" down from the ceiling (top plates)
Once you've located one stud center, measure the 16" or 24" on center (they will be marked on your tape) 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.

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 also caulk the top and bottom joints so it's quite secure as a sysytem.

Gary's video on crown is very well done, the whole series is actually.

Finds copper pipe through1-1/2" drywall and rebar through 3" concrete

Molding bar chisel puller. This one simple tool is one of the most important for getting the crown just right in the corners. This and a hammer block.

Go contractor grade on your stud sensor, already own one that doesn't work...
...yeah well see?

Buy, beg, borrow or rent an air (pneumatic) or cordless (battery) nailer.
Some tricks of the trade:
When you measure to an inside corner instead of bending the tape and guessing:
Measure out 10 inches place a mark then measure to that line, and add.
Always mark and measure in inches, less confusion for you and your partner.
Mark the measurements and miters on the wall
When marking out your studs use 1 1/2 painters tape instead of pencil marks.

An example of marking out a project. The marks would be on the wall not on the crown of course. 46m would be a 46 degree miter on the outside corner and a 44 degree miter on the inside @ 44 3/16 long.

Some Tricks of the Trade
For 3" RISE or less crown you won't need to mark out the studs as you will nail into the top plates.
Note: A 5" crown may have a 3" total rise depending on it's spring angle.
Nail into the higher profiles of the crown is is easier for the painter to fill and sand then if you nailed into a crevice.

Why use a 2" finish nail?
Studs are 3 1/2 then 1/2 drywall, then your crown say 1/2 minimum.
Electrical wires & plumbing pipe are by code installed to the center of the stud. Where a good stud finder will comes in, is if suspect a vent or drain especially in a bathroom or above a furnace etc.
You don't want to hit either during installation

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When you see a "d" when looking for nails that means "penny". A 2 inch finishing nail is a 6d for example.

If you see o/c or hear (oh see) when carpenters talk about buildings that means "on center" of the object they are discussing. So 16" o/c would be sixteen inches from one center to the next.

You typically nail crown up with a 2" finish nail with a compressor & finishing gun, outside corners brad nailier & 1" brads with glue.

I've owned the senco angle nailer for years , it's light 3.6 pounds, doesn't jamb often,  no oiling and easy to set the countersink and there is a hook we can't live without... if you are a pro you have to have the angled nailer.

Porter Cable CFNBNS - Three Nailer and Compressor Combo Kit, this is the kit I bought and use every day , 150 psi means it runs less and it's only 34 pounds.

This is an example of how we measure for crown. Rather than the lineal footage it's stock length.

Electronic tapes

Since we do this all of the time I use an electronic tape for the estimates, I shoot for the 16 ft and count up the no. of pieces I need. While I estimate the hrs to complete.

This is an example of our cut sheet.

When marking out your studs use 1 1/2 painters tape instead of pencil marks.

          Cut Sheet Principles
1. Lay out the shape of the room
(this helps with upside down cutting)
2. Always inches
3. Instead of going to 1/6ths use plus and minus. (We even go to "hair" for 32nds) 
Ex: 22-3/4+H (22-25/32)
Anything other than a 45 miter put it on the sheet, Ex:  23 D (degrees)
4. Write the length on the back of the crown so you'll know where it goes.

             A scarf joint (before paint)  
         (see the FAQ page on how to cut this type of joint)
1. If you have to put a joint in crown to extend it's length, you use a "scarf" (left, It is a over lapping joint).
2. The top overlap is invisible when done correctly so place this side of the joint to the light source when possible, or to the side of the room used the most.
3. Splice it over a stud and glue.
4. Cut it at a vertical 90 with the back to the fence not while at a spring angle, as this will create an angle and be more noticeable.

You are only as good as your tape.
The fat max 1 1/4 blade is the best.

This page last modified on Sunday, March 16, 2008

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