We did it! My dad and I did it, people. We installed crown molding on our own! Well, we had some help, but the two people who actually did the work? My dad and me! Booyah! Here is our story on how we installed crown molding in my dining room.
This was the blah and boring room that we started with way back when. Yes, way back in Laura years is technically only two years. It feels like way back when to me, especially when I see what it looks like now! The room was in desperate need of character that would require more than paint and my dad graciously agreed to help. (read: my mom said she would help me and then suckered/substituted my dad in to help at the last-minute because she would rather go work with my brother in his yard…sometimes I do this to Conner. The apple clearly doesn’t fall far from the tree!)
This is the crown molding we used. I purchased it from Lowe’s for $11/section. (It would have been cheaper if I used the raw wood but paying a little more for the primed pieces and only having to put on real paint sounded way better!) Each section was eight feet long and we had nine of them. We really only needed eight but a practice/oopsies piece was very necessary!
I got the idea that I (we) could do this on our own thanks to Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick. She wrote a post all about how to install crown the easy way and I was hooked! I like a good challenge, my mom owns an air compressor with nail gun and my dad is great with measuring/math – it was going to be perfect and SO easy.
Oh, I am so funny people. SO funny. Projects like this are NOT easy when using the type of molding that has a curve like mine. See how the back part is flat but the top and bottom that would meet the wall and ceiling are curved? Yeah. Keep that image in your mind while you read on…
Sarah is definitely correct about the saw - you can use a miter box with hand saw to cut crown molding. This part was easy because the $15 investment from Home Depot has the angles ready for you and the saw fits perfectly in the holes for each angle. My dad was pretty impressed with the tool but I think after the sixth cut was over it and wished we had the fancy electric saw instead. Lets get serious – I was too and I wasn’t even doing the labor! If you have a miter saw, like the real big daddy kind, it would go MUCH faster.
We were so excited about the first two cuts. After much thought and deliberation, we decided on the angle for the first corner and just went with it. We tacked it up with three nails using my mom’s nail gun and stepped back to admire our hard work!
We cut the second piece the same way, just using the opposite angle for the inside corner of the wall. We held it up, ready to nail away and realized it didn’t fit up with the other piece. At all. What the?! We made another cut, thinking we had done it backwards, and held it up again. No dice. Seriously frustrating.
We cut the piece of trim standing up, laying down, backwards, forwards, pretty much every way you could think of but the most important one – holding it at the angle at which it would be installed. OH! Yeah, that thing. Remember the curves in the molding? Pretty crucial little detail when trying to make two corners match up.
Before we could have our Oprah-like ‘aha’ moment, we made a trip back to Lowe’s to talk to the guys in the lumber department about how we should be doing this project. (They were only semi-helpful…as is the case with pretty much every customer service experience I’ve ever had at Lowe’s. Just saying…) The only good piece of information we took away from our trip was that we needed to purchase this coping saw (shown above) to make a secondary cut.
We sort-of knew what they were saying when we came back home so we tried it but then it still didn’t work so we started making some phone calls to our friends who have installed molding before. Praise the Lord for our friend Garrett! He helped us with the very important piece of information we were missing - cut the molding while holding it at the angle it will be installed. DUH!
We ended up having to make two cuts for every corner piece to make it work for my room. Using the miter box, we made a 45 degree cut while holding the trim at the proper angle. Then using the coping saw, made another 45 degree cut while holding the trim piece flat and the saw at an angle.
After 2.5 hours, we FINALLY got one corner finished. WHEW!! We took an hour lunch break and then decided we should get up and do the other corners…which only took us two hours for all three - what a difference! Each time we made our first cuts, even after we started to feel confident, we would only tack the piece up with three nails. We would make sure both pieces fit together and then put up several more nails to make sure it was all secure.
The middle cuts where the two pieces would meet up on the wall were very easy – just as easy as Sarah made it look! All we had to do was lay the piece of trim flat in the miter box, cut a 45 degree angle and then make sure the second piece had an opposite cut to make it match up. That was how all of the cuts should have been and I will definitely pay attention to what type of molding I buy in the future!
The corners all needed a little strip of caulk, as did the top of the molding where it meets the ceiling. Thanks to the texture from the 80s, the molding wasn’t completely flush against the ceiling in all spots. In the picture above, the piece on the left looks more flush compared to the piece on the right. No need to worry about something like that though - a little help from the caulking gun and paint made it all seamless and it looks so, so, so good!! Same with the holes from the nail gun – use a little wood putty to cover those small things and they will completely disappear after you paint.
I am so happy with the results and so proud of my dad and me. It was a long project and was easy once we got the hang of it…it just took a little bit of time to get to the ‘get the hang of it’ part. I definitely recommend buying flat molding for your future projects so you can follow Sarah’s instructions easier than we could! The moldings are all now puttied, caulked and painted and as soon as I finish one more project in the dining room, I will show you the final results – I am in love with this room!!