How to Cut Crown Molding

How to Cut Crown Molding

Learning to cut crown molding is essential to every DIY homeowner who wants to personally improve their house’s style. However, the process of cutting crown molding can be intimidating and challenging to grasp.

Worry not, though, as we’re here to save the day with our guide on how to cut crown molding:

Generalities

Although initially made to serve a particular function, be it to cover the gaps between walls and ceilings, Crown molding today is mostly recognized for its decorative function. Most people use crown molding to further embellish their rooms, adding a special personal touch to their home.

Crown moldings are generally made of plaster, which makes them flexible, light, and moisture- and insect- resistant. They can also be made of other materials such as wood, polyurethane foam, extruded polystyrene, and vinyl.

They are most commonly used in creating interior as well as exterior cornices, capping walls, pilasters, and cabinets.

Different Types of Crown Moldings

Crown moldings come in two main types: metal and MDF.

  • Metal: Although uncommonly used, metal crown molding is an excellent choice to add a lovely, unique flair.
  • MDF: or medium-density fireboard, is an affordable and stable kind of crown moldings. It is, however, prone to be easily damaged.
How to cut crown molding with a miter saw

How to Cut Crown Moldings

There are four basic types of cuts that everyone needs to know

Square Cut Crown Molding

Used as a butt joint fastening together the cut end of the molding and the wall corner. This is the simplest and easiest type of crown cuts. All you need to do is to take the measurement of the distance between corners on the walls. Then, move the measurement to the molding. In order to make the butt joint, set the miter saw at zero degrees and cut straight. This butt joint will allow the molding to flush against the corner.

Scarf joint crown molding:

This type is used in case you have a long wall, and you need to join two pieces together by creating a splice. If you’re going around the room from left to right, the first cut should be the inside left in order for the outside right to meet the first piece, and vice versa.

Pivot the blade at 45 degrees leftward. With the scrap end, put the first piece of molding upside down on the saw.

The molding’s flat top should be put on the saw’s base, whilst the flat bottom of the molding should be set against the fence of the saw. Then, start cutting at the edge of the molding. Pivot the blade at 45 degrees towards the right, and put the second part of the frame- bottom up- on the saw with the scarp to the left. As done previously, cut at the end of the molding.

How to cut crown molding inside and outside corners

Outside Corners

When dealing with outer corners, the difficulty resides in the fact that crown molding doesn’t remain flush against the wall. Instead, it rests on both the wall and the ceiling, making a spring angle.

  • Turning the miter saw at 45 degrees, begin with making an angle at one end.
  • Make sure to maintain the molding upside down, with both edges of the molding set against the fence and bottom of the saw. The bottom part of the frame should be the shorter.

In the second piece, make a miter cut at the other end. If it’s on the left, position the saw to the right at the 45 degrees and make your cut.

To allow the two corners to tightly join together, shave the back of the angled cut.

Install your pieces. If you find a gap, you still can fix it with caulk.

Inside corners: coped joint

The coped joint is a traditional technique with which to join together wood moldings, whereby the first molding piece is cut square, while the second piece is coped in order to fit the profile of the first piece. The two pieces are to be cut at 45 degrees. It necessitates the use of a handsaw known as the coping saw.

The first piece of molding should perfectly fit the corner, so cut it with a square cut. Then install in the adjacent wall.

Using a miter saw and backsaw, the second piece of molding is to be miter-cut at 45 degrees on the end. The point of the miter cut should be on the back of the molding.

Retain the molding steady on a flat surface, cut the molding’s edge with a coping saw, following the pencil line.

Put the coped piece against the wall and fit the coped end into the face of the first piece. If it doesn’t accurately fit, you can still adjust it by resorting to sandpaper or a wood file.

Corner blocks

How to Cut Crown Molding 1

If you don’t want to use a miter saw, corner blocks are a good alternative. They are designed extra-long to be adaptable to any size of crown moldings. Their sizes range from one inch and a half up to six-inch square. They are the easiest to use.

Measure your molding, line it up to the block, cut the top of the block if you need to in order for the heights to match. Then, along the groove on the backside of the block, apply some painter caulk and press it upon the corner.

Things to Keep in Mind When Learning How to Cut Crown Moldings

  • A power miter saw is the most preferable, if not the best, tool with which to cut the angles. It’s adjustable and relatively easy to use.
  • For a standard 90-degree corner, it should be set at 45 degrees. It can be set both rightward and leftward.
  • The top of the ceiling should be set against the horizontal phase of the saw, whilst the bottom should be aligned with its vertical counterpart.
  • Crown moldings are best cut upside down on the miter saw.
  • Usually, the most decorative façade of the molding is at the bottom.
  • If you’re dealing with an inside corner on the left side of the wall, rotate the miter saw at 45 degrees to the right, while saving the right end of the cut. When it comes to the outside corner, turn the blade to the left, and maintain the right end of the cut.
  • Protective Gear is highly required. Make sure to wear ear and eye protection as well as protective work pants.

Recommended Miter Saw for Crown Melding:

Sale
DEWALT 12-Inch Miter Saw, 15-Amp, Single Bevel, Compound (DWS715)
  • Power and Durability: 15 Amp, 4,000 Rpm Motor
  • Miter Detent Plate Improves Productivity and Ensures Cutting Accuracy: Adjustable Stainless Steel Miter Detent Plate with 14 Positive Stops
  • Miter Dentent Override That Allows You to Override the Miter Stops and Adjust to the Desired Setting Without the Saw Slipping into the Miter Detents. Arbor Size Is 5/8 Inches
  • TALL SLIDING FENCES that support crown molding up to 5 1/4 Inch nested and base molding up to 6 1/2 Inch vertically against the fence while easily sliding out of the way for bevel cuts
  • Cross Cut Capacity Up to 2x8 Inch Dimensional Lumber at 90° and a 2x6 Inch Dimensional Lumber at 45°

Here’s a video that summarizes pretty much everything:

Chad
Chad

Hello, I've been working with power tools since I was a young kid helping out grandpa on the farm. My interest in building things started with him and helped me decide to make a career out of construction. I've built just about everything from pipe organs, custom cabinets, to houses.