How to Install Cornice Molding

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Cornice molding is often relegated to the experts because most people fear they will mess up the job. However, that need not be the case with the right tools in hand and the instructions that follow.
The specific type and size of cornice molding installed in a room depends on several factors. The most important include the height of the ceiling and the size of the room. Cornice molding is often reserved for large rooms with high ceilings because if they aren't done properly in smaller rooms, they can appear to enclose it, making it look even smaller.

Things You'll Need

  • Nails Hammer Electric saw with miter Attachment Angle finder Miter bond (glue)
  • Determine in which room the cornice molding will be installed. Also decide the width of cornice molding. Molding width may be limited based on the materials that are locally available.

  • Measure the walls accurately. Check and double-check the numbers to make certain they are within 1/16 inch. Write down the measurements for each wall.

  • Check the angle of each corner with an angle finder. Never assume walls are a perfect 90 degrees. In truth, most corners are not. Therefore, if you cut the wooden molding at pure 90-degree angles, you may find it impossible to make the pieces fit together.

  • Purchase all of the wood required to complete the cornice molding. Purchase extra material in case you make mistakes in measurement or cutting.

  • Cut the pieces of wooden molding according to the measurements you took in Step 2. Allow slightly extra for corner cuts that you will make later.

  • Cut paper or cardboard patterns at the appropriate angles for each wall corner as measured in Step 3. Use the patterns to guide your angle cuts for each piece of molding. Practice on a couple of pieces of scrap molding before cutting the actual piece to be installed.

  • Once each practice cut is made, push the corners together to make certain that they meet correctly and cleanly. If so, you are ready to make the final cuts on the actual molding that will be installed. If not, back up to Step 3 and make new patterns. Continue the process until the practice pieces fit within 1/16 inch.

  • Cut out the real cornice molding.

  • Lay out the wooden piece cut for the wall where you choose to begin. Starting at the inside corner of that wall, make certain the piece fits as it should. If so, nail the cornice piece into place, gluing the corners for extra strength. If not, measure again to figure how to correct the mistake.

  • Prepare any necessary joint pieces that may be required. Joints may be necessary if the wall is longer than the pieces of molding purchased. For example, if the wall is 20 feet in length, you may need to join one 12-foot piece and one 8-foot piece together.

  • Repeat Steps 9 and 10 with each wall section until the job is complete.

  • Double-check to make certain there are no visible seams or cracks. If so, use the proper materials to fill them in so that the molding has a clean, perfect appearance.

Tips & Warnings

  • Measure and remeasure until you are certain that the measurements are 100 percent accurate. Choose the proper type of adhesive for the materials being used. Choose nails that are appropriate to the type of wood being used and the depth of the molding.
  • Use safety equipment including rubber gloves, masks and safety goggles. Remove all furnishings from the walls where cornice molding is being applied. Use all safety precautions recommended within product instructions for the saw being used.
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