How to Put Molding Up on a Crooked Ceiling

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It's amazing how construction tools keep advancing every year, yet contractors still can't build a square home. Crown molding is one of the most difficult of the interior trim moldings to install, and the installation process can be further complicated by a crooked ceiling. While re-framing the house and re-sheetrocking the room is certainly one way to get a perfect line for your crown molding, it's not a feasible one. Don't give up your dream of decorative molding. You can install molding on a crooked ceiling in a way that will minimize the crooked ceiling line.

Things You'll Need

  • Crown molding
  • Chalk line
  • Pneumatic nailer
  • 2 1/2 inch finishing nails
  • Caulk
  • Cut a 2-inch piece of crown molding to serve as a marker. Hold the marker against the wall and ceiling at a place where the ceiling is straight. Position the molding as it would rest if installed. Draw a line on the wall at the bottom of the molding. Move several feet down the wall to another straight ceiling location and repeat the process.

  • Pop a chalk line across the marker lines to get one straight, solid line for the bottom of the crown molding.

  • Cut the length of molding and hold it in place with the bottom of the molding at the chalk line. Do not worry about gaps between the crown molding and the ceiling. This was expected given the crooked ceiling.

  • Nail the molding in place using a pneumatic nailer and 2 1/2 inch finishing nails. Hold the pneumatic nailer at an angle so that the nail enters through the center of the molding and into the wall stud at the top of the wall. Nail the molding every foot. Repeat all the steps until all the molding is installed.

  • Run a thin caulk line between the bottom of the molding and the wall and smooth it into place with a wet finger. Caulk the top of the molding and apply extra caulk to close the gaps where the ceiling is crooked. You may have to apply caulk more than once to completely fill a gap. Smooth the caulk with a wet finger. Allow the caulking to dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • The crooked ceiling will be virtually unnoticeable if you paint the ceiling white and paint the molding with a semi-gloss white.
  • Always wear safety glasses when using power tools.

References

  • "Crown Molding & Trim: Install It Like a Pro;" Wayne Drake; 2003
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