How to Cut Crown Molding

Three Methods:The First CutsThe Second PieceFinishing the Job

Crown molding significantly increases the visual aesthetic of a room, but it can be daunting to install. Dealing with angles can challenge even the most dedicated remodeler, so check out these steps for a painless way to get them right.

Method 1
The First Cuts

  1. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 1
    Work on one section at a time. Start in the least-visible corner of the room, especially when installing molding with a design. This is because it is fairly easy to line up the pattern in each corner as you go, but the final corner will most likely not match.
    • In the first corner, draw a line on each wall that intersects at the corner along the bottom of the molding. This will help keep you aligned as you install. To do this, hold a small piece of scrap molding up to the corner. Run a pencil along the bottom of the molding to the corner, and repeat the process on the other wall so the lines connect.
  2. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 2
    Measure your wall and molding. Using a tape measure, measure the wall from corner to corner. Face the corner, and determine if you will start with the left piece or the right piece.
    • Measure out your first piece of molding based on the wall measurement. Mark your measurements on the bottom side of the molding on both ends.
  3. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 3
    Prepare to cut. Place the molding upside down on your saw table. Hold it as if the table was the ceiling, with the side that touches the wall facing you. This will allow you to see the measurement marks you made on the bottom edge. [1]
  4. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 4
    For the first section, you will be making straight 90° cuts on both ends of the molding. The molding will be installed flush against the wall in the corner. Don't worry about the angle yet, the second piece will be cut to fit into the first.

Method 2
The Second Piece

  1. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 5
    Measure out the second piece of molding. Mark the bottom of the molding. If you mark the top, your cuts will be incorrect. This is because the bottom of the molding goes all the way into the corner, while the top does not.
    • Set your power miter saw to a 45° angle. Assuming you are starting with the left piece, the saw should be angled from left to right.
    • Be sure to place the ceiling part of the molding onto the deck of the saw table, while you hold the wall side facing you.
    • Make the first cut, with the saw coming down on the mark you made on the molding.
    • When in doubt, cut long so that you can shave the extra off. Cutting short can make the entire piece useless.
  2. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 6
    Cut the other end. Adjust the saw angle back to a 90°. Bring the saw down on you measurement mark, leaving yourself a small amount of extra just in case.
  3. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 7
    On the 45° end, use a coping saw to cut away the back. Follow the contours of the molding and strip away the back wood . The idea is that the 45° cut will fit over the contours of the first piece of molding. [2]
    • Sand it down to remove any gaps. Test the coping by holding a scrap piece of molding up against the contours. Gaps should be minimal. Use a caulk gun to fill in any gaps that won't go away.

Method 3
Finishing the Job

  1. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 8
    Repeat the steps above for the remaining pieces of molding. If you are putting molding in a 4-wall room and started with a piece with two 90° angles, you will have to make one piece that has two 45° angles.
    • The 45° angles will need to be opposite angles. Be sure to leave an extra inch or two at first to make sure everything fits. A slightly too long piece will actually make the entire construction a little bit more snug and prevent cracks from forming as the house settles.
    • For a 4-wall room you should end up with one piece that has two 90° ends, two pieces that each have a 90° end and a 45° end, and one piece that has two opposite 45° ends.
  2. Image titled Cut Crown Molding Step 9
    Attach the molding. Run adhesive along the flat faces that touch the wall and ceiling. Also put adhesive on the parts of the molding that connect with another piece.
    • An extra pair of hands will be a great help when installing the molding, especially for the longer pieces.
    • Push the end of the first piece firmly into the first corner.
    • Use finishing nails to secure the molding while the adhesive sets. Use a nail punch to make sure the nails go under the surface of the wood. This will allow them to be painted over.
    • Attach the rest of the molding pieces, using caulk to fill in gaps as you go.


  • Make a few practice cuts using scrap molding so that you get a feel for how the angles fit together. This can save you a lot of headache and money once you start on the actual molding.
  • Don't force the molding to fit the wall perfectly. Nearly every wall is not exactly straight, and forcing your molding to conform to the wall will only highlight irregularities. Instead, use caulk to fill gaps caused by imperfect walls and corners.


  • Always be careful when working with saws and power tools. Follow all posted safety precautions.

Things You'll Need

  • Power miter saw
  • Coping saw
  • Sandpaper
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Polyurethane adhesive
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer
  • Nail punch

Article Info

Categories: Woodworking