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Do it yourself

Install Crown Moulding

Cornices, also called ogee or crown mouldings, add both texture and character to a room while acting as a decorative border to your décor.

Although installing crown moulding with the coped joint technique takes patience and skill, the result is more professional. With this technique, the end of a moulding in one corner fits perfectly around the moulding already installed. To achieve this, the moulding is cut using the opposite angle of the moulding already installed.

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Duration: 2 day
A few helpful tips
Choose the longest mouldings to reduce the number of joints.

For an easier installation, you can use preassembled corners.

Allow the crown mouldings to acclimatize for 24 to 48 hours in the room where they’ll be installed.

Mark the cutting guide

The spring angle is the angle from the wall to the back of the crown moulding. In most cases, it’s 45°.
  • 1.1 - Off the end of a long moulding piece, cut a small piece of crown moulding and place it against the fence of the mitre saw, with the finished side out. The long side of the pattern should be facing down.
  • 1.2 - Mark the saw fence and table. This will act as a cutting guide for the spring angle.


Before you start, determine the quantity of mouldings you’ll need. Calculate the length of each wall and add 12" to 24" for each wall, to account for losses resulting from angle cuts.

Our calculator will help you determine the right quantities to buy.
Moulding calculator

Make the marks for installation

  • 2.1 - Measure the distance between the saw fence and the mark on the table saw, then cut a scrap piece of wood with this measurement.
  • 2.2 - Place the scrap piece against the ceiling and make a pencil mark below it. This mark indicates the lower edge of the crown moulding. Make more marks around the room.
  • 2.3 - With a level, verify that the marks are level and adjust accordingly.
  • 2.4 - Measure the walls from corner to corner, and write the distance on the top of each wall, to 1/32".
  • 2.5 - Below, mark the location of the studs.

Cut, place and nail the first moulding

The ends of the first moulding have a right angle.
  • 3.1 - The first piece of crown moulding is squared on each end. Cut it to the dimensions marked at the top of the wall.
  • 3.2 - Push corners in place and align them on the marks.
  • 3.3 - Nail the bottom of the moulding with 8d finishing nails, or a brad power nailer, over the stud marks.
  • 3.4 - Nail on the ceiling. Leave 2' un-nailed on each end of the moulding.

Make a coped joint

  • 4.1 - Cut the second moulding using the coped joint technique.
  • 4.2 - Work counterclockwise so that only one end of a moulding piece has to be coped.
  • 4.3 - Lay the second moulding along the wall, below the first moulding. At the end of the second moulding, draw a line to the angle of the first one.
  • 4.4 - Cut at a 45° angle along the pencil line.
  • 4.5 - Trace the edge of the mitre to make it more visible. With a coping saw, cut the excess at a slight angle, along the line. This is called a coped joint.
  • 4.6 - Adjust and fit the coped joint to the first moulding. Use a round file if necessary. Square-cut the other end so it butts into the corner.
  • 4.7 - Nail the moulding on the wall and on the ceiling.

Install the mouldings and splice the pieces together

  • 5.1 - To splice two mouldings, position both mouldings as they will be on the wall. Find the nearest stud near the intended splice point and mark it.
  • 5.2 - Cope the end of the moulding that will butt against the wall on your right. Make sure it’s longer than needed for the splice. Measure ¾" past the stud intended for the scarf joint, then mark the other end of the piece.
  • 5.3 - Set the saw for a 45° angle and cut the moulding. Nail it to the wall and to the ceiling.
  • 5.4 - Measure the second moulding up to the backside bevel of the first piece. This is the shortest part, or ceiling side, of the first cut. Cut this moulding.
  • 5.5 - Measure back and cut the other end square.
  • 5.6 - Push the two angled ends together and nail the joint. Then, push the squared end into place.
  • 5.7 - Measure, cut, cope and position the moulding for the last wall. Cope the ends.

Make an outside corner

  • 6.1 - To cut a moulding for an outside corner, place a square on the corner to check the angle. If the angle is not square, use a protractor.
  • 6.2 - Set the coped end in the inside corner and mark the outside corner.
  • 6.3 - Set the saw to 45° and cut. If the wall’s corner angle is not square, use the angle measured just before with the protractor.
  • 6.4 - Nail the moulding on the wall and on the ceiling.
  • 6.5 - Cut the moulding placed on the left and nail it in place.

Paint the mouldings

  • 7.1 - If it hasn’t been done, apply primer to the mouldings.
  • 7.2 - Fill small cracks in the corners and between the moulding and wall with paintable caulking.
  • 7.3 - Wipe off excess with a damp cloth.
  • 7.4 - Paint the mouldings.

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