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Crown Molding Sizes


Photo Gallery    Appropriate Size  Crown Molding Profiles   Material Selection

Crown Molding Spring Angles    Crown Molding Cut Angles

Crown Molding Buildups    Crown Molding on Vaulted or Cathedral Ceilings

The Color of Crown Molding

Appropriate SizeCrown Molding on Fluted Column

An often asked question is, what size of crown molding should I use on my 8 ft. ceiling? After a few miles of crown molding we have found a general rule of thumb is:   
7 foot ceiling - 3" or smaller
8 foot ceiling - 3"- 4"
9 foot ceiling - 4" - 5"
10 foot ceiling - 6"
17 foot ceiling - 8" or larger

Smaller than these guidelines and the crown molding appears out of proportion. Where as, using crown molding larger than these guide lines risks looking gaudy.  If combining the crown with a picture rail molding an inch smaller crown would be appropriate.

Crown Molding Profiles

For most architectural styles a 4-1/4" classical profile would be a safe and stylish choice.  For a more modern cleaner look a cove crown profile gives a lot of flexibility to the design.  Heavy Victorian crown profiles for most homes need to be approached with caution, it is best to error on the side of simplicity than to over do it.  If in doubt try to follow the lines that are in the baseboard and casing.


Material Selection

Standard crown molding comes in either solid wood, finger jointed solid wood, or medium density fiberboard (mdf); and each material has it's advantages and disadvantages.  If it is to be stained such that the grain can show through, there is little choice but to use a solid wood crown molding.  If it is to be painted or stained with a very opaque finish then finger joint or mdf can be used.  Solid wood is naturally the most expensive option, followed by finger joint, then mdf.  If the molding is going to be exposed to moisture then the use of solid wood or finger joint is recommended.  For very large size crown molding solid wood can become prohibitively expensive, such that, mdf with a faux wood finish would be less expensive.

Crown Molding Spring Angles

The angle which the crown molding makes with the wall is termed the spring angle.  The spring angle is typically 45 degrees for smaller mdf moldings and a lot of the solid wood moldings.  With solid wood crown molding and larger mdf crown molding a spring angle of 38 degrees is often encountered.  Occasionally a spring angle in excess of 45 degrees, such as, 52 degrees, will be encountered for specialty crown moldings.

Crown Molding Cut Angles

The simplest and most reliable way to cut the proper angles for crown molding corners is flat on it's back with a compound mitre saw.  For the two most common spring angles the mitre and bevel angles are as follows:

    38 degree spring angle    31.6 degree mitre,        33.9degree bevel

    45 degree spring angle    35.3 degree mitre        30 degree bevel

Crown Molding Buildups

Crown molding can be installed as a single piece or as a group of moldings.  The most common grouping is aCrown molding buildup crown molding and an insert, such as, a dentil or a rope molding.  If more vertical or horizontal projection is desired crown moldings can be grouped with other crowns, or casings.  Another option is to combine a crown molding with a picture rail molding 6"-12" below the crown.

Crown Molding on Vaulted or Cathedral Ceilings

There are three acceptable methods for installing crown molding on a vaulted ceiling.  Two of the methods are a bit of a compromise, while the third with corner blocks yields a different look.

    Method #1 - Use standard angle cuts and install parallel to the vaulted ceiling.  This results in the crown molding being rolled up to a larger spring angle on the high wall and rolled down to a lower spring angle on the short wall.  A bit of a compromise, however, it still looks better than no crown.

    Method #2 - Use a larger crown molding of the same profile on the slopped runs with the smaller crown on the runs parallel to the floor.  Cut appropriate miters and align the profile while installing.  This method is not recommended for the diy'er.

    Method #3 - Fabricate or purchase decorative corner blocks and install in the corners.  But the crown molding into the corner blocks.  If done with a tasteful corner block this can be an attractive alternative.

The Color of the Crown Moulding

To get the most effect from the crown moulding the color should be in some contrast to the color of the walls and ceiling.  A stain grade wood molding in a medium to dark color would be good with walls or ceilings painted a medium to medium-light color.  For painted crown moulding it really needs to be white or off white; Swiss coffee or whisper white is as dark as it should be.  Crown molding and light rails on kitchen cabinets should either match the cabinet color, or be a dark accent color.


We service Fullerton, Brea, Placentia, Yorba Linda, Anaheim Hills, La Habra, Hacienda Heights, Diamond Bar, Irvine, Chino Hills, Buena Park, Walnut, Villa Park, and other North Orange County, CA cities.

714-680-9277    2454 E. Fender Avenue, Suite A, Fullerton, California 92831

CA Lic. # 741889