Sunday, May 3, 2015

Crown molding install

I spent quite a bit of time last month installing crown molding for my wife, and I thought I'd show some of the kludges I've come up with.

One of the problems is attaching the crown molding to brick.  My nailgun isn't going to blow nails through brick.  So I cut triangles (sorta) out of a 2x4 and used Liquid Nails to attach it to the brick.  The picture to the left is the first backing block I put up.  I traced the angle from the back of the molding and then cut down that line.  I let the Liquid Nails set overnight, and then nailed the molding to that.

Our crown molding is actually 3 pieces.  The picture above is just the actual crown.  Below that, I put a row of dental molding, and shoe molding above.  I needed to attach the dental to the brick directly, but it and/or the brick wasn't straight and it wouldn't hold by itself long enough for the Liquid Nails to set.  The picture to the right is the first way I tried to hold it in place overnight.  I have a 1x4 clamped to the top of the ladder's feet, and that is pressing against the dental molding, so the feet aren't quite touching the brick.  It only worked well enough to hold one side, though.  When I took the ladder off the next day, the left side came loose again.  So I found another way.
There was just enough brick ledge to get a clamp on, and then I clamped the 1x4 to the first clamp.  This way I could put pressure right where I wanted it, and put more controlled pressure than the leaning ladder anyway.

The first problem I had though, was just trying to get the crown molding up to the ceiling.  16 foot segments are just too long, and our ceiling isn't straight, either.  Somehow, I've lost all of the photos, but the first thing I tried was standing the ladder next to the wall and clamping the 1x4 at an angle.  The notch you see in the last held the bottom of the crown, and let me put it at the right height.  But it never quite worked right (which turned out to be mostly the crooked ceiling) so I found another way. 
First, I bought these hooks from Lee Valley.  There are other hooks, but these are adjustable.  I didn't actually use the adjustment much, but it helped a couple of times.  But they are a LOT more expensive than the others, so you'd probably do fine buying the others.  Or just making your own; I saw one made out of a coat hanger.  Anyway, I bought 4 of these, and that let me get the molding much straighter and closer to correct. 
Then, I found the image to the right.  Once I made one for the molding I was installing, I was able to get the molding as close to the correct angle as possible.  With my ceilings, it still didn't make it perfect, but it was much better than just going by feel against the wall.