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How to Cut Crown Moulding

How to Cut Crown Moulding

Crown moulding is an elegant addition that can elevate a room’s aesthetic appeal. But the prospect of installing it yourself can be intimidating, especially when it comes to making precise cuts. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of cutting crown moulding, ensuring that you can achieve a professional finish in your DIY project.

Concept of Crown Moulding

Crown moulding is a decorative trim used to grace the area where the wall meets the ceiling. It is called 'crown' because it is typically more ornate than other types of moulding, giving a regal touch to any room.

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin, ensure you have the following tools and materials:

Measure Your Space

To start, measure the length of the wall where you'll install the moulding. This will help you determine how much material you need. Always buy slightly more than your measurements to account for any mistakes or miscalculations.

Understand Cutting Angles

Crown moulding is typically installed at an angle on the wall, meaning that it's not a straightforward 90-degree cut. The two most common angles for crown moulding are 45 degrees and 38 degrees.

In cutting crown moulding, you will encounter two types of cuts:

  • Miter Cut: This is a diagonal cut along the face of the moulding, typically used where two pieces will meet at an outside corner.
  • Coping Cut: This is a more intricate cut, used where two pieces meet at an inside corner. One piece will be miter cut, while the other will be coped to fit the profile of the first piece.

Make Your First Cut

When you're ready to cut, place the moulding on the miter saw upside down and backwards – as if the ceiling and wall were the base and fence of the saw. This ensures that the cut will correctly align when mounted.

  • For an outside corner, set your miter saw to a 45-degree angle. The top of the moulding (which is on the bottom since it's upside down) should be longer than the bottom after the cut. Repeat this process for the other piece, but in the opposite direction.

  • For an inside corner, one piece should have a square cut (0-degree angle) and will go up first. The other piece will need a miter cut at a 45-degree angle. Then, use a coping saw to cut along the profile of the moulding, following the miter cut. This creates a tight fit for the inside corner.

Check for a Good Fit

Before making any permanent attachments, always check that your pieces fit together well. Hold them up to the wall and ensure they align properly. If they don't, you may need to make minor adjustments with your coping saw or sandpaper.

Install Your Moulding

Once you're satisfied with the fit, it's time to install your moulding. You can use either moulding adhesive or nails. If you choose to nail, make sure to nail into studs or joists for a secure hold. Use a nail set to drive the nails slightly below the surface of the moulding.

Finishing Touches

After installation, fill any gaps or nail holes with caulk or wood filler. Once dry, sand smooth. If you're painting your moulding, now's the time to do it.


Cutting crown moulding may seem complex, but with patience and practice, you can master it. Take your time, double-check your measurements, and don't rush the process. With these tips in mind, you can enhance the elegance of your room with a professional-looking installation.

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