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How to Install Crown Molding On Cabinets

Updated: October 5, 2022
Properly installing crown molding on cabinets requires patience, understanding your miter saw and learning how to make compound cuts. In this guide learn what tools and techniques you’ll need to complete this task.
Installing Crown on Cabinets
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How to Install Crown Molding On Cabinets

Installing crown on cabinets is a mix of precise measurement, commitment to cutting three or four times and measuring twice that and realizing a little bit of luck is required.

Fortunately, anyone comfortable with a miter saw and brad nailer anyone can install crown molding. 

In this guide learn how to overcome common obstacles like:

  1. Cutting compound angles for interior and exterior corners.
  2. Where to start cutting
  3. Jigs to make installation easier
  4. Tricks to hiding gaps and nail holes
  5. Measuring tricks
 Of course, installing crown takes basic tools like a miter saw and preferably an 18-gauge cordless nail gun. But there are some special tools you’ll need for a top quality result:

Tools and Supplies Needed

Crown molding miter saw jig:

Kreg Crown Jig at Amazon ($34.97)

Spring assist nail set:

Wipe-in putty:

Crown molding clips:

Fractional measuring tape

Last updated on 2023-01-26 at 19:23 // Source: Amazon Affiliates

Steps to install crown molding

While installing crown on cabinets isn’t as simple as installing trim around doors and windows, these are the steps to install crown molding on cabinets:

  1. Find where the longest piece of crown will be installed and start there
  2. Try to install the next longest pieces first – any mistakes can be used elsewhere
  3. Determine the angles of both ends using a protractor
  4. Setup your miter saw and use a crown jig to layout each cut
  5. Cut the crown to length
  6. If installing by yourself, use crown hooks or a support jack to hold longer pieces in place
  7. Nail the crown to the cabinets
  8. Hide nail holes with color putty

Step #1: Measuring crown molding

While this step might seem simple there are a few tricks:

  1. Installing crown on cabinets starts with the longest piece first. By doing this, if a piece is cut wrong you might be able to use another long piece as a backup.
  2. Use a 25′ or longer, wide rule tape measure to avoid the tape collapsing during measurements.
  3. Use a sharp pencil for making all marks.

Step #2: Cutting crown molding

Saw Cutting Crown Molding

You’ve heard the saying measure twice and cut once. Well, for crown molding it can pay to measure twice and cut four times. Why would you do that? I like to make the mark on the crown and then cut longer than needed, put the piece on the cabinet and then repeat until the fit is within 1/64″. It’s a few more trips up the ladder but will reduce waste and cost of cutting a piece too short.

With complex corner cuts one of the riskiest cuts for DIY’ers, take a look at the Kreg crown molding jig to simplify the process. They include a cutting guide to simplify the job.

Step #3: Nailing crown molding

Installing Crown on Cabinets

Now that the piece is cut to length you can start nailing.

But where do you start? In general, when installing crown you’ll want to start nailing closest to the last piece installed to make sure the joint is tight.

Then, rather than nail the entire piece of crown in place, professionals will check the fit on the other end of the crown and nail the opposite end.

Lastly, you can then put nails about every 12 to 16-inches to complete the installation.

Installing crown by yourself? Well, use a cabinet jack to support the opposite end.  And they are excellent for installing upper cabinets.

Step #4: Hide nail holes & gaps in crown molding

color putty to fill holes and gaps in filler strips

Color putty is the secret weapon of any complete cabinet installation.

You’ll need to hide not just nail holes in the crown molding but also any imperfections in your cuts, joints and toe kick.

I wouldn’t tackle installing crown on cabinets without Color Putty on hand. You can custom mix colors to match any wood or grain pattern.

Summary

While installing crown molding properly is arguably the hardest step of most cabinet installations it is also the most rewarding. 

Be sure to check out our cabinet installation series for your next steps.

Bestseller No. 1
Kreg KMA2800 Crown-Pro Crown Molding Tool
2,431 Reviews
Kreg KMA2800 Crown-Pro Crown Molding Tool
  • The Right Cut: Beautiful, seamless-fitting crown...
  • Many Angles: Adjustable spring base locks anywhere...
  • Crown Molding Cutting Tool: Eliminates...
  • Angle Finder: Measures exact angle of inside and...
  • Kreg Tools: We offer products that help...
Bestseller No. 2
FastCap Crown Mold Clip Crown Molding Clip,...
1,432 Reviews
FastCap Crown Mold Clip Crown Molding Clip,...
  • Keeps molding in place for easy installation
  • Made of Heavy-Duty ABS so they are sturdy and...
  • A "MUST HAVE" for any crown molding project
  • Package dimensions: 8.0" L x 7.63" W x 2.25" H
SaleBestseller No. 4
Milescraft 1405 Crown45 - Crown Molding Tool,...
728 Reviews
Milescraft 1405 Crown45 - Crown Molding Tool,...
  • Compact design works with most miter saws
  • Makes right-side-up cutting of 2″ to 5-1/2″...
  • Supports Crown molding between 2″ to 5-1/2″
  • Adjustable angle setting with angle finders for...
  • Saw blade enters the material from the front
Bestseller No. 5
FastCap 3rd Hand Support System 57-to-144-Inches,...
2,795 Reviews
FastCap 3rd Hand Support System 57-to-144-Inches,...
  • Reaches 5-To 12-Feet; Action Lever For Secure...
  • Fully Articulated Ends
  • Textured Rubber Pads For Gripping
  • Quick Release Lever

Last update on 2023-01-12 at 20:49 / Images from Amazon

  • About the Author
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( Woodworker )

Eric has been a professional woodworker for over thirty years and has worked in small cabinet shops making everything from kitchen cabinets to hand-made furniture. Now working from a home woodworking shop Eric is sharing his passion for woodworking, tool advice and how-to knowledge from his Minnesota-based woodshop.

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Disclaimer: DIY projects can be dangerous, hire a professional (link to Home Advisor) if unsure.