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How Much Does Crown Molding Cost To Install?

National Average Change Location | View National
$1,102
Typical Range
$625 - $1,591
Low End
$256
High End
$3,000

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On This Page:

  1. Cost of Crown Molding Installation
  2. Material Costs for Crown Molding
  3. What is Crown Molding?
  4. Creative Uses for Crown Molding
  5. DIY or Professional Installation?
  6. Conclusion

Average Cost to Install Crown Molding

The cost to install crown molding will be anywhere between $625 and $1,591, with prices quoted between $8 and $3 per linear foot for the project. If you choose to install crown molding yourself, you may pay only between $40 and $260 per linear foot, depending on the type of wood you choose.

Exact room measurements, material choices and the decision whether to hire a professional or do the job yourself can greatly impact the cost of your crown molding project. Figures also vary substantially depending on the type of crown molding you choose. Here is a breakdown of the costs associated with popular crown molding materials:

Costs by material composition (excluding labor):

  • Polystyrene foam: average of $1-$2 per linear foot
  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF): average of $1-$3 per linear foot
  • Wood: average of $1-$6 per linear foot, depending upon the wood choice
  • Exotic woods: average of $10-$45 per linear foot

Generally, labor to install crown molding ranges from $2-$6 per linear foot, depending on the complexity of the project, the type of molding you choose and standard labor rates in your area.

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Different Materials Used for Crown Molding

There are many crown molding materials available, making it easy to find a material that will suit your decorating style as well as the finish of your walls and ceilings.

Plaster Molding

Plaster molding works best in large rooms with plaster walls. And, because it can be cast into very detailed or elaborate designs, you can create exactly the look you want. Another upside to plaster is that it won’t shrink or warp. Disadvantages of plaster include:

  • There are casting expenses involved
  • Plaster is prone to cracking during installation
  • The material is heavy, which may make it unsuitable for certain applications.

Professional installation is almost always required, due to the difficulty of working with plaster molding in general. The average cost for this type of molding typically runs $6 to $12 per linear foot, not including installation.

Solid Wood Molding

Wood crown molding generally provides good value. Advantages of wood molding include:

  • Wood can be carved into many different designs
  • It can be stained or painted
  • It may be professionally installed or completed as a DIY project

Hardwoods like oak and mahogany stain beautifully, and their natural grains add warmth and appeal to any room. Soft woods like pine or aspen can be easier to cut and sand; these are an excellent choice if you’re planning to paint your molding. Another upside to wood is that it’s long-lasting. Downsides to wood molding include:

  • Wood tends to contract or expand in changing weather conditions
  • Depending on your level of expertise, It’s may be difficult to cut and install
  • Heavy molding choices may not be suitable for ceilings that can’t carry the weight.

The average cost for wood molding can vary greatly depending on the type of wood used. Cherry molding, for example, will cost more than maple or oak. Cherry crown molding prices range from $4 to $6 per linear foot, without installation; maple ranges from $2 to $5 per linear foot. Poplar molding is one of the least expensive wood molding materials. Poplar costs around $2 to $3 per linear foot, not including installation.

Medium-Density Fiberboard

Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is a good option for those who want the look of wood without the costs associated with it. Since this material is lightweight, it can be used in any room and it painted to complement any aesthetic. MDF will not split when it’s cut, making it a solid option for those using miter saws for installation. The downside to MDF is that it can be difficult to correctly angle cuts for ease of installation, and it may dent easily unless care is used during the process. MDF crown molding should not be installed in a kitchen or bathroom in which excessive moisture may occur, as this can cause the molding to warp or bow. MDF crown molding averages $1 to $3 per linear foot, not including installation.

Polyurethane Molding

Polyurethane molding is affordable, easy to install and resistant to warping, scratching and rotting. Polyurethane is a versatile material that can be worked into almost any design. However, like MDF molding, it is prone to denting and may not hold paint or stain for proper finishing. The cost of polyurethane crown molding runs from $2 to $6 per linear foot, not including installation.

PVC Molding

PVC molding can be used in kitchens and bathrooms in which moisture may be an issue. And, because it’s hollow, it can also be used to hide cabling and wires in other rooms. Generally speaking, PVC is manufactured only in white. And, because of the way the molding is manufactured, painting and intricate design patterns are problematic. PVC crown molding costs around $1 to $3 per linear foot, not including installation.

Polystyrene Molding

Polystyrene can be cut with scissors and installed with adhesive, making it the simplest molding material to install. Polystyrene is also the most cost-effective type of crown molding available, and it can be applied to virtually any surface in any design. The disadvantage of polystyrene is that it is difficult to achieve the crisp edges characteristic of well-designed crown molding with this material. Therefore, it’s often used only in areas in which more traditional materials may not be installed. The average cost for polystyrene molding ranges from $1 to $2 per linear foot, not including installation.

Aluminum, Copper and Steel

While the aforementioned materials are primarily used for interior applications, aluminum, copper and steel may be used indoors and outdoors. It is preformed using heavy-duty construction and is available in a variety of designs. Installation is comparable to installation of other molding types, however, a steel-cutting saw is required to work with this type of molding. Traditional uses include workshops, garages, kitchens and offices. The Average cost for these moldings runs $10 to $25 per linear foot, not including installation.

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Sizing the Molding

Because the purpose of your crown molding is to enhance the beauty of your rooms, it’s important to choose the correct size for the job. The “drop” of crown molding is the distance from the ceiling to the edge of the crown’s lower flange. Though there are exceptions to the rule, the following guidelines are generally accepted as standard when pairing ceiling height with appropriate drop values:

  • For 8 foot ceilings, choose moldings with a 3-5 inch drop.
  • For 9 foot ceilings, choose moldings with a 5-10 inch drop.
  • For 10-12 foot ceilings, choose moldings with a 10-12 inch drop.
  • For 16 foot ceilings, choose moldings with a 18-25 inch drop.

For any ceiling higher than 10 feet, your best option may be to build up your crown molding by combining different molding designs. This adds visual interest, and it also makes good use of your extra space.

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Tools and Materials Needed

You will need the following tools and materials if you decide to tackle the job on your own:

Necessary tools:

  • Hammer or, optimally, a nail gun
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Miter saw
  • Coping saw
  • Drill
  • Optional: special crown molding kits make the job simpler (average cost of $75 to $118)

Material list and costs based on a 10x10 room:

  • Nails ($3 to $5 per pound of finishing nails)
  • Molding (see prices above for each molding material type. Plan to purchase at least 10 percent more than your measurements indicate to compensate for any mistakes.)
  • Caulk ($3 to $7 for silicone/acrylic paintable caulk)
  • Wood putty ($3 to $6 for one tube of neutral, paintable putty)
  • Optional: pre-made corner pieces for a more finished look ($8 to $20 each)
  • Paint or stains needed to finish the molding, as desired (costs vary)

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What is Crown Molding?

Crown molding is an aesthetically pleasing way to join the wall and ceiling of a room. It provides a graceful transition, rather than a stark 90 degree angle at the intersection of the two surface areas. Though it’s most commonly applied to join walls and ceilings, crown molding is also used to create decorative touches for cabinets, cornice assemblies, and window and mirror frames.

Why Add Crown Molding?

Expressing Your Personal Style

Crown molding can be used to make a dramatic and elegant statement.

  • It completely eliminates any boxy look by softening the hard visual edges of your space, making it a good option for small or large rooms.
  • A wide variety of designs are available to complement any decorating style.
    • You may choose a more classic Victorian look for a large room and a more streamlined modern look for a small one.
    • Traditional homes can handle large, ornate and detailed molding.
    • Craftsman-style homes and modern properties often look best with clean, classic lines.

With the advent of modern construction methods, it has become easier than ever to find pre-made designs to express your personality. Of course, hand-milled crown molding is still an option, but it’s often cost-prohibitive for the average homeowner.

Adding Value to Your Home

Crown molding is a relatively inexpensive way to increase the value of your home. Realtors report that homebuyers are often looking for such finishing touches when making their decision to purchase. Improving your home’s visual aesthetic with crown molding will create a good first impression and likely increase potential buyers’ perceived value of your home. Because crown molding gives a room instant appeal and elegant sophistication, it increases the likelihood of a better purchase offer.

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Creative Ways to Use Crown Molding

If you have rooms with low ceilings, Federal style or Early American style moldings will help make your room look larger. If your ceilings are high or vaulted, on the other hand, Colonial Revival molding can add a crisp, clean look while drawing the eye upward to highlight the beauty of your ceiling. Wood stained moldings offer a warm and cozy feel, while Georgian style moldings lend your room a historical air. If you choose paintable molding, trimming your room with a color that contrasts with your wall paint will add a fresh, eye-popping look.

Lighting, Cabling and Accents

Crown moldings can do much more than accent the joints between a wall and ceiling.

  • Lighted crown molding can add soft, ambient light to any room and make your space warm and inviting.
  • Hollow PVC crown molding can serve as a neat and unobtrusive way to hide cables and audio and communication wires in your home theater.
  • Flexible polyurethane moldings can be installed around corners, arched doorways and anywhere else you’d like molding to go.
  • Tin or aluminum crown molding can be used to accent a ceiling of stamped metal panels; it works well in kitchens for that reason.
  • Reclaimed timber crown molding adds an element of beauty while making use of natural resources.

Cabinetry and Window Treatments

Crown molding can also be used to trim doors and windows, creating classic elegance at all focal points of your room. Used as cabinet toppers and cornices, crown molding gives a tired and boring cabinet spaces a facelift  in kitchens, bathrooms and living areas. With the wide variety of options available, your use of crown molding is limited only by your own imagination and creativity.

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DIY or Professional Installation?

The choice of whether to hire a professional or tackle the job on your own is largely dependent upon your skill level and financial considerations. Because your crown molding will sit at an angle on the wall or ceiling, each joint is made of compound angles. Getting those angles right requires patience, a certain aptitude for spatial relationships, and the correct tools. Additionally, installing crown moldings made of heavier woods may require at least two people to do the job well.

If you lack experience and woodworking skills, you may prefer to hire a contractor. While this option increases costs and thereby decreases your return on investment, it will save time and help to ensure your crown moldings look the way you want them to. Additionally, considering the cost of extra materials needed in the event that you make DIY installation mistakes, hiring a contractor may actually save you money in the end.

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In Conclusion

Whether you choose to do the project yourself or hire a professional, installing crown molding can add beauty and value to your home. With a vast array of design, size and material options, you can achieve the level of personalization you want for every room. Crown molding is an excellent home improvement project because it creates a classic, elegant accent wherever you decide to install it. And it provides real aesthetic value to your home for many years to come.

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