Stacked Crown Moulding – Pretend You’re Rich Even if you Aren’t

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A simple 2″ crown moulding finishes the look of any room. But, the moulding can be butted out and made to look much beefier, (even “schmancy” if you will), by building it out with furring strips (or some prefer other pieces of simple moulding). Start with a piece of 1×4 and rip it lengthwise to get two rails of 1×2. Choose a router bit (this picture shows a 3/8″ round over with a 1/8″, straight edge detail) and router one edge along each length. 

Dry fit the piece of crown against the furring strips, making sure the 45’s on the backside of the crown are seated flat to the face of the furring strips. I like to leave a nice, ½” reveal between the edge of the crown and the router detail. It’s up to you, just be sure to measure and note where to place the furring strips on the ceiling and wall so the piece of crown cradles right where you want it and leaves the desired reveal. NOTE: The furring strips do not necessarily have to fit tightly together at the wall/ceiling joint, because the piece of moulding will cover any gap. They do however, need to be wide enough to accommodate the width of the moulding and take the nails.

Make light pencil marks where you want the strips to lay against the wall and ceiling and snap a chalk line. A laser level works well too. I love my Stanley laser level, but unfortunately could not locate it for this project. I did find a $10 bill though. Guess it’s time to organize the shop. Anyway…use this line as your guide, rather than attempting to butt the ceiling strip directly to the surface. Older homes especially have irregularities or waves along either the ceiling and/or wall (character), so the line gives a more accurate and level guide for placing the furring strips. For really, uneven surfaces, grab the painter’s best friend (a caulk tube) and fill and caulk any small gaps after the stacked crown is installed.

Run a bead of glue or Liquid Nails along the backsides of the strips and nail them into place. Try to hit the studs and joists, typically 16″ on center. Now place the crown. If you’ve measured correctly, it should sit nicely leaving a ½” reveal between its outer edges and the router detail. Nail through the top and bottom edge of the moulding and into the furring strips. Paint or stain everything to match, and you’re good to go.

Want to get even fancier for little, additional cost? Choose a piece of decorative trim or chair rail and drop it a few inches below the stacked crown. Snap a chalk line, (or use a laser level), as before to make sure it’s level. It helps to pre-paint the trim the same color as the crown moulding since it’s so narrow. Put a few beads of glue on the backside and nail the trim into the wall. Next, paint the empty wall space between the trim piece and the stacked crown. The overall effect is a huge, heavy crown moulding without using nearly as much material.

Stacked crown moulding is a classic, historic look found in most, older homes. It’s also a brilliant way to hide imperfections and cracks along the joints between ceilings and walls. The stacked crown moulding also works well in newer homes, especially those “McMansions” that typically have very, high ceilings and expansive rooms (not that any HomeFixated readers live in McMansions). The heavy moulding frames the room out nicely and balances voids above the windows.

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About Liz

Liz is a professional, custom picture framer based in Central New York. She and her contractor husband are currently renovating their second home together. At the time of this writing, they are not on speaking terms. Her love of making stuff with wood and DIY home projects began by watching her Dad. (It was also around this time Liz's incessant use of "colorful language" took root.) She's an avid gardener, stellar cook and doesn't throw like a girl: an all-around rad chick.

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3 thoughts on “Stacked Crown Moulding – Pretend You’re Rich Even if you Aren’t”

  1. Many different materials can be used to stack Crown Molding. Ive used Colonial baseboard many times over the yrs.

    One suggestion to the technique mentioned above with the 1×4’s is I would route both sides before ripping the material.

    For the novice installing Crown Molding I would suggest using a tool called the Miter Master Plus. It will aid in any novice DIYer from the frustration that seems to go along with cutting crown.

  2. Bigger isn’t always better and it should be important to point out scale must be relative to the size of the room and the scale of other moulding. Here’s an article about chair rail proportions but gives an idea of how all moulding scale should be considered.

  3. In my house, the previous owner gave the illusion of stacked molding by leaving a gap – similar to the second picture, but only an inch or so of bare wall. It’s painted the same color as the other two pieces of molding, but looks like it’s stacked. Very ingenious.


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