Ashburn, VA

How Much Does Crown Molding Cost To Install?

$7 – $16 per linear foot

The average cost to install crown molding is $7 to $16 per linear foot depending on the materials chosen and labor costs. For an average living room, crown molding costs $464 to $1,102, while a kitchen costs between $210 to $570, and an entire home costs between $2,000 and $4,000 for both labor and installation. Get free estimates from carpenters near you.

Average Cost to Install Crown Molding

The average cost to install crown molding is $7 to $16 per linear foot depending on the materials chosen and labor costs. For an average 15’ x 14’ living room, crown molding costs $464 to $1,102, while a 10x10 kitchen costs between $210 to $570 for both labor and installation. To install crown molding in an entire home, you can expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000.

Crown Molding Cost
National Average Cost $1,173
Minimum Cost $210
Maximum Cost $4,000
Average Range $674 to $1,672

Pricing can vary dramatically depending on the materials you choose because of the varied experience required to work with each material. Most of the cost is labor, especially when installing wood crown molding, which requires precise angle cuts and is best done by a professional carpenter. In addition to carpentry costs, you’ll be charged for the wood molding, setup, ordering materials, painting, and cleanup.

Table Of Contents

  1. Crown Molding Installation Cost
  2. Crown Molding Sizes
  3. Types of Crown Molding
  4. Additional Costs and Considerations
  5. What Is Crown Molding?
  6. Crown Molding Ideas
  7. DIY or Professional Installation?
  8. Carpenters Near Me

Cost of Crown Molding Per Linear Foot

The average cost of crown molding that is 5” or less high is between $1 and $4 per linear foot. Solid wood molding typically costs $2 to $4 per linear foot, whereas foam, vinyl, PVC, or MDF usually costs between $1 and $2 per foot. Crown molding comes in several different materials, with some exotic woods reaching as high as $45 per linear foot.

Crown Molding Cost Per Foot
Material Cost Per Linear Foot
Wood $1 – $6
Exotic Wood $10 – $45
Plaster $6 – 12
MDF $1 – $3
Polyurethane $2 – $6
Vinyl or PVC $1 – $3
Foam or Polystyrene $1 – $2
Metal $20 – $25

To find the linear feet of the room you want to install crown molding in, add the width of the four walls together to find the total. For example, a 15’ x 14’ room has two walls of 15’ and two walls of 14’, so the total perimeter is 30’ + 28’ = 58 linear feet.

Wood Crown Molding In Upscale Kitchen

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Labor Cost To Install Crown Molding

Depending on the extent of the project and type of materials chosen, the labor cost to install crown molding is typically $6 per linear foot for one worker or up to $12 per linear foot for an expert carpenter.

It can take anywhere from 10 to 26 minutes to install each foot of crown molding, hence the high installation price. The time and experience required mostly depend on the materials in the crown molding. Some crown molding material needs a lot of additional work, such as hammering and torching metalwork vs. gluing polystyrene foam vs. mitering and sawing wood.

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Crown Molding Prices By Material

When looking at crown molding prices for each type, keep in mind that some types still need to be primed and/or painted too to achieve the finished look, thereby costing more.

Wood Crown Molding

The average price for wood crown molding is between $1 and $6 per linear foot for walnut, ash, and knotty pine, and from $10 to $45 per linear foot for white and red oak, mahogany, hickory, and quarter-sawn oak.

Exotic solid wood is the most expensive crown molding material you can use, but it’s worth the price because it won’t warp or crack, and any type of desired design can be carved into it—the softer the wood, the easier the carving job. It’s also available ready stained or painted, and you can stain all the wood in the home to match. Wood is a sustainable resource, although the more exotic woods might not be.

Cons

  • Solid wood molding pieces often aren’t primed.
  • Installation requires the work of an experienced carpenter because of the exact angle cuts needed and the weight of the individual strips.
  • Wood can shrink in cold weather and expand in hot weather.

Plaster Crown Molding

The average cost of plaster crown molding is between $6 and 12 per linear foot. Plaster can be cast into any design you can think of, and many homeowners opt for the Roman dental or English vine styles. Plaster doesn’t react to moisture by warping or shrinking, which make the long-term price more doable.

Plaster Crown Molding With Intricate Patterns on Trim

Cons

  • It’s heavier than the other crown molding options, so it requires some good support.
  • Plaster molding always has to be custom made, hence the extra expense.
  • It needs professional installation because it can crack during the install.

MDF Crown Molding

Medium-Density Fiberboard, or MDF crown molding, has an average price of $1 to $3 per linear foot. MDF Fiberboard is an economical alternative to wood. It’s light, making it an easy DIY job for one person, and it paints nicely too.

Cons

  • MDF tends to be soft and dents easily, which can make installation hard.
  • Formaldehyde in the resin and adhesives can off-gas for years.
  • It must be painted.
  • MDF warps in rooms with high humidity.

Polyurethane Crown Molding

The cost of polyurethane crown molding ranges from $2 to $6 per linear foot on average. This molding is made from very dense foam and is similar to wood but much lighter in weight. A cost-friendly choice, it doesn’t react to moisture and bugs aren’t interested in it. It comes pre-primed, ready for paint.

Crown Molding In Dining Room With Custom Trim Pattern

Cons

  • It can dent easily during installation.
  • It must be painted, and even then it might not hold the paint or finish properly.

Vinyl or PVC Crown Molding

The average price of vinyl or PVC crown molding ranges from $1 to $3 per linear foot. Vinyl is known for being strong, durable, and a reliable choice for molding. It’s easy to cut and installs without breaking or chipping. Vinyl can be used both indoors and outdoors, and it’s a good option if you want to put crown molding in a bathroom or kitchen because it doesn’t absorb moisture. It’s also great for hiding cables and rope lighting.

Cons

  • It’s brittle so it can crack during installation because of having to drill nail holes in it to install it.
  • It’s not flexible.
  • It doesn’t take paint well.
  • It doesn’t come in many style options or colors.

Polystyrene or Foam Crown Molding

Polystyrene foam is the least expensive crown molding at $1 to $2 per linear foot. Made from high-density Styrofoam and topped with a fiberglass and acrylic plaster, foam crown molding is easily installed with joint compound or construction adhesive, and a kitchen knife can cut through it. It’s also slightly flexible, making it a good choice if your wall is not exactly straight. It's also a cheap crown molding because it’s lighter and easier to install.

Cons

  • Foam molding dents easily.
  • It gives off toxic fumes when cut—off-gassing.
  • It will crack in homes with structural shifting issues.
  • It will need to be painted.

Aluminum, Copper, and Steel Molding

On the high end, metal crown molding such as aluminum, steel, or copper molding costs between $20 and $25 per linear foot. Metal molding is used mostly for outdoor applications, garages, or metal hoods in kitchens, metal molding can come with pre-formed inside and outside corner pieces, negating the need for miter cuts. It’s very durable.

Cons

  • Needs to be cut with a steel-cutting saw to create angled corners correctly.
  • Copper weathers to form a green patina if installed outdoors.
  • Steel can rust in areas of high humidity.
  • Aluminum can crack in extreme climates.

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Crown Molding Sizes

Before you choose the crown molding to go into your home, you need to know what size to get. Crown molding comes in sizes from 2” to 20” or more. Which one is going to look best in your home? It all depends on the height of your walls. The key is to work with the proper proportion to avoid making the room feel top heavy or closed in.

“The rule of thumb is the larger and taller the room, the wider the crown moulding.” — Home Depot, “Trim and Molding Buying Guide”

Crown Molding Size Chart

Crown Molding Size Chart
Ceiling Height Crown Size Casing Size Base Size
8–9 ft.   3 ¼ in. to 4 ¼ in 2 ¼ in. to 3 ¼ in. 3 ¼ in. to 4 ¼ in.
9–11 ft 4 ¼ in. to 5 ¼ in. 2 ¼ in. to 3 ¼ in. 4 ¼ in. to 5 ¼ in.
11–12 ft. 4 5/8 in. or more 3 ¼ in. or more 5 ¼ in. or more
12 ft. or more 7 in. or more 3 ¼ in. or more   7 ¼ in. or more

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Types of Crown Molding

Crown molding only refers to the molding installed where the top of a wall meets the ceiling. Each style has its own use, although molds can be mixed to create the style you desire.

Skinny Thin White Crown Molding In Dining Room

  • Crown – generally unites the wall and the ceiling. It’s so called because it is the builders “crowning” achievement.
  • Cove – a molding with a concave shape which can go nearly anywhere—at the ceiling/wall corner or the floor/wall corner. It’s still crown molding, but a plainer version.
  • Dentil – a crown molding style with small, identically shaped squares or rectangles evenly spaced along the molding. Dentils are mostly found in historic homes.
  • Batten – a flat trim piece designed to hide the join between two pieces of paneling or wall. Other flat pieces are often installed, along with the serviceable batten, to create a design element out of a functional piece.
  • Egg and Dart – crown molding that has a pattern of what looks like eggs separated by darts.
  • Bead and Pearl – rows of symmetrical shapes that look like beads or pearls on the crown molding.

Crown Molding Styles

According to Home Depot, the standard styles of crown molding are Traditional, Country, Victorian, Arts & Crafts, and Modern. It can be wise to choose the style that best fits the style of your home or remodel, so the new molding doesn’t look too out of place.

The different types molding trim profiles which are the shape as viewed from end-to-end is Casing, Baseboard and Base, Chair Rails, Crown, and Picture Rails.

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Additional Costs and Considerations

Door and Window Crown Molding

Trimming or re-trimming doors and windows will cost an extra $150–$200 per door or window.

Cost To Paint Crown Molding

For an average job of about 100 linear feet, the cost to paint crown molding is between $1 and $3 per linear foot depending on the materials used, job size, and size of molding. If you’re going to paint it, you’ll want to do some trial runs with a few different paints. It’s recommended that you use 1’ lengths, paint them, and then temporarily install them. This will allow you to live with the color for a bit before making a final decision.

Extra Molding

Make sure you purchase enough lengths to account for cutting angles, which will result in some waste. The more angles you need to cut, the more waste you’ll have. If you have a simple, rectangular room, waste will be minimal; but if you have several corners or you create a design element, in addition to doors and windows, the waste will certainly add up. Try to add 2” additional molding for each corner.

If you’re working with material that dents easily, such as MDF, you might want some extra just in case. Plan to purchase 10% more than you need.

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What Is Crown Molding?

Molding is the name of all types of trims inside the home. Crown molding refers specifically to trim that covers the 90° angles where the ceiling meets the wall. Originally crown molding was created to hide cracks and lousy workmanship. Then it became a preferred decorative feature to become the crown molding we have today. Crown molding is also used on the top of kitchen cabinets and has started to become a catch-all phrase for molding.

Is it molding or moulding? Actually, both are correct, with moulding being used more in the UK.

Why Add Crown Molding?

  • Express Your Personal Style - Crown molding comes in a plethora of styles, and you can even create your own style. You can add one crown molding to your ceiling or combine a few moldings to create one of a kind. Crown molding can also soften the stark lines of a dull room and complement the overall room decor style, whether it’s modern and sleek or Victorian and historical.
  • Improve Your Home's Appearance – “Ceiling moulding, or crown moulding, softens the transition from wall to ceiling to create a visually stunning effect.” — Home Depot

How Much Value Does Crown Molding Add To Your Home?

Unlike a full kitchen or bathroom remodel, installing crown molding usually results in a break-even return on investment. However, when done well, crown molding makes the ceiling seem higher and improves the overall feel and look of a room.

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Crown Molding Ideas

This is an area where all your creative ideas can shine, as long as you choose the correct crown molding for the style of each room. Do some research on the styles of your current home, find some images online, go to a showroom or a home and garden show. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Luxury Kitchen With Thick Expensive Crown Molding Accents & Trim

Wide Wood Crown Molding In Breakfast Area

New Crown Molding Installation In Living Room

Lighting, Cabling, and Accents

Crown molding is also useful in that it can hide cables and accentuate rope lighting.

  • Crown Molding Lighting – Molding can be used to hide rope lighting that runs along the top of your walls. The light is soft and highlights any crown molding above the piece that’s hiding it. It helps your room to look larger by visually raising the height of the walls.
  • Hide Cables – Crown molding is also used to hide wires and cables. You can get hollow crown molding and string all those unsightly wires through the molding until they get to their destination for about $35 for an 8’ piece (vinyl). This works for electrical, sound, and Wi-Fi cables, and the molding can be installed around doors and windows too. For this kind of project, you will need the services of an electrician.

Modern Kitchen Installed With Crown Molding Accents And Trim Around Doors

Cabinets, Walls, and Window Treatments

Use crown molding to draw attention to the best features of your room.

Crown Molding Accents In Kitchen With Trim Around Cabinets

  • Do you have a curved wall? Use polyurethane molding. It’s flexible, paintable, and easy to install, even on the curve.
  • You can recreate the tin ceiling found in many older businesses and homes in your own home. Crown molding in tin and aluminum can be painted to match, giving you a fantastic kitchen ceiling.
  • If you love the look of wood but don’t want to spend the money on solid wood crown molding, think about composites or salvaged materials. Both are an eco-friendly choice.
  • If you like the look of molding around your windows but are trying to stay on budget, consider adding a strip of molding to the top of the window and extend it a few inches on both sides.
  • Rather than using straight molding right up to each corner, use corner blocks that match or complement your crown molding.
  • Use crown molding to build a cornice for your window—build a wooden box roughly the size you desire and add crown molding to make it look custom built.
  • Build a crown molding shelf with a short length of wood and enough crown molding to cover the front and two sides. Add hangars to the back, and you’ve got what looks like an expensive shelf.
  • Add crown molding to the top of your kitchen cabinets and stain to match. This gives the look of custom cabinets.

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DIY or Professional Installation?

If you’re not at all the DIY type, we suggest you hire a professional woodworker to do this job, because the project has some precise requirements. To add value to your home, crown molding needs to be expertly and flawlessly installed.

This project uses a lot of math—not just addition and subtraction, but geometry too. Of particular difficulty are the corner angles–inside and outside corners. Many times, the inside angle is on one end of the board and the outside angle on the opposite end. Getting that reversed means your strip of crown molding will not work. It’s also challenging to precision-cut the angle at which the crown molding meets the ceiling and the angle where it meets the wall.

Tools Needed to Install Moulding

  • Miter saw
  • Coping saw
  • Nail gun
  • Caulking gun
  • Nails, measuring tape, level, and chalk line.

You’ll need certain materials besides the crown molding:

  • Finishing nails
  • Flexible caulk if you’ll need to make mid-length joins with wood molding
  • Paintable caulk
  • Paint
  • You’ll probably need a helper to hold up the strips while you begin attaching them to the ceiling or wall.

Unless you are very adventurous, confident in your ability to learn a new technique, and have a large budget, it might be better to hire a professional to do this project.

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Getting Started

The price of installing crown molding is low compared to the enjoyment you’ll receive and your return on investment, and no matter what your budget is, there is a crown molding material and style that will suit it.

Get free estimates on HomeGuide from trusted crown molding installers:

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[1] http://www.aconcordcarpenter.com/crown-molding-cost.html, http://houzdb.me/pict/

[2] Chart from Lowes.com https://www.lowes.com/projects/build-and-remodel/moulding-buying-guide/project

Author: Daniel W.
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