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How to Install Cove Molding

Sandra Ketcham

Cove molding is a concave-profile molding that is typically installed at the junction of a ceiling and an interior wall. Cove molding is an excellent way to add interest to a room and can be used to hide imperfections where walls meet a ceiling.

Although many people believe a professional must install molding, it is actually a very simple process that can be done by anyone with the proper tools.

  1. Measure each wall in the room in which you intend to install the cove molding to determine the length of pieces you will need. Write these measurements down. Whenever possible, a single piece of molding should be used for each wall. Add an additional 10 percent of the total length for waste to your measurements.

  2. Purchase the cove molding at any hardware store. Cove molding comes in a variety of wood, and can be purchased in vinyl and plastic forms, as well.

  3. Cut the molding pieces to meet your measurements. Be very careful not to cut the pieces too short. If you use a miter saw to trim the molding, you should use at least a 60-tooth blade to make the cuts.

  4. Locate and mark the wall studs with a pencil. You can then predrill your cove molding at every wall stud to prevent splitting the molding during installation.

  5. Apply any finish or paint to the cove molding before installing it to the walls. This will enable you to apply the finish faster, and will make it easier to correct any mistakes later.

  6. Hold the molding pieces in place and nail them to the walls. Use a nail set to drive the nails home in order to avoid denting the molding. It is probably easier if you have one or two people assist you during the installation process, as thin cove molding can be difficult to hold in place when cut into long pieces.

  7. Install molding on one wall at a time, working your way around the room. If any pieces are too long, they can be trimmed to fit.

  8. Touch up any unfinished edges, and then use wood putty to hide any visible nail holes.