How to Nail in Crown Molding

Crown molding can dress up even the drabbest of rooms. Crown molding comes in many sizes and finished cuts, so no matter the height of the ceiling or decorating motif, you can find a crown molding that adds value to the room. While cutting crown molding can be a tedious and frustrating task, nailing crown molding is a fairly simple process. With the right tools and instructions, many homeowners find they can install crown molding.

Hang a strip of lumber 2 inches wide and 1-inch thick around the perimeter of the room where the wall meets the ceiling. Use a pneumatic nailer with 2 1/2-inch finishing nails to attach the lumber to the wall. You do not need to complete this step if your crown molding is less than 3 1/2 inches wide.

Place the crown molding in position with the top and bottom edges flat against the wall and the ceiling.

Nail the crown molding through the center of the molding at an angle that allows the nail to penetrate the wall where the wall meets the ceiling. At that angle, the nail will penetrate a framing stud or the lumber hung in Step 1. Use a pneumatic nailer with 2 1/2-inch finishing nails. Place the first nail at least 1 inch from the end of the molding, or you might split the molding.

Nail the remainder of the molding in place, spacing the nails 8 inches to 1 foot apart, depending on what provides the most security. Use only enough nails to secure the molding. More nail holes require more touch-up work.

Fill the nail holes with wood putty. Allow the putty to dry completely.

Sand the putty with fine-grade sandpaper until the area is smooth. Wipe away sanding dust with a soft cloth.

Touch up the patched nail holes with the same paint or stain used to finish the molding before hanging.

Apply a thin caulk line to the top and bottom edge of the molding in order to hide any gaps.

Things You Will Need

  • Lumber, 2 inches wide, 1 inch thick (optional)
  • Pneumatic nailer
  • 2 1/2-inch finishing nails
  • Wood putty
  • Fine-grade sandpaper
  • Soft cloth
  • Paint or stain


  • Use a caulk gun to apply caulk. Smooth caulk with a wet finger for the best results.


  • Always wear safety glasses when operating power tools.

About the Author

Kaye Morris has over four years of technical writing experience as a curriculum design specialist and is a published fiction author. She has over 20 years of real estate development experience and received her Bachelor of Science in accounting from McNeese State University along with minors in programming and English.