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How to Install Molding on a Curved Surface

Installing molding on a curved surface adds an elegant finishing touch to a room. If you want to work with curved hardwood molding, it will require measuring, cutting, steaming and bending the wood. Some professionals resort to creating elaborate molds and pouring urethane into them for fully cast pieces. If you don't have the stomach for that long and difficult process, there's a faster solution. With careful measurement and cutting, flexible molding may be the answer for your curved surfaces.

Flexible molding is a quick solution for curves.
  1. Determine the type of flexible molding you need for the job. There are three kinds: inside radius for concave curves, outside radius for convex curves and arched radius for arched curves.

  2. Calculate the linear footage of flexible molding you'll need. Think of the curve as a half-circle. Measure its height at the center in inches, and add it to the width of the bottom, side to side, in inches. For example, if the height is 36 inches and the width is 90, the total is 126 inches. Divide by 12 to get the linear feet you'll need to buy.

  3. Use a miter saw to cut the flexible molding so that each end will fit the molding on either side of the curve where it meets the molding for the flat surface.

  4. Run a bead of construction adhesive in a tight "S" pattern on the back of the flexible molding. Press it gently in place and nail it in with a nail gun loaded with finishing nails, 1/4-inch from the top and bottom edges. Space the nails 4 to 6 inches apart, staggering them from top to bottom. Wipe away any excess glue with a damp rag.

  5. Fill the holes where nails are countersunk, using vinyl Spackle. Let the Spackle dry for an hour, and then sand lightly for an even surface. Now that the molding is installed to the curve, you can prime and paint it the color of your choice.

Warning

  • Flexible molding is a substitute for hardwood, not the real thing. It is merely a less labor-intensive way to get virtually the same effect.
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