This Three Piece Crown Molding is absolutely the most beautiful crown molding I’ve installed so far! I LOVE this look. Here’s the DIY steps!
DIY Three Piece Crown Molding
Originally, this room already had a 4 1/4″ crown molding installed. BUT, this large room, with it’s 10-foot high walls, needed something bigger!
After a few months of going back and forth on a few crown and even ceiling design options, I finally decided on what I wanted to do to accent the 10′ high ceilings in this room.
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I realized that a 3-piece crown molding would be the PERFECT way to top off the home office built ins and all of the gorgeous trim and molding in this room.
OK, let’s get to those install steps!
Table of contents
- DIY Three Piece Crown Molding
- Materials Needed for 3-Piece Stacked Crown Molding
- How Do You Make a 3-Piece Crown Molding
- Does Crown Molding Add Value?
- Does Crown Molding Make Ceilings Look Higher?
Materials Needed for 3-Piece Stacked Crown Molding
- 5 1/4″ Baseboard (or similar size)
- 4 1/4″ Crown Molding (or similar size)
- Brad Nailer and 1 1/4″ Brad Nails (or longer)
- Miter Saw
- Paintable Caulk – I like DAP Alex Plus
- Spackle – I like DAP DryDex Spackle
How Do You Make a 3-Piece Crown Molding
DIY Note: These install instructions assume that you have relatively smooth, square, and level walls and ceilings.
If you have an older, settled home or plaster walls, you might need to do extra work to get the best look with any type of trim and molding install.
Use a Scarf Joint, When Needed
AND, DON’T FORGET to use a “scarf joint” whenever 2 boards will be butted up against each other on one wall. A scarf joint uses a 45-degree angle cut to overlap the 2 pieces of trim.
Scarf joints are used because they look better and the caulk you use in that line will look better overtime than caulk used in between to 90-degree cuts.
Step One – Install Baseboard On Ceiling
With this stacked crown molding, you start by installing the baseboard on the ceiling. You can install the back edge of that baseboard right up against the wall.
I used 1 1/4″ brad nails to install all 3 pieces of this crown molding look. I recommend slightly angling your Brad Nailer so that the nails go in at a slight angle.
That angle will help support the weight of the baseboard, so that it doesn’t droop off the ceiling under it’s own weight.
Be sure to use Brad nails every 12″ or so, at the back and towards the middle of the baseboard. You can see what I mean in the picture below.
Optional: You can use construction adhesive to attach the baseboard to the ceiling, if necessary.
Step Two – Install Baseboard On Wall With 1/2″ Gap
After installing the ceiling baseboard across the whole room, you can install the baseboard on the walls. Leave a 1/2″ gap between the ceiling baseboard and the wall baseboard.
A little scrap 1/2″ plywood is a great spacer for this job.
Again, you’ll use 1 1/4″ brad nails at a slight angle, with the same nail placement and spacing as with the ceiling.
Step Three – Install Crown Molding
Once all of the wall baseboard has been installed, it’s time to install the crown molding. Install the crown for this three piece crown molding look just like any other crown molding install.
If you need basic crown molding cutting and installation tips, check out this post from Home Depot.
Be sure to use Brad Nails about every 12″ along the top and bottom edges of the crown molding. Again, a slight angle on those brad nails will help to keep that crown held tightly against that baseboard.
That angle also helps to reduce the big caulk cracks that can form during the winter, when the cold weather causes the trim to contract.
Step Four – Use Spackle and Caulk Everywhere
Once you’ve finished installing all 3-pieces of this crown molding look, it’s time to finish it off with spackle and caulk.
I start by filling all of the holes and any damaged spots with spackle. Let that dry fully, then sand it smooth with 150-grit sandpaper.
After you’ve finished with spackle, dust off the molding, then apply caulk to all cracks. You’ll need caulk where any 2-pieces of trim meet each other AND where the trim meets the wall.
Be sure to wipe off excess caulk as you go, it needs to be smooth and perfect before it starts to dry.
If you need it, you can see a walkthrough of how to use spackle and caulk in a previous post. There’s a video guide on that post too.
Step Five – Paint
After the caulk has dried, you’re ready to paint! I used Eggshell Sheen on the trim, walls, and ceiling in this room. You can see more examples of Eggshell Sheen on my ceilings in a previous post.
Eggshell Sheen is great for reflecting light in a room, but not so glossy that it accentuates every imperfection.
Short Install Video
If any of the steps above are confusing, watch this video. Seeing something done can sometimes help.
Does Crown Molding Add Value?
Crown Molding adds a custom look and beautiful detail to any room in a home. That extra detail absolutely adds value, in most cases.
But, if your trim and molding hasn’t been installed properly OR caulked and painted properly, that can have a negative effect on home value.
Bad trim work or trim work that needs repainting, caulking, and patching will be seen as just more work for a perspective buyer.
So, if possible, freshen up your trim and crown molding spackle and caulk and a fresh coat of paint before listing.
Does Crown Molding Make Ceilings Look Higher?
Crown molding helps to define the line between your walls and ceiling. If done right, that crown molding can make your ceilings look higher.
To make your ceilings look higher with crown molding, stick with white or light paint colors on the ceiling and walls. Then go for a nice Eggshell or Satin Sheen on the trim.
And, if your walls are 8′ high or shorter, stick with simple 1-piece crown molding or a stacked crown molding look that only goes about 5″ down the wall.
To make a ceiling look higher, I also like to use an Eggshell Sheen on ceilings. That light-reflecting sheen brightens the whole room and draws the eye up. I paint every ceiling in my home with eggshell now.
That’s it for everything you need to know about How To Install Three Piece Crown Molding. Check out this post about the Beautiful Two Piece Crown Molding for another crown molding tutorial.
See more of my Popular DIY Trim Molding Posts
- How To Cover Toe Kick With Baseboard – Easy DIY & Video
- 10 Best Ways To Make Cabinets Look Like Built In Furniture
- Easy DIY Coffered Ceiling – Simple, Low Profile Design – Steps & Video
- DIY Tongue and Groove Porch Ceiling: Cheap, Beautiful and Easy
- DIY Plywood Plank Ceiling – Faux Shiplap Install
- Make This Easy DIY Wood Picture Frame and Chair Rail Molding
- Beautiful Before and After 2 Story Foyer Remodel with Trim Molding
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That’s it for this DIY 3 Piece Crown Molding. Don’t forget to sign up for the Abbotts At Home email newsletter to get DIY, Remodeling, and Crafty ideas in your inbox.
Stephanie Abbott has been remodeling homes, updating & building furniture, and working on DIY home maintenance and cleaning tips for over 20 years. Her remodeling has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. And, her DIY YouTube channel has had more than 8 million views.
Most of the DIY tutorials and videos on this site focus on beginner to intermediate level DIY Projects that can be done in an affordable way without high-end, expensive tools. All of the cleaning tips on this website have been tested in her home.