One of the last big jobs for our bathroom remodel was putting in the crown moulding and baseboards, and while I have a little experience cutting and putting in baseboards, I had none with the type of crown moulding we picked for the bathroom. When we painted our addition a while back, we put in baseboards (similar to what we put in the bathroom) and moulding (just not the crown type), so I’d at least used a miter saw once before. At first, I just assumed cutting all moulding was the same. Silly me. I quickly realized there are different ways to cut different types of moulding so the joints fit (and luckily I didn’t cut everything at once, so I only wasted a couple of small pieces. In this post, I’ll cover the crown moulding first, then I’ll explain the baseboards.
The Crown Moulding (CM):
First, in case you’re not familiar with difference between moulding and CM, CM is the type that doesn’t sit flat against the wall. When it’s installed, it connects to the ceiling and wall at a 45 degree angle–so there’s actually open space behind the CM. This difference in how it is installed translates to a difference in how it’s cut on the miter saw. (Normally, with regular moulding and baseboards, the wood is held flat against the miter saw and cut at a 45 degree angle, but with the CM, the wood has to be set against the miter saw just as it will be installed in the room except upside down.)
Before starting to cut pieces of the CM, the best thing to do is create a few short test pieces. These pieces will be cut so that they can be held up against the ceiling and wall to mimic how the real CM will be installed. This might seem like a step to skip, but, trust me, it is not. Using these test pieces saved me from haphazardly cutting pieces that would turn out not to fit. On each of the test pieces, I labeled the edges (inside or outside joint). Also, I made sure to have enough pieces to mimic and inside or outside joint piece coming from the left and right directions.
After getting my test pieces ready, all I had to do was measure the pieces I would actually install, then match the test pieces up with the CM and cut. The other important trick to cutting CM is that when you put it against the fence and table of the miter saw (fence is the vertical backing, table is the horizontal base), you have the CM upside down. So imagine the fence is the wall and the table is the ceiling (I even labeled mine the fence ‘wall’ and the table ‘ceiling’ just to remind myself). Now when the pieces are cut, the joints will match up seamlessly (or mostly seamlessly in my case).
Installing the cut pieces of CM is sometimes a two person job: one person holds up the sometimes long pieces of CM while the other person uses a nail gun to nail the pieces up. (I’m sure CM can be nailed up with just a hammer and nails, but if you’ve got access to a nail gun, the process will go much faster and the CM won’t be damaged by flailing hammer hits.)
After all the CM was up, we filled in any gaps (and since my measuring skills leave something to be desired, we sometimes have gaps) with wood filler, let it dry, then covered it with some paint touch-ups. Pow. Crown moulding demystified.
In full disclosure, I watched several videos about cutting CM before I was confident I really understood what I was doing. This helped a good bit.
Cutting the baseboards (especially after cutting CM) is fairly simple. I didn’t even use test pieces for the baseboards, although if you haven’t cut baseboards before, the test pieces will probably help. Basically, I set the baseboard pieces against the fence (see above if you’ve already forgotten (I’m sure you haven’t forgotten though)) and cut at a 45 degree angle to make the inside or outside joints. My miter saw doesn’t bevel–it only swivels left and right to make angled cuts, so that’s why I set the pieces against the fence instead of the table. When cutting the baseboards (and CM, for that matter), measuring the pieces is the most important part. My new adopted rule of thumb: measure everything twice (or even three times).
Installing the baseboards is the same as the CM. One person holds the baseboards against the wall, the other person nails the pieces to the wall. Easy.
We filled any gaps in the baseboard joints with wood filler and then touched up with paint. Just in case you’re interested, the paint we used for the CM and baseboards was Homestead Resort Jefferson White 7006-1. We used this paint for all the trim around the window, door, and shelves as well.
Things to keep in mind:
1. Make test pieces to be sure the joints are cut correctly.
2. Always set the CM upside down on the miter saw when you cut it.
3. Measure everything twice (or if you’re especially bad at measuring, like me, just go ahead and measure it three times).
Installing the CM and baseboards makes a huge difference in how the room looks, so whether the room lacked them before or just during the remodeling, the end result can still be pretty impressive.
If you want to see the bathroom remodel from the beginning, check out demo, cement board installation, hanging and painting beadboard, tiling the shower, and tiling the floor. You might also want to take a look at my How-To’s: cement board, tiling and grouting, and sink/faucet installation.