Crown Molding and Uneven Ceilings: How to Get Great Results

So, you want to install crown molding in your living room or some other area of your house. However, when you were measuring pieces of the crown molding and drawing lines prepping to cut it, you noticed that your ceilings are slightly uneven. So, do you have to abandon the idea of installing crown molding until you can sand your ceilings and make them even?

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do, and you don’t have to stop and sand your ceilings to do it. Instead, you can hide the gap using caulk, make a ceiling relief cut into a piece of your crown molding, or feather the ceiling where the gap is.

crown molding uneven ceiling

One of the easiest ways to fix this problem is to caulk it. However, if the gap is too big, this will look tacky, making the gap even more apparent. The better approaches are to cut a relief into the crown molding or feather the ceiling, the latter of which is the simplest of these two methods.

Adding Caulk Between Crown Molding and an Uneven Ceiling

When it comes to installing crown molding, using caulk to fix flaws is probably most people’s remedy. It’s quick, it dries fast, and it typically hides the imperfections quite well. When you install the crown molding and the gap between the ceiling and the crown molding is not very noticeable, you can squeeze some caulk into the gap and wipe away the excess.

This will give you a seamless look in no time. The type of caulk you will use will depend on where you install the crown molding. For example, if you install crown molding in the bathroom, the room is likely to be full of moisture regularly due to the heat from showers or baths. In this case, it is best to use silicone caulk to try to hide the gap between the ceiling and the crown molding.

After you have nailed the crown molding to the ceiling, you may notice a gap between the ceiling and the crown molding. You can minimize the appearance of the gap by simply squeezing in some silicone caulk between the molding and the ceiling. Unfortunately, it may leave some excess caulk once you apply it. However, you can remedy this by taking a damp cloth and wiping away the excess (use mineral spirits with silicone caulk).

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This effortless technique will even out the design and make it seamless. No one will be able to tell that you used caulk to hide the gaps. Also, since you are using silicone, the humidity in the bathroom, which is inevitable, won’t cause the caulk to expand and contract.

If you are installing crown molding in another area of the house, such as the living room, it will be a good idea to use latex caulk. This type of caulk is excellent for porous materials, and since it’s primarily used for decorative purposes, it comes in various colors and is even paintable.

Once you squeeze the latex caulk between the molding and the living room ceiling, you can wipe away the excess with a damp cloth. It should also leave a seamless finish. However, if it doesn’t, the latex caulk is paintable, you can attempt to hide the gap even more by painting the area where the caulk, ceiling, and crown molding meet to mask the flaw.

Carving Your Crown Molding to Fit the Uneven Ceiling

In some cases, using caulk simply isn’t going to work. This could be because the gap is too big, and putting caulk between the ceiling and the crown molding makes it even more apparent. In this case, you can cut a relief into your crown molding. A relief cut is when you cut a curve into a piece of wood.

With crown molding and an uneven ceiling, you may determine that it is best to leave the ceiling intact and make changes to the crown molding. When you place the crown molding up against a very uneven ceiling, you will be able to see the gap.

Once you nail it in place, you will still see a noticeable gap. So, instead of nailing the molding into place and trying to caulk it, the relief cut will form a shape around the curve or slant in the ceiling. This cut should be done when there is a large area of space that is uneven. Otherwise, using caulk will be a better choice.

The best way to approach this is to have backup pieces of crown molding in case the molding is damaged or cut inappropriately. This method will involve much precision in scribing the shape of the line onto the crown molding and cutting it.

Once you have scribed the slant or curve onto the molding, you will need to make the cut next. You can make the cut with a table saw, jigsaw, or coping saw. Whatever saw you use, you will need to make sure that the cut is smooth as possible. You can sand it if necessary.

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You can make a relief cut in the crown molding with a coping saw.

After making the cut, you will need to position the molding against the ceiling. If it fits snuggly, this is perfect, and you can proceed with nailing and gluing the molding into place. Otherwise, you will need to cut and sand the molding until the molding and the ceiling fit together like a hand in a glove.

Once you achieve the perfect cut and secure the molding in place, you can place some caulk between the ceiling and crown molding to close small gaps. This fix may reveal a slight difference in the crown molding shape where the uneven ceiling is. However, it won’t be nearly as apparent as it would be if you left the gap there. Nor will it be as obvious if you hide the flaw only using caulk.

Feathering Your Ceiling to Give The Illusion of Evenness

Cutting a relief in your crown molding to hide a gap or unevenness with your ceiling is a great way to resolve this issue without having to do something significant to your ceiling. However, an even easier way to solve this issue is to feather your ceiling. Keep in mind that this method works best if you don’t have textured ceilings. If you use this method with textured ceilings, you will have to redo the textured ceilings upon completion.

With this method, when you notice the gap between the crown molding and the ceiling, instead of drawing on the crown molding to prepare it for a cut, you install it as is. You would go about installing the crown molding just as you would if your ceilings aren’t uneven.

Once you finish installing the molding, you will see a big gap, typically half an inch or more at one point between the ceiling and the molding while the rest lies flat. It would not be a good idea to squeeze caulk in a gap this big.

Nor would it be a good idea to try to hoist up the molding to fit the ceiling’s slant or curve. This will make the crown molding’s base appear to be uneven. So, the better option would be to use a feathering technique.

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To make this fix, you start by putting tape along the top of the crown molding. You can use masking tape or Frog tape. Start the tape from the part where the crown molding lies flat all the way across the gap onward to the other side where the molding lies flat again.

Once you have protected the crown molding with the tape, you will need to prepare a plaster or drywall mud mixture. You will need to work fast because this material dries quickly. When the mix is ready, place this mix on a drywall tray or “mud pan”.

You will use a trowel or a drywall blade to start the feathering process. It’s a good idea to start in the middle, or where the widest part of the gap is, and use the drywall blade to start layering on the mud.

Start where the tape is on top of the crown molding and pull the mud outward toward you. You will keep doing this, going left until you reach the end of the tape and then right until you get to the other end of the tape. As you add layers, you also want to make sure that you are using the trowel or the knife to even out the drywall mud.

Once you have placed the mud along the ceiling, take the knife and smooth out the mud as best as possible. You will also want to feather it out further onto the ceiling so that it won’t look like a big lump of drywall has been stuffed into a small portion of the ceiling. Then, when you are through with this process and smoothed it out as best as possible, you shouldn’t be able to tell that the ceiling is uneven.

Now you will need to wait for the mud to dry. It takes a few minutes. However, if you want to make sure that it is nice and solid, you can wait much longer. Once the mud is dry, you can remove the tape. The large gap that was there before should be gone.

If you need to sand it just a bit, this would be a good time to do so once the mud is fully dry. Also, if any small gaps are still showing, you can use latex caulk to fill them for an excellent, seamless fit.