24 Different Types of Crown Molding

Explore the different types of crown molding for your ceiling, walls, accent trim or corners and find which one suits your home style.
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Close up of a decorative crown molding.

The ancient Egyptians started crown molding to decorate their columns and building exteriors. They carved from stone while the ancient Greeks and Romans also carved from stone but with the addition of marble. Historians discovered, however, that the original decorations for molding were just done in paint. It was the Greeks that started carving their decorations.

The French raised the art of decorative molding in the 14th century with their signature style carved wood panelling. Before 1850, all molding was done by hand and piece by piece. It was tedious, expensive and naturally indicated one’s wealth and status. The development of large planing machines made it possible for affordable and more elaborate, sophisticated styles of crown molding.

Material

Composite

Composite crown molding

Source: Home Depot

There are many different types of composite crown molding available for sale, but if you are looking for a less expensive option then the generic “composite” is a great choice. This doesn’t mean that you will be sacrificing quality, as the composite crown molding that you buy will be created to withstand fluctuation in temperatures, humidity levels, and installation without warping or cracking.

While it is fairly obvious to the trained eye when composite is used over wood, you can easily paint composite crown molding. This means that you can update it to match the appearance and décor of your home without much trouble or without worrying about limits to the quality of the paint job you are trying to accomplish.

MDF

MDF crown molding

Source: Home Depot

Medium-density fiberboard is much less expensive than solid wood and is very stable so you won’t have to worry about it splintering or cracking when you are trying to cut it or to install it in your home. You can generally buy MDF in a number of different profiles so it is a great choice for a number of different homes and appearances, and some types of MDF crown molding can even be stained, making it a great option if you do not want to paint your crown molding.

Unfortunately, it has to be painted if it does not come with veneers already on it, and this will add time to your installation project. In addition, if you opt for ultralight varieties of MDF you have to be very careful when handling it as you can easily nick or otherwise damage this type of crown molding.

Metal

Metal crown molding

Source: Home Depot

While not a very common type of crown molding, metal is a great choice if you want a very unique look in your home and aren’t opposed to hiring a professional to complete the installation for you. Unfortunately, this is not a good material for the average homeowner to install, as you want to make sure that you do not damage the crown molding while you are installing it, as this can have a major effect on what your room looks like when it is finished.

This type of crown molding will give your room a very unique look that you are sure to love, but it can be prone to tarnishing. Because of this, you need to really consider your home, your climate, and the care that you are willing to give your metal crown molding before you buy it and have it installed.

Vinyl

Vinyl crown molding

Source: Home Depot

Whenever you are going to be installing crown molding and want to make sure that you have plenty of protection against moisture then this is the type of crown molding that you will want to choose. This means that you can use this in the bathroom without any worry about the crown molding being damaged, as the plastic polymers that are in this product won’t ever rot or warp, even if it is directly exposed to water.

The problem is that you won’t be able to get very intricate or ornate profiles with vinyl and the slick surface can make it very difficult to paint evenly, as the paint will have problems sticking to the crown molding itself. To make matters more difficult, you actually must paint vinyl crown molding or you will be able to see the plastic sheen. Luckily, this type of crown molding is relatively inexpensive to buy and to install.

Plastic

Plastic crown molding

Source: Home Depot

Some people opt for plastic crown molding because they won’t ever have to worry about it mildewing or rotting, but it is very brittle and can be difficult to install if you are not sure what you are doing. During installation you have to pre-drill all of the holes that you are going to be using because trying to nail a finishing nail through the plastic can cause it to splinter.

Additionally, if your room is at all imperfect then you will want to choose a different material for your crown molding, as trying to force the plastic to bend at all will snap it in half. The slick surface is incredibly difficult to paint and can leave drips and drag marks behind.

If you are going to use plastic molding then make sure that you allow it to off-gas as necessary before bringing it into your home so that you don’t have to worry about chemicals in your house. For this reason, it’s much more common to use plastic crown molding as a focal point or inside block rather than along the entire wall.

Wood

Wood crown molding

Source: Home Depot

Solid wood crown molding is very traditional and difficult to imitate, although there are some materials that do a great job. It holds crisp edges very well, which can allow you to create incredibly ornate looks on your wall with very little hassle. In addition, if you want the bare wood look you can easily stain certain types of solid wood crown molding for a natural and interesting look in your home.

Anytime you allow the patterns of the wood to show through you will enjoy a lot of variety and draw interest to your crown molding. While you can buy wood crown molding in many different stock profiles, if you want something a little more unique for your home then you can easily create a custom look by embossing various wood composites to your solid wood crown molding.

Unfortunately, for all of the benefits of solid wood, there are a few drawbacks. It can be very difficult to cut this type of crown molding correctly and installing it can be difficult, as well. In addition, if you have major weather fluctuations throughout the year then this may not be the best choice of crown molding for you as it tends to shrink and to swell.

Polyurethane

Polyurethane crown molding


Source: Home Depot

Polyurethane is a great all-around crown molding that can be installed in most locations in the home and will be free of any problems. It costs less to buy than wood but does have a number of additional pros as well, including that it is much more stable and repellent to both insects and rot.

It is a great imitation of wood and can easily be installed with nails and then painted in the same way that wood is. You can get polyurethane crown molding in a number of interesting designs, if you so desire, which will let you add a lot of visual interest to this part of your home.

While it is easy to cut and to install, it is a lot softer than wood is and many people struggle with installing it without denting it. Also, you can only paint it, never stain it, so if you want the natural wood look then this is not a good option for you to use.

Polystyrene

Polystyrene crown molding

Source: Home Depot

This type of crown molding is perfect if you are looking to quickly update your room but don’t have a large budget or a lot of time to work on your project. This material is very light and foamy and can easily be cut with a sharp knife or scissors and then installed with construction adhesive instead of using nails and there’s no need to finish the crown molding.

Unfortunately, the ease with which you can install it means that you won’t always have the sharp and well-finished edges that you want from your crown molding, and this means that anyone who gets really close to the final project will be able to tell that the texture isn’t quite right and will be able to easily see any mistakes that you made during installation.

Plaster

Plaster crown molding

Source: Houzz

Plaster is a great choice for crown molding if you have a larger budget and are able to afford its increased price. You can easily cut it into incredibly elaborate profiles that will cast shadows and build interest in your home and won’t ever have to worry about the plaster warping or shrinking.

This means that no matter where you live and what the weather is like in your area, you can opt for plaster without worrying about its appearance in the future. Unfortunately, you can’t just buy plaster crown molding at your local store – it has to be made directly for your order and this is what causes it to be so much more expensive than other options.

In addition, it is very heavy and can easily crack, which means that most homeowners aren’t able to install it by themselves. Because installation requires an additional layer of plaster on the back of the crown molding, you will want to hire an expert to install it for you, which will increase your total cost.

Features

Flexible

Flexible crown molding

Source: Houzz

This type of crown molding is going to be perfect to use around window bays or on curved walls and can easily be bent without having to put relief cuts into the product. This is both a time-saver and will save you a lot of money as most people do not know how to correctly do relief cuts and will end up wasting a lot of crown molding while they attempt to get it right. This type of crown molding is generally more expensive than traditional crown molding because of the material it is made of, but for many people the extra cost is worth being able to complete the job on their own.

Decorative

Decorative crown molding


Source: Houzz

If you want to improve the appearance of your room and add some drama with your crown molding then you will want to find decorative molding. Of course, this is going to be much more expensive than molding that is more plain in design and appearance, but decorative molding will draw the eye and can look amazing in the right room. You will want to make sure that it matches the décor of the rest of your room or your decorative molding can look out of place and over the top.

Recycled

Recycled crown molding

Source: Home Depot

For people who are concerned about the environment, opting for recycled crown molding is a great way to get the look that you want in your home without negatively affecting the environment as much. When you are looking for recycled crown molding you can either use reclaimed wood that has been removed from another person’s house or opt for material that is made out of recycled parts. This is much more common and a great way to keep items out of the landfill

Pre-Prime

Pre-prime crown molding

Source: Houzz

You can speed up the process of finishing your room when you choose crown molding that has been pre-primed, as this will allow you to skip the step of applying primer and apply your paint right away. While this may not be a great choice for everyone, especially if you are going to paint your crown molding a darker color and want to use a darker primer to make the painting process a little easier, if you want a neutral color or white for your crown molding then this is a great time-saver.

Handmade

Handmade crown molding

Source: Etsy

While you can expect to pay a lot more for handmade crown molding, you will likely love the way that it looks and the fact that it will be completely unique from anything else that other people have. When you opt for handmade crown molding you will be able to come up with the perfect design for your home that will match your décor and help to improve the appearance of your room. Because this is so costly, it is generally something that is only done when you are finishing a smaller room or are completely unable to find the right style crown molding for your room.

Wire Management

Wire management crown molding

Source: Home Depot

While this type of crown molding is a little more difficult to find in a store, if you want to hide the wires from your entertainment system or sound system then opting for crown molding that has space behind it for wires is a great choice. You will be able to run wires all the way around your room without them being an obvious eyesore and be able to keep them off of the floor so that they are not a trip hazard.

This type of crown molding has a huge open space behind it that is not visible to anyone looking up at the crown molding from the floor, but since there is so much space behind it you can easily run a number of wires. Instead of trying to cram a thin wire behind traditional crown molding, when you opt for this variety you can pull through a number of wires without worrying about them being caught or bent.

Types

One Piece Crown


One-piece crown molding

Source: Home Depot

This is the most basic crown molding type that you can buy and comes as just a single piece that you can install all at once. Traditionally made of MDF, you can use this when you are in a hurry and want to install your crown molding so that you can complete the look in your home quickly and without delay. Another common use of one piece crown molding is as accents in your tray ceiling, as it will be able to add interest and depth to the ceiling without being too difficult to install.

Two Piece Crown

Recycled crown molding

Source: Wayfair

When you want a slightly more intricate look to your crown molding then you can opt for two piece crown. This consists of one piece of molding that is upside down with a crown that is place on top of it. You can vary the types of crown molding that you use to create a unique look in any room in your home.

Two Piece Traditional Crown

Plaster crown molding

Source: Wayfair

To make a more traditional look in your home you will want to use two pieces like you do in two piece crown molding but leave a space between them that you will then be able to paint. This is a more traditional look and will make the room that you use it in much more stately.

Three Piece Crown

Polyurethane crown molding

Source: Wayfair

For luxury homes when you want a very elegant look and aren’t worried so much about the cost, you can use multiple pieces of crown molding for a unique look that is commanding and very visually interesting. It’s not unheard of for people to use up to five pieces of crown molding to achieve the look that they want. Most homeowners need to hire a professional to install this type of crown molding so that they can be sure that they get the final look that they want, the lines are all straight, and there are no gaps left in the crown molding.

Craftsman Molding

MDF crown molding

Source: Wayfair

When you want crown molding around a door frame or to draw attention and interest to a particular spot in your room then you will want to opt for craftsman style molding. This can use multiple pieces of trim and crown molding around a window or door to create a unique look that draws attention and frames an area of the room. This is generally installed by an expert due to the amount of labor involved.

Use

Wall


Wall crown molding

Source: Wayfair

Typically crown molding is used along the top edge of the wall to help frame out the room and make the space appear much more visually interesting. When you are shopping for crown molding this is the type that you are generally going to find for sale, and you can choose many different materials and features because it is such a common item that you can buy.

Ceiling

Pre-prime crown molding

Source: Wayfair

When you want to install your crown molding on the ceiling either as an accent piece or to make the crown molding along the wall appear thicker and higher quality then you will want to look for molding that is designed specifically to go on the ceiling. It will be cut a little differently so that you don’t have to worry about it sitting flush during installation.

Corners

Corner crown molding

Source: Etsy

While you can easily use wall crown molding and cut it at an angle so that it will meet in the corner for a smooth transition from wall to wall, if you want to add more interest to the space and ensure that your corners are well defined then you will want to opt for a corner piece of crown molding.

These are made of a number of different materials and can be painted or stained so that they will fit with the rest of the crown molding in the room. They have the additional benefit of being useful for hiding mistakes in the corner as nobody will be able to see if your cuts were uneven or didn’t completely match the way that they were supposed to.

Accents

Crown molding with accents

Source: Wayfair

Accent pieces of crown molding are generally going to be more expensive than regular crown molding but can add so much interest to a room that if you want to improve the way your space looks then they may be the right choice for you. While you won’t necessary want to use accent pieces throughout your home as it will appear much too busy and will cost a lot of money, they are great for drawing attention to a specific area or feature in your home and can really improve the appearance of your décor when installed correctly and used judiciously.







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