Does Crown Molding Work with Vaulted Ceilings?

Written by Milan Jara on 14th Oct 2022

Crown Molding with Vaulted Ceilings

Unsure whether to add crown molding with vaulted ceilings? Even experts are divided on the subject. Here’s how to make an informed decision.

Installing crown molding on cathedral or vaulted ceilings appears to be a daunting task. However, it may be easier to accomplish than many people realize. If you have the right tools, you can even do it yourself. However, should you use crown molding with vaulted ceilings to begin with?

Does Crown Molding with Vaulted Ceilings Work, Aesthetically?

Crown Molding with Vaulted Ceilings

Vaulted ceilings are impressive, making any room look open, taller, and inviting. Crown molding makes rooms appear even higher or larger. It offers a visual “trick” to guests and homeowners alike.

While this isn’t a problem if you already have vaulted ceilings, some homeowners either want to finish off the look or hide imperfections – which is another reason to install crown molding.

Should you do it? Well, that decision is up to you. Installing crown molding on a vaulted ceiling may be a matter of choice. Crown molding can make your room look more elegant, which vaulted ceilings accomplish anyway. They finish a room nicely. If these ideas appeal to you, then you can install them.

However, while they may look good and add additional height, you must consider some hard truths when installing them. It may be down to whether you want to do it yourself or hire a professional, but even some professionals are divided regarding this area.

The Debate

Professionals About Vaulted Ceilings

Some professionals feel that since a vaulted ceiling is already high, there is no need to increase the height. It just makes the area appear even larger than it already is. To them, it seems pointless. Some have even referred to it as a “dumb choice”!

Part of this attitude may stem from the difficulty of installing crown molding on a cathedral ceiling. While flat rooms are easier to install crown molding on since the cuts are at 90° angles, vaulted ceilings require more measurements, angles, math, and work. Some people cannot successfully handle this challenge.

The Challenges

When crown molding changes from horizontal to the slants of a vaulted ceiling, the faces intersecting at a corner may not perfectly match. However, some experts conclude that you can do it using two different-sized moldings. Yet, there are flaws to this suggestion, as well.

Using a larger version horizontally allows you to maintain the same look. However, when it comes to installing the smaller version along the vaulted ceiling, many people experience challenges. Often, the same profile may not be available in a different size, and the look isn’t quite right for some.

One helpful hint is cutting transitional pieces that permit you to create a vertical turn for a vaulted ceiling corner. You can then use the same type of decorative molding.

Crown molding was created to be used with a horizontal flat ceiling. When you use it for a cathedral ceiling, they need to be modified to fit the slope, which requires tipping a bit from the backside of your crown molding and building a simple fixture that clamps to the table saw fence. This technique will allow you to rip the molding safely and quickly.

Since it is created from a modified decorative molding, you may need to rip extra.

The Beauty

Some will encourage a homeowner to take this step. It is a matter of personal choice. If you want to hide imperfections, elevate the look of the area, or create extra height, installing crown molding can make the room more luxurious.

Can You Install Crown Molding on a Vaulted Ceiling?

While it is more difficult to install due to the ceiling height compared to traditional ceilings, it is not impossible to accomplish. You will need to rent equipment and conduct some mathematical calculations to do this yourself. Also, while it usually may take a day to add molding to most ceilings using 90° angles, installing on a sloped ceiling may add two hours to the job.

How Can This Be Accomplished?

You will need to visualize your transition piece as a brief continuation of the horizontal run. It will turn a corner using a 45° miter angle like regular crown molding. Doing an additional miter cut will make your angle transition to the ceiling.

To obtain the correct angle, you need to read your ceiling angle minus 90° for the transition’s other side and subtract it from 180°. Then, divide that number in half. If you are confused, there is also a more straightforward method.

Place a 1x6 board with a narrow edge on your ceiling. Trace a line on the opposite side of the board and draw an intersecting line from the inside corner angle. Use a protractor with the intersection of your lines to provide the precise angle of your outside corner. Halve the angle using the miter angle.

Reasons Not to Use Crown Molding

In the wrong style of house, crown molding can look dated. It is not for every type of home and is frequently overused. Homes that want a more modern look are not always best suited for crown molding as the style may not match. For some, this includes vaulted ceilings, which are available in more modern homes. Yet, some traditional homes contain vaulted ceilings as well.

Should you use crown molding with a vaulted ceiling? If the space doesn’t contain decorative elements or is too modern, you may not want to add this feature. It can look quite outdated or out of place in the room. However, if you have a more traditional house or style in the room, you can certainly try to use this feature. Just be sure that it looks good and that you do it properly.

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