How to Install Crown Molding on Frameless Cabinets

Written by Milan Jara on 14th Oct 2022

Frameless Cabinets

Wondering how to install crown molding on frameless cabinets? Here are three different options and tips on how to install molding on uneven cabinets.

Frameless cabinets provide an opportunity for homeowners to add their own personal touch. If you have already installed them, we cover how to install crown molding on frameless cabinets so that you can finish the look. The methods aren’t terribly challenging, and we provide you with different approaches to accomplish this task.

First Option

Install Frameless Cabinets

If your flat stock has a finished edge and face, you can use the horizontal edge attached to the top of the kitchen cabinet for trim detail. Its ¾” edge will allow you to project as little or as much as you wish. However, your vertical (fascia) will need to be slightly proud or flush with the face of your door.

You can attach your fascia to your horizontal piece by using pocket joints or adding ¾”x ¾” clear strips behind your fascia. Then, finish by screwing it into both pieces.

You can also attach a full 8’ fascia to a horizontal strip using a pocket screw and applying them every eight to ten inches. Allow for projection past the cabinets’ ends and the face while measuring how much to cut for mitered corners.

Ensure the fascia’s upper part is level and supported on your saw when mitering the corners. Also remember to examine your screws before cutting. If just a single screw is in the way, you will need to take it out and place it elsewhere.

Once you finish the assembled piece, place it on the top of your cabinet. Keep front projection even along the front edge. Then, drill countersink pilot holes into your horizontal piece. Secure it with the appropriate screws. Then, cut and install the fascia for each kitchen cabinet and the crown molding using a brad nailer.

Second Option

The second option uses the same method as the first. The only difference is that the fascia will attach to the front of your horizontal piece, which goes to the top of your cabinet.

You can mount the crown molding at any height on your fascia. It can also be flush with the ceiling or located slightly below. In either instance, the gap or the fascia will help cover irregularities. Cabinets, when installed, should be level. However, sometimes ceilings are not.

Ceilings may contain slight slopes, humps located at drywall joints, or they may sag. In this case, you will need to compensate for this during installation.

Third Option

This option reverses the locations of the 1 x 4 and 1 x 2 pieces if the manufacturer has provided eight-foot lengths of 1 x 2 and 1 x 4 molding with no instructions regarding installation. Most experts recommend that you rip these moldings into 2” wide strips by cutting the ¼ in half.

This tip lets homeowners bring their crown molding down to touch the top of their cabinets. However, you can leave as much room as you desire below the crown.

If you want your crown to be above the doors, you can refrain from installing the fascia and simply mount the 1 x 4 crown with the leading edge slightly below your door face or flush with it. Then, nail your crown molding directly to the exposed ¾” edge.

This method allows for only a tiny margin of error. Ensure that you do not get too close to the edge of the crown molding support; if you do, you may split the piece.

Tips for Cabinet Crown Molding

Cabinet Crown Molding

When installing crown molding to a cabinet, you must consider the rise and projection aspects. They can vary quite a bit depending on your profile and scale. Projection, in this case, tends to be a little less than your rise.

Plan for Your Moldings

Unless you use it to continue the room perimeter crown molding, the frameless cabinet crown needs a place to end. You can do this by:

  • Wrapping it to the back of your wall using a miter joint at the end of a cabinet run.
  • Butting it to an additional surface like the cabinetry or wall at a 90° or 45° angle.

You must keep crown projection in mind as you determine how close the cabinets are to your window and door casings. This is true if your casting is higher than your cabinet. It applies to wall ends extending to your ceiling, which is increasingly common in an open-concept home.

Cabinet runs need to end three inches from castings/wall ends. You need to leave a space for typical crown molding to wrap the end of a cabinet and end cleanly against the wall.

Factoring in Uneven Cabinets

For uneven cabinets, a taller cabinet needs to be deeper than the lower one for the crown to end cleanly along the side. A three-inch-high crown requires a lesser projection. The general rule of thumb is that taller cabinets need to be a minimum of three inches deeper than lower cabinets.

For this, you may want to think about a smaller scale crown for lower cabinets accompanied by a projection of 1 ½” to 2”. For frameless cabinets, you will need to add a panel to one side of a taller cabinet flush to the door face. It will maximize the space available to land your lower crown.

For frameless cabinets beside a framed open shelf cabinet, you will need to place an arched top rail on top of your open shelves. It will create a nice design element and provide a landing space for your lower crown molding to return.

Final Words

While learning how to install crown molding on frameless cabinets, the installation may appear involved, but it isn’t very challenging. There are just a lot of tips and details involved in the project. If you take your time and use accurate measurements, you will have a beautifully finished project in a fraction of the time.

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