What Size Nails Should I Use for Crown Molding?

Written by Milan Jara on 5th Jul 2022

Crown Molding

A common question is what size nails for crown molding. If you want to know the best one for your molding, we teach you which ones to use.

Crown molding is a big selling feature when you use it properly in a home, but with some styles, crown molding just doesn’t fit. However, the right design can draw the eyes upward and draw compliments from others. While installation isn’t difficult, an important question to ask is what size nail for crown molding?

Why Incorporate Crown Molding to Begin With?

Crown Molding

As previously stated, crown molding looks great, but it doesn’t suit all décor. So, before installing it in your home, consider the following points:

  1. Does it fit with the style? You may like a particular crown molding for its visual appeal. However, if it looks funny or doesn’t match the room’s décor, it will stand out – and not in a good way. Crown molding ranges from clean/minimalistic to intricate. Choose the best one to compliment your space.
  2. Does the room have a high or low ceiling? High ceilings can be great for crown molding. Furthermore, due to their height. You can also do crown molding to cap wainscoting or add chair rails since it draws the eye upwards.
  3. However, if your crown molding is too wide and the room has a low ceiling, it can make it look even lower. You always want to draw the eye upwards.

  4. Does it match the trim? You will want it to look like it flows with the baseboard trim if any.
  5. What is your style? The difference between décor and style in this context is that it may appear like the surrounding décor is having an identity crisis. You want to keep everything in the same family. When we reference style, we are discussing how the room looks.
  6. Rooms that are clean or minimalistic may not benefit from crown molding. For some, it may date them. With others, it just doesn’t fit. Make sure that what you choose looks proper for your space. Even without it, your space can still look beautiful if the style remains continuous.

The reasons for installing it may be for aesthetic appeal, for the wow factor, to upgrade the home, or to hide imperfections. Houses move and shift over time, causing imperfections and cracks in your walls, especially in older homes.

However, crown molding can be useful to hide some imperfections and provide options for trim possibilities. Also, since not all homes have this feature, installing it may raise the resale value because people love it.

What Nails Should I Use?

The most common type of nails used are two-inch finish nails. Use these with a finishing nail gun and a compressor. Studs are generally 3 1/2", and drywall is 1/2". The most common molding is 1/2". Therefore, two-inch nails are perfect.

The finishing is also important on your nails. A finishing nail or finished nail is a little bit thicker and has a stronger hold. While they may leave a residue behind on your fingers, it will easily wash off.

On each corner, use a one-inch brad nail plus glue or liquid nails. If the crown molding is very thick or you have a plaster ceiling, use 16d finish nails. They are 3-3 1/2" long and thicker because they are finishing nails.

Furthermore, plaster tends to be thicker than drywall. Your nails need to be long to allow them to reach the joists and studs. You may need a drill to make a small hole before using the nails so you do not split the wood.

What Is the Crown Molding Nailed to?

Crown Molding

Crown molding attaches to joists and studs in your walls and ceiling. You’ll find studs in the walls and joists in the ceiling. After finding where two studs are located, finding the remainder is easy because they’re evenly spaced. Stud finders allow you to find joists and studs easier than doing it manually.

If you don’t have a stud finder, you can find studs by simply knocking on the wall. Hollow sounds indicate there isn’t a stud, while a solid sound indicates the wall stud is behind where you knocked. Be sure to look for switches and outlets since one side may be against a stud to run wire.

Once found, mark where your wall stud is. Proceed until you find the next one. Then, measure how far apart they are. Mark the studs with a pencil, a sticker, or whatever is the most visible. Most are 16" apart. However, in older homes, they may be 24". In the corners, studs may be closer.

Joists are other items you can nail the molding to. They are in the ceiling, and you can knock or tap to find them. However, it will be more difficult than finding them in your walls. To make it a little easier, remember they are only 14" to 16" apart. A stud finder works as well.

Knocking will not work on plaster ceilings which you might find in older homes. They are exceptionally thick, so you will have to use a test nail. This technique will also work with drywall. Use a small nail, measure 16" from the wall. A nail will easily go through if there is no joist. If you do not find a joist, try measuring 24" for the joist. Fill in each nail hole using drywall compound or putty when you’re done.

After you have found what size nails for crown molding plus your joists and studs, you can install the molding using a finishing gun. This method is the most common and makes installation easier. When installing the molding, ensure you have the right length for the project. You want to make sure it is securely fastened and won’t come loose.

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