Crown Molding Headaches

I do crown molding probably 10 times a year for certain customers and I'm really seeing more and more problems with drywall. Hills and valleys throughout the runs on both walls and ceilings. Wondering how you guys that do it all them time don't end up pulling out your hair. My scribe tool is working overtime. And starting to wonder what I'd do without caulk on the painted stuff.
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Not something I do but I think my quotes would include the added cost when needed. Take your time, do a quality job and charge for your work. I realize competition is always an issue but hopefully you can find enough customers to pay for quality or maybe get the contractors to do a better job on new stuff... yeah right.
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If it was easy they could get anyone to do it, right? The key is to charge for what you do.
To get the molding straight, I pop a line around the room, taking into account the drops in the ceiling. I run a line first to determine what the largest drop (sag) is from the ceiling, and hopefully it isn't so much that the painters can cover the gap it will leave. If it is caulked, I don't worry.
If it is stain grade (which I haven't put up #1 clear anything in the raw form in about 3 years) I always try to get the client to let me "enhance" their molding profile by putting a strip of 1/2" X 2" molding under he crown. With that nailed firmly against a chalk line on the wall, I can follow that along the walls with the molding 'just touching' the ceiling. The painter will caulk the gap, and stain the molding.
Sometimes the worst thing you can do is follow the ceiling line. A roller coaster ceiling will really show up dramatically if you put a piece of molding along it that follows the contours.
Try the small strip of straight molding trick against the walls when you are using paint grade as well and your moldings will look perfectly straight regardless of how bad the ceiling is and how much of caulk joint you have.
You can see the base molding detail here:
http://preview.tinyurl.com/4c7e5su
Go to the second picture and you can see the strip, the crown molding, and the cap. For my example you would just use the first two pieces, and pull that first piece (the base) up a bit to make the profile flow better. The crown would go straight to the ceiling.
Oh, yeah... cope those inside corners. Out of square rooms are the norm, and if you cope instead of miter, that will solve that problem immediately.
Just a couple of thoughts...
Robert
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Thanks, Robert -- that article's definitely a keeper.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Thanks for the article its been bookmarked. One of the best articles I've read on Crown in a long time. The job I'm referring to, 120' with 14 miters, 2 rooms connected, living room and dinning room. 6" mdf light crown with lots of detail. Charged 720.00 6.00/ft. but the ceiling and walls were a nightmare. Came out nice and customer was very pleased. One gap on the ceiling was 1/2" and had to use a filler strip scribed in to make it look decent.
Will take picture of the room. I also built a custom fireplace mantel with a marble hearth and back. The fireplace was brick, floor to ceiling. Covered it with plywood and paint. That seems to be the look these days. I did build the cover so if anyone ever wanted they could get the brick back. Did not damage brick. I had a hard time covering it because I personally like brick, owners didn't. But it did come out great and the owners love it.
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