crown molding problem

I am hoping someone can suggest the best way for me to do crown molding in my kitchen. I am a foolishly optimistic novice doing a new cabinet install in my house and currently there are no wall cabinets (I tore out the old ones, I put in the base cabinets and countertops successfully). The new wall cabinets are 42" and, with the crown molding, will run up to the ceiling. The doors are full overhang and there is not much face frame peeking over the tops of the doors (maybe 1/8"). I was planning to put a backer board on top of the cabinets around the perimeter where I was going to attach the crown molding, just to give me something to nail into. I would do this before I installed the cabinets on the wall, obviously, because there will be no room to work on top of the cabinets once they are up. I would then nail the crown into this backer.
Problem: the ceiling is not even.
There is no face frame for the crown to ride up and down to match the ceiling. Here are some suggestions I have heard to solve this problem. I would love to hear some feedback on these ideas or any other ideas people have on how to solve this problem:
1. get an additional narrow molding and scribe to match the ceiling
pros-will match ceiling very well cons-a lot of extra work, cannot do until the crown is installed, difficult to attach to the crown once it's scribed
2. hang the cabinets higher and scribe the crown to match
pros-will match ceiling well cons-if I scribe too much, will ruin the look of the crown, a lot of effort
3. hang the cabinets low enough so that the crown never actually touches the ceiling; leave a 'shadow line' above the cabinets that will vary as the ceiling moves up and down
pros-very easy to do cons-if the ceiling goes up and down by 1/2" or more, will this look bad? Will it look bad regardless to have cabinets and crown that is supposed to go straight to the ceiling but stops just short of it?
4. run quarter-round between the crown molding and the ceiling, on top of the crown, and vary that up and down to match the ceiling
pros-easier than scribing cons-cost of quarter-round; will it look good? can it cover a 1/2" variation in ceiling height?
Thanks to anyone that can offer pointers, advice, information, or suggestions! I am waiting for your answers before I make my next move...
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On 29 Sep 2003 11:48:31 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@ihtfp.net (nemo) wrote:

Before putting up the cabinets I would float the ceiling out level in the area where the top front edge of the crown molding will butt.
You can use regular pre mixed joint compound, with a little bit of plaster of paris added to it. Apply it with a wide knife or trowel. If you are not used to doing this sort of thing, you may have to do a bit of sanding to make things come out right.
Also, you don't say what kind of doors you have on the cabinets. If they are overlay doors you will have to attach a piece of solid stock to the tops of the cabinets that will project beyond the carcasse to the front plane of the doors. The idea is that the crown should spring from the front of the doors rather than from the carcasse.
When I do this sort of thing I have the manufacturer send me enough extra fillers so that I can use them as my nailers.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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On Mon, 29 Sep 2003 15:11:58 -0400, Tom Watson

I'm sorry.. I should have said, "Since you have overlay doors..."
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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On 29 Sep 2003, nemo spake unto rec.woodworking:

    There is no easy answer. Any level, horizontal line that close to the uneven ceiling is going to draw attention to your problem. Scribing the crown would be my last choice, it would look very odd, I think.
    If it isn't too late (if you haven't bought the cabinets yet!) I would suggest shorter wall cabinets that leave a space between their tops and the ceiling. You can finsh them with an applied crown or bed molding, and put SWMBO's basket collection or whatever on display in the open space.
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Although they don't have that big a problem (1/2" eek!), most new home builders simply caulk the top of the crown in and paint it.
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How wide is the worst gap? Most installers run a line of white caulking to hide a small gap....
Bob

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Drop them down about 6-8" and add some low voltage lighting on top. It will really trick out that kitchen and highlight the cabinets too.

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I am hoping someone can suggest the best way for me to do crown molding in my kitchen. I am a foolishly optimistic novice doing a new cabinet install in my house and currently there are no wall cabinets (I tore out the old ones, I put in the base cabinets and countertops successfully). The new wall cabinets are 42" and, with the crown molding, will run up to the ceiling. The doors are full overhang and there is not much face frame peeking over the tops of the doors (maybe 1/8"). I was planning to put a backer board on top of the cabinets around the perimeter where I was going to attach the crown molding, just to give me something to nail into. I would do this before I installed the cabinets on the wall, obviously, because there will be no room to work on top of the cabinets once they are up. I would then nail the crown into this backer.
Problem: the ceiling is not even.
There is no face frame for the crown to ride up and down to match the ceiling. Here are some suggestions I have heard to solve this problem. I would love to hear some feedback on these ideas or any other ideas people have on how to solve this problem:
1. get an additional narrow molding and scribe to match the ceiling
pros-will match ceiling very well cons-a lot of extra work, cannot do until the crown is installed, difficult to attach to the crown once it's scribed
2. hang the cabinets higher and scribe the crown to match
pros-will match ceiling well cons-if I scribe too much, will ruin the look of the crown, a lot of effort
3. hang the cabinets low enough so that the crown never actually touches the ceiling; leave a 'shadow line' above the cabinets that will vary as the ceiling moves up and down
pros-very easy to do cons-if the ceiling goes up and down by 1/2" or more, will this look bad? Will it look bad regardless to have cabinets and crown that is supposed to go straight to the ceiling but stops just short of it?
4. run quarter-round between the crown molding and the ceiling, on top of the crown, and vary that up and down to match the ceiling
pros-easier than scribing cons-cost of quarter-round; will it look good? can it cover a 1/2" variation in ceiling height?
Thanks to anyone that can offer pointers, advice, information, or suggestions! I am waiting for your answers before I make my next move...
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I can't help but thinking that you are ignoring the obvious.
Why not fix the ceiling? You are going to do all the work of redoing the kitchen, and you are going to leave a ugly ceiling? It will ruin all the results of your hard work. Put up furring strips at 90 degrees to the ceiling joists, and shim them to a string, install sheetrock, and fix the darn thing. It is not that much work. -- Jim in NC
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Thanks to all the responses so far.
To the person that said to put a finished backer to put the crown molding flush with the doors rather than the face frames: Thanks! I went to a cabinet store today and saw that they had them flush to the frames, and it looks much worse that way. I ordered backing molding today and I'm sure it will look much better.
To the person that said to drop the cabinets down and leave a space above: I already have the cabinets. But I deliberately chose to have them go all the way up because I like that look better
To the people that think I should just put a level, flat drywall ceiling over the existing ceiling: the current ceiling isn't ugly, just unlevel, and to me the idea of putting another over it seems like a lot of work. This is especially true because I am doing almost all of this alone and it is hard to get a helper. Renting a drywall lifter? Hauling it up, screwing and taping it all on the ceiling by myself? If there is another solution I am interested in it. But I appreciate your opinions.
I talked to another cabinet guy today and he suggested that I simply run some scribe molding, which is easily bendable, along the top of the crown to the ceiling. The crown has about 1/2" that the scribe could run up and down if it turns out that the gaps are too much to caulk over. I'm a bit surprised that no one touched this idea--is there a problem with this? It doesn't seem to me that it would look bad, or would even be noticeable to most people.
I think the best strategy now is to hang the cabinets so the crown is flush with the ceiling at the low point. If the gap is small enough to caulk, I'll do that. If the gap is too big, I'll run scribe along it and bend it to the ceiling. Please let me know if there is something wrong with this solution.
Also, a follow-up question: does anyone have any experience with using a high-tack construction adhesive like Lok-Tite to apply molding? It seems much easier than pre-drilling and nailing, and there are no nail holes to fill. I don't have a brad nailer. I might buy a compressor/brad kit if it really seems necessary but I thought I'd ask about this first. The video demo at the store shows them putting it on a wall and immediately hanging a brick on the stuff!
Thanks again for the helpful responses and I look forward to more of them.
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Boy, you got a real problem ahead. I remodeled my mother-in-law's kitchen about 20 years ago, a farm house built in the early 20's. All lath and plaster. I had a simular problem with the crown molding. I had to screw a backer to the ceiling to attach the molding to. I ran the backer (1x2) thru the TS so the edge matched the back side of the crown molding. I still ended up with some plaster cracks but they were small.
Hope this helps.
ELA

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snipped-for-privacy@ihtfp.net (nemo) wrote in message

Hello, I install kitchens for a living and use a product called Mitre Bond, it is a two part CA product. It works great for securing miters on crown and other moldings (sets up in about 5 seconds) You may be able to find it at a specialty woodworking store, I buy it locally from a C-top distributor. As for your crown to ceiling problem, I never recommend that scenario especially with full overlay doors and / or hardwood crown. The caulk method would be my first choice, the scribe my last.
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Good idea. If you put another ceiling *over* a lathe and plaster one, you're going to have a mess of trouble later. Putting sheetrock over it just catches the old ceiling if it ever starts to fall (and they like to do that), and you end up with a big sag in the middle of the room that you can't just screw back up. If you replace it (not saying you should) tear the old ceiling down first.

It's not as hard as you think... I've done three or four ceilings alone, and I've got a technique for it down-
Get an 8' step ladder and set it in the middle of the area you're going to mount the drywall to. Drill a small hole in one end of the drywall and stick one of those wall mount screws in it (the ones with the springy clip on the end that won't just rip a big hole out of your wall when you pull on it) Tie a piece of twine to the end of the screw, and lift the drywall onto the ladder (be careful not to bust it in half- if you're having trouble with that, try placing a board under it the long way to support the sheet so it doesn't bow so much) Get on the side of the ladder opposite the screw and pull the end down with the twine (easiest way is to hook it under one of the steps of the ladder and pull up on the twine) so that it levers the side you're on up against the ceiling, and screw it in. You'll need at least three or four screws in, preferably in a couple of studs, to make sure it doesn't rip right out when you let go. Then go over to the other side, take out the wall mount screw (you should have enough clearance to get the clip out as well) and then tack up the corners. This way takes most of the weight off then you're screwing it in, and works pretty good. If you don't want to use the screw and twine, just set the ladder a little off center, and gravity will do the rest. Piece of cake- and no helper or drywall jack.

If you bend it to the ceiling, your joints will be messed up- unless you're really handy with crown molding. Be careful if you do that.

And you can use krazy glue to hang an elephant from a crane, too. Don't get confused by advertising! You don't need a brad nailer, though- if you're just doing a couple pieces of trim use a hammer and a nail punch.
Good luck with your project- crown molding can be a real pain in the rear!
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Gravity - it's not just a good idea -- it's the law.

If the joists run parallel, use them, if not, put a backer up and either molly it or liquid nail it up. I've also had success with an air nailer in wood lathe.

Shim it and caulk it.
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snipped-for-privacy@ihtfp.net (nemo) wrote in message

As Tom suggested, fixing the ceiling is probably the best solution.
I can second the caulk method. I use the painter caulk type. My father usually helps with this - he is a Rembrant with caulk.
What color are you painting the molding? When I bought my house, there was a dark stained molding in the kitchen and it looked fine (except we didn't like the color). I took the molding down and painted it, then put it back. The lighter color exposed the gap that was there all along but wasn't noticable before. If you are painting or staining them a dark color, a gap probably will not be very noticable. Light or white paint will send you running for the caulk gun.
-Chris
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