Posted on: 04.07.2023 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Painted crown molding can elevate your space and give it a unique touch, but it’s not always an easy task. The goal is to make it look like it’s part of the architecture of the house, not just painted wooden pieces nailed to the walls.

If you’re painting crown molding for the first time, it can be a bit challenging. Here are some suggestions from professionals to help you get started.

1. Prepare the Molding

When you receive the molding for the first time, go over it and fill in any cracks or nail holes. Once the putty is dry, sand the whole thing until it’s smooth. You don’t want any defects as they will be visible when you apply glossy paint.

If there are nail marks present when attaching the molding, you can sink the nails below the surface and fill them with wood putty. Then, once it’s dry, you can go over the area with paint.

Best patching materials for crown molding:

  • 3M Bondo Wood Filler
  • Crawford’s Spackling & Wood Putty
  • Durham’s Wood Putty

Bondo and Durham’s putties harden and are durable, so they are ideal for larger patching work, but it can be harder to sand if you apply a thick layer. Spackling or wood putty from Crawford is easy to work with and sands well. Mostly, you apply the putty to the holes and level it out with a putty knife.

2. Tape Off

Preparing doesn’t just stop at the molding itself. You also need to prepare the ceiling and walls with tape. The painter’s tape will prevent paint transfer. Plus, it will keep the edges sharp.

Many professionals use plastic sheeting in conjunction with tape to protect the walls, floors, and furniture. The plastic sheets can be attached to the tape. Or you can purchase certain types of “pre-taped” sheets that are designed for painting. They come with tape or adhesives on the edge to make the process easier.

Popular choice:

  • Scotchblue Tape+Plastic – This product combines tape and plastic sheeting to protect your wall or furniture from paint splatters. It’s easy to apply and has static adhesion to keep it in place.

3. Make Sure It’s Primed

If your crown molding is bare, you should prime it first before applying the first coat of paint. The primer acts as a sealant and bonding agent for the paint to adhere to the surface.

You’ll also have a better chance of achieving a smooth surface when you apply paint onto dried primer instead of bare wood. Don’t forget to sand the molding after the primer has dried with fine grit sandpaper.

4. Paint Before Installation

Some professionals will say, “don’t paint before installation,” while others will say, “painting before installation makes things easier.” So, which is it? It really depends on the painting technique chosen.

  • Brushing Method – it would be best to paint after you’ve installed the molding. This way, you can do everything while it’s in place. Just be careful to feather the over-paint onto the masking (tape or wall) as you go.
  • Spray Painting Method – You can do it indoors, but outdoors would be convenient. Painting indoors with a sprayer comes with some risks. Preparations would need to be made to ensure that the paint doesn’t reach the ceiling or walls.

5. Use an Airless Sprayer

If you want to spray paint your molding, use an airless sprayer. You don’t need to thin your paint and can get the job done faster. If you don’t have a ladder (or don’t want to use one), you can add a spray gun extension. This will allow you to spray moldings from a distance.

Best spray tip sizes for crown molding:

  • 210 (4-inch spray)
  • 310 (6-inch spray)
  • 410 (8-inch spray)

When spraying your molding, spray it vertically in overlapping sections. You can start in a corner and work your way out. Spraying vertically prevents paint from splattering onto the crown when you release the trigger. Instead, it goes onto the drop cloth.

6. Use High-Quality Brushes

If you prefer to brush your molding by hand, don’t use inferior brushes. It will leave terrible streaks and marks in your finish. And you will end up constantly picking out brush bristles that keep falling out.

Using the wrong type of tools can mess up the whole job (and make it frustrating). Use angled sash lacquer or enamel brushes with tapered tips and angled edges. The angled sash brushes have a sharper edge and can paint around corners, making it easier to work next to walls and ceilings.

These brushes can hold a lot of paint and leave a smooth finish with fewer brushstrokes (you don’t want streaks of lines on your crown moldings).

Best brush brands:

  • Purdy
  • Wooster
  • Corona

Purdy brushes are popular among many painters. The bristles are soft enough to apply paint smoother than other brushes. If you can’t find a Purdy brush, Corona and Wooster brushes are an excellent choice.

7. Add Paint Extender

If the paint is thick or dries quickly, it can be harder to apply a streak-free, smooth finish. A paint extender thins out the paint and makes it easier to apply. It also extends the drying time.

Best paint extender:

  • Floetrol – This brand is recommended by many professionals as it eliminates brush and roller marks, leaving a smooth finish.

Follow the instructions and add the paint extender to the paint and mix it well. You should see a difference in consistency and texture when you apply it to the molding. You may need to apply more than two coats for complete coverage.

8. Caulk It Right

Caulking can be one of the most critical steps when it comes to painting moldings. If you do an excellent caulking job, you’ll end up with straight lines against your crown. Use caulk to fill in any seams and check the corners for gaps.

Don’t forget to go over the caulk with a damp cloth and press it in while wiping. This will remove excess caulking and ensure that each seam looks even and crisp. Some people go over the seams again with their finger or scraper to make sure all the excess has been removed.

What Not to Do

There are some common mistakes made when painting moldings. Here are a few examples of things that can ruin your crown molding.

Don’t Go Too Dark with Two Colors

White crown moldings are a popular choice, but some people prefer to have them two-tone. The contrast adds an element to the overall look. Try to keep your color choice on the lighter side for the best results. If you want to go dark, then stick to one color.

Don’t Be Cheap

The quickest way to ruin a molding paint job is to use cheaper brushes and cheaper paint. If you want a successful crown molding installation, then shell out some money and get high-quality paint and equipment. The end result will be worth it.

Don’t Use Fast-Drying Paint

If you notice the paint drying quickly, add paint extender. Seriously. Some people think that fast-drying paint is an ideal choice because it means the job will get done faster.

The truth is, it leaves terrible brush streaks and marks. Once your paint is dry, you can’t go over it and smooth it out. Instead, you would have to sand it and do it over again. Thinner paint that takes longer to dry has a smoother finish as it can settle before drying.

No Shortcuts

Take the time to do the job properly. Taking shortcuts may seem like a good idea, but it can lead to poor results. For example, avoiding taping off edges because it can be time-consuming can result in uneven edges if your hand isn’t steady enough.

Don’t Paint Walls After Installing Molding

If you want to paint the ceiling or walls around the same time that you’re installing the molding, paint them first.

The last thing you want is to create perfect crisp lines around your molding and then ruin it by applying wall paint around it. Plus, you would have to do it twice. It would be easier to get the paint on the wall first and then install molding over it.

There is an exception. If the molding is already installed, and you want to change the wall color, you can wrap tape around the molding and proceed with the color change.

Prime and Paint the Molding

The most important thing first. Let’s talk about paint. When you’re buying moldings, you should consider getting a factory-primed molding so you don’t have to prime it again before painting. This will cut your work in half.

However, if you’re painting a brown molding, that means it hasn’t been primed, so you’ll need to apply primer. Also, stained wood needs to be cleaned and sanded to allow the paint to adhere better to the surface.

The general rule is to apply two coats. That means two coats of primer and paint. This way, the entire molding will be covered evenly.

What Types of Paint Should You Use for Crown Moldings?

Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints are ideal for crown moldings because they make every detail pop.

Paint with a glossy sheen is easier to maintain than matte or eggshell finishes, which allows for light reflection. It also gives the molding a sense of elegance. If you don’t want to deal with glare or intense light reflection, you can opt for satin.

Self-leveling enamel is popular among many professionals as the paint levels itself out. The end result is a finish with minimal brush marks.

Make sure to buy high-quality paint. It will ensure that your crown molding looks its best. The usual recommendation is to start with a primer first (if your molding isn’t already primed). After it’s primed, you can apply two coats of paint.

Primer paint options:

  • Latex Bonding Primer
  • Oil-based Primer
  • White Shellac-based Primer

Oil-based and shellac-based primers are the ideal choice for regular and brown-stained moldings. These products act as surface sealants and prepare the conditions for painting crown moldings and trim.

Latex primer should not be used on unpainted moldings such as raw pine or oak. It can result in tannin bleeding, which looks like a yellow film. If you are using a latex primer on a painted molding, make sure it’s a bonding primer.

Is Crown Molding Supposed to Be Painted?

Yes. There are crown moldings that are considered “pre-finished,” which means they’re already painted. However, it may cost a bit more and the color selection may be limited.

Most pre-painted moldings have a specially formulated paint that prevents scratches and scuffs. It also leaves a smooth, clear factory finish. These moldings are ideal for high-traffic areas.

Some of them come with a touch-up kit that includes everything you need for touch-ups after installation. For example, caulk, spackling, and paint that have already been color matched.

Pre-painted crown moldings can be great because:

  • Saves time
  • Less work & mess
  • You don’t need painting experience

How Much Does It Cost to Paint Crown Moldings?

If you’re wondering how much it costs to paint moldings, you’re not alone. The price can range from a low number to a very high number. It depends on several things.

For example, renting equipment (like a high-quality sprayer) may be more cost-effective than buying one. It will cost you around $40 to $120 per day. The price depends on where you get it from and what type of sprayer you choose.

Hand-brushing the crown molding further reduces the cost. So it can cost, for example, to paint a crown molding by hand:

  • Molding materials – about $200-300
  • Primer – $30-40
  • Trim paint – $60-70
  • Floetrol (paint extender) – $7.00

Painting your crown molding can cost a total of around $300-500. If you want to buy pre-painted or custom moldings, you can expect a higher price.

What Color Should You Choose for Your Crown Molding?

Now that we’ve discussed how to paint moldings and what paint is needed, let’s talk about color. It can elevate an entire room or make a statement, depending on the color you choose.

Classic White

White works well for most interior styles. It pairs nicely with white or colored walls. If the walls are colored, the white molding will stand out and create a sense of unity. Many people see it as a safe option. 

White moldings are also a good choice for toning down highly colored walls. Or you can pair it with a neutral wall color to achieve a subtle effect.


It may seem traditional, but a neutral molding can add a sophisticated appeal to any space. Neutral colors also pair well with colored ceilings; it creates a sense of balance. You can add modern furniture to integrate warmth and character.

Neutral molding is an ideal choice for older homes. It can also be used to add an authentic traditional feel.

Bold Colors

Bright colors can add a wild and electric look by splashing a pop of color throughout any room. It’s a great way to add personality (and maybe a bit of excitement) without doing a full wall treatment. You can complement it with matching decorative pillows.

Bold colors are popular in modern living environments. It also comes in handy when you want to incorporate a specific color into small areas.


Some people like to go dark to create a contrasting effect. It can be very effective when done right. If you want to go

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