How to Install Cap Molding

  • 2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 80
What You'll Need
Cap Molding
Miter Saw
Finish Nails
Finish hammer
Nail set
Finish Nail Gun (Optional)
Portable Air Compressor (Optional)
Wood Putty
Foam Brush
Tape Measure

When finishing off your wainscoting, or other types of molding around the room, cap molding is a perfect choice. This type of molding is used on top of a base molding to give it a rounded or profiled, look. Installing crown molding, wainscoting, or molding around the room gives the room an elegant, and at times, very formal appearance. Here are the steps to take in installing cap molding around your room.

Step 1: Write Down Dimensions of Room

Use your tape measure and measure all of the walls in your room. Write down the measurements and go to the home center to purchase the type of cap molding you would like to use. This can be any type of molding such as quarter round, half-round, or some other elaborate type of 1/4 inch molding strip.

Step 2: Start At One End and Install

The best way to install the cap molding is to start at one end of the room and work your way around to the other side. Make sure to use full strips of molding along long walls. Cut only when you have to.

Step 3: Measure and Cut

To start the installation, lay a piece of cap molding in the position on top of the base. Position it so that it will have the reveal that you want. Mark the piece where it will have to be cut. In the instance of coming to a corner, you will have to measure the distance and transfer to the wood stock.

Step 4: Cutting Miter Cuts

A miter saw is the best saw to use when cutting cap molding. This is because of the 45-degree angles that are involved. Anytime you come to a corner you will need to cut the end at a 45-degree angle. Each side will have an opposite cut so that the two ends will fit tightly. To ensure the perfection of the fit, cut a short piece of the same molding—at least 8 to 12-inches long—with a miter cut at the opposite end so that you can use it to verify how the next piece will fit, and consequently adjust the length or the angle of the piece. You can now nail your molding into place.

Step 5: Join Two Long Pieces Together

If you have a wall that is longer than the length of your molding piece, then you will need to join them together. Cut a 45-degree angle at the end of the first sections then place it and nail it in place. Cut the next molding to the full length needed to reach the next corner of the room and cut another 45-degree angle in the opposite direction so it fits against the previous piece perfectly. Set the second piece on top of the first for a seamless connection, then cut the other end to fit at the corner as in step 4. You can now nail it in place.

Step 6: Cover Nail Holes

You can now use a nail set to insert the nail heads just below the surface and use wood putty to cover up all of the nail holes. As you are covering the nail holes, you should also cover up any seams in the corners or straight joints. Sand the putty smooth once it dries.

Step 7: Varnish Molding

Depending on the type of finish you are using for the rest of the molding, apply the same to the cap molding. Use a foam brush and spread on in even coats.