Tips for Painting Crown Molding

Crown molding.
What You'll Need
Paint tray
Protective clothing
Respirator as needed
Adequate ventilation

Painting your crown molding puts the finishing touch on a room, whether you’re using a contrasting color or blending in with your walls and ceiling. But most crown moldings are ornate and sculptured, making it difficult to get good paint coverage. Although this task may seem a bit complex, it can easily be completed with the aid of a helpful set of tips.

Apply Primer

Primer gives the new paint a fresh, even surface to adhere to. Before applying your primer, you can place painter’s tape along the edges of your molding to help prevent paint from spreading onto your wall or ceiling. Use a paintbrush to apply a coat of primer to your crown molding. Take care to apply your primer in smooth, even strokes.

TIP: Our painting consultant Edward Kimble, the author of Interior House Painting Blog, suggests, “Tape works well, but occasionally the paint will 'bleed' under the tape. Taping takes time, and it is not always perfectly straight. Anyone with a good eye and steady hand can quickly cut a straight line with no tape. It is not as hard to do this as you would think. Let it dry before you caulk."

Apply Caulk

This will correct any imperfections in the joint between the molding and the wall or ceiling. Without the caulk, you can end up missing uneven areas, leaving unsightly and obvious gaps when the paint is dry. The caulk will stick to the primed area because it is clean and uniform, unlike the existing coat of paint. Use a caulking gun to carefully apply a paintable brand of caulk to the gaps between your molding and your wall and/or ceiling. Once the caulk has been applied, gently smooth it out. Make sure the caulk has had ample time to dry before applying your paint.

TIP: Edward says, “Don’t use paint scrapers or putty knives to smooth out the bead of caulk. Use your finger. Carry a rag to wipe the excess caulk off of your fingers. Also, it is helpful to carry a bucket of water to dip your fingers in to get caulk off of them, and a slightly wet finger makes for a very smooth caulk job. Cut the caulk gun plastic tube at an angle, about ¼-inch.”

Apply Paint

Once your primer has dried, you'll be ready to begin painting the crown molding. Apply your initial coat of paint with the aid of a paintbrush, then give it ample drying time. Next, use a paintbrush to apply your second coat of paint in broad, even strokes. After your second coat of paint has been applied, make sure to remove your painter’s tape before the paint is completely dry.

Your paint is liable to peel if the tape is removed after it has fully dried. Taking a little extra time to do the more complicated trim pieces in a room is well worth it. In the end, your effort will pay off with an evenly and smoothly painted crown molding.

Your painted crown molding now completes the look of your room. It's time to kick back and enjoy your handy work.

Edward Kimble, a professional painter and author of Interior House Painting Blog, contributed to this article.