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Can anyone suggest the best solution for installing my crown molding when the ceiling is unlevel by 1/2 an inch from front to back of cabinet? I started to put drywall mud on the ceiling to level it out, but it's so far off in such a short distance, I'm hoping there's another solution. Would it help to install a piece of trim on the ceiling? Here are a couple of pics.
 

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I would probably just caulk and paint to match. I have run into the same problem and have never found a completely satisfactory answer.

George
 

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Unless you float the ceiling anything you do will look a little odd. Probably your easiest fix would be to glue a strip of wood to the top of the molding and scribe it to fit the ceiling.
 

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a tough call

It's off 1/2" in 24"? 30"? well, this is going to sound a bit off kilter, but that's what we have here anyway! :surprise2:

Steve's idea would be good, glue on a narrow strip to take up the difference. Starting at the near end, plane it down to zero as you go toward the opposite end.

You could go one step further and split/rip/saw the cove down the center almost to the opposite end, and glue in a small spacer about 1/8" to 1/4" thick.
Tape the back side and fill the gap with Bondo, sand and paint. OR do both!. What you are trying to do is "loose" the gap in several places so it isn't so obvious in one place. Then you can also have a slight wedge condition on the wall, so that's three places to distribute the gap.

Mudding the ceiling is the last choice.... way too much work required.
 

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Tim's advice is standard practice for a professional install. Follow the ceiling and adjust your angles/corners as needed. 1/4" is really the edge of the envelope for caulking if it's getting painted. Stained is much tighter tolerances.

A 1/2" gap is far too big to try and caulk. Generally you follow the ceiling and can 'split the difference' to allow for a 1/4" or less gap that can be caulked when painting.
 

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It's a simple scribe job. The reveal on the top edge of crown is going to be what's scribed and it will taper but not look bad.

Sent from my iPhone using Wood Forum
 

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Maintain the reveal on the moulding that wraps the cabinet. Don't follow the ceiling. You can cheat the reveal a bit but not much more than maybe an 1/8" based on the size of the reveal in the pic without it being glaringly noticeable. I run into stuff like this pretty regularly. The ceiling gets floated after the moulding is installed.

Occasionally i do it and have a 12" knife with a little notch cut in it that rides the square top portion of the trim like a screed and floats it out on a taper. After that I extend the float out and smooth it with a rubber Magic Trowel.

Usually the ceiling is not out that dramatically in such a short distance. Smaller amounts can be dealt with by changing the spring angle of the crown as you work your way around the room. To do this measure up from the accent moulding to the ceiling at all corners and wall terminations. The largest number you get determines your crown reveal. Mark that reveal height at all corners. The crown in the pics had a 2 3/4" rise. The ceiling was off end to end by 5/8". The ceiling itself was T&G so it couldn't be floated. At each corner I measured up from my reveal mark and transferred that mark to the fences on my saw. When cutting I put the bottom edge of the moulding on that line(top edge when cutting upside down and backwards) and adjusted my continuous crown stop to match the crown. On the high side the crown was cut at its designed rise and on the low side it was cut with a rise of 2 1/8". The height transition was made as I worked around the room to what ever the rise was as the different corners. In order for the top edge of the crown to land tight to the ceiling the flat section behind the top vertical section get ripped to a higher bevel of the table saw or hogged off with a power plane. This technique throws the flat sections of the crown off on plumb and level but it is far less noticeable than wavy or tapered reveal lines. The 2nd pic shows the lowest spot on this particular cornice and if you look close you can see the top flat is off plumb. It's also a useful technique when you have to run crown across the top of banks of windows with off level and low ceilings. A variation in the flat painted section between the top of the casing and the bottom of the crown sticks out like a sore thumb.


The pics show the run off crown I mentioned and the saw with the wings marked up for the elevation changes. The crown had to follow the horizontal shelf in the moulding. I pull this trick out of the bag pretty frequently but this is the only job I've ever bothered to stop and take pictures of it. I don't usually have the time.
 

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you have it from both camps.


there may be one more option. I see a trim member already installed on the cabinet side. you could remove it and reinstall it parallel to the ceiling, the end joint will need adjusted. this would cure the non-parallel look received when placing the crown on the ceiling.
 

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Really?

I would use white painters calking. I have a old home where the walls are never flush. Caulking is my best friend.

It's a 1/2" gap at worst. Caulking won't fill that much gap. and it was already suggested in post no. 2. Then the professionals posted better answers. This is a beginner trying to solve a complex problem, so complex answers won't work for her. A simple fix is what Steve suggested, glue on a narrow strip, scribe off the ceiling onto the strip and then use caulk where necessary. A combination of opening the angle above the cabinet and gluing on a strip is what I recommend although I am not a professional trim carpenter.
 

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It's a 1/2" gap at worst. Caulking won't fill that much gap. and it was already suggested in post no. 2. Then the professionals posted better answers. This is a beginner trying to solve a complex problem, so complex answers won't work for her. A simple fix is what Steve suggested, glue on a narrow strip, scribe off the ceiling onto the strip and then use caulk where necessary. A combination of opening the angle above the cabinet and gluing on a strip is what I recommend although I am not a professional trim carpenter.
I'm not a "beginner" by far. I just simply offered what I do, it works and looks well. Keeps the wife happy too and that's what matter most :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you all very much for your input! I have actually installed many a crown molding over the years, but have never come across a ceiling being off by this much in such a short distance. I plan to tackle the problem this weekend. More than likely I will utilize several options you shared with me. It just sucks and makes the job longer. I'll share the end result with you later. Thanks again!!
 
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