crown molding installation cost

Average Cost of Crown Molding Installation

Most homeowners pay between $8.00-$18.00 with labor and materials included. These averages are based on installing mid-grade wood such as oak or solid pine and whether it is factory finished plus the amount of wall prep involved. Specific costs for a range of affordable to very expensive materials are found below.

The cost of labor is between 40% and 60% of the work, and this makes DIY an attractive option for home and property owners with good carpentry skills.

Average Do It Yourself cost

$4.80 – $7.50 per Foot

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$13.25 per Foot

Typical Cost Average

$9.15 – $15.00 per Foot

Last Updated: Monday, April 4, 2022

Overview of Crown Moldings and Installation

Crown moldings serve as a seamless transition between walls and ceiling. It’s one of those popular home improvement projects for indoors designed to deliver beauty rather than utility to your home. Add something like an electric fireplace or replace worn-out carpet with solid hardwood flooring, and you’ve got room upgrades for a complete makeover.

You have a number of molding profile options – styles and shapes – that give you leeway in the final look of the room.

As part of the installation of crown moldings, corner blocks can be included, which add high-end design features. Cutting and fitting crown moldings are a little more difficult than for other types of trim such as quarter round trim or baseboard molding, so the potential for error is greater – worth noting when considering doing the work yourself.

This page of Business Finance News focuses on pricing of materials and labor. We include a few estimates from other reliable cost sites and offer an option for readers to share their project costs for the benefit of others. Please consider bookmarking this page and returning to use the section lower on the page called Share Your Project Cost for Others to Compare.

Product and Installation Supplies

Crown Molding Cost Factors

Crown molding, also spelled moulding and referred to as cabinet molding, is a final touch to add a great aesthetic  to a room or your entire house. You can complete this project for as little as $3.50 to $7.50 per linear foot if you DIY wood moulding. If you opt for cheaper plastics or MDF, price can be half of that.

If you’re having a professional compete the job and want to add a more intricately designed high-end crown molding, it can cost more than $40 per linear foot. These cost factors will allow you to gauge your potential cost for installing crown moldings in your home.

  • Who Does the Work – This project requires more attention to detail than other trim projects. If you choose to complete it yourself it’s recommended you use corner blocks which will add between $6-$15 per corner on average to your total cost. The reason is that the blocks take out the need for tricky corner cuts when joining two pieces of molding.
  • How Much Moulding is Installed – Trim carpenters factor in travel, setup and take-down/cleanup time. They spread that cost over the total project. As a result, you might find that per-foot estimates drop a little as the amount of molding installed goes up. For example, Homewyse gives a range of about $10.00 to $16.00 per foot for 80 linear feet (20 x 20 room, e.g.). If 300 feet are installed over several rooms, price drops by $1.00 to $1.50 per foot.
  • Number of Corners – Contractors often have a “per foot” price plus a “per corner” price. Due to the challenges of getting the corner right, a contractor might charge $35 to $50 for each corner when two molding pieces are joined.
  • Scope of Overall Project – If you add crown molding at the same time as replacing drywall on ceilings or walls, you may find you can save money due to the contractor being able to minimize other labor costs at the same time.
  • The Materials Used – There is a huge price range here, and each material has benefits and drawbacks. Polyurethane is prone to dents, PVC has fewer options available, exotic hardwood has a high cost and requires additional labor, metal can corrode, and plaster is heavy – making it more difficult to do it yourself. It all comes down to your budget and DIY abilities. The low cost of PVC might be exactly what you need to get the job done, or you might want the natural beauty of stained oak or mahogany. Do some research, starting with retail crown molding prices below, before deciding which material is best for your project.
  • Where you Live – As we often point out in our Business Finance News, general cost of living can result in a 25% difference, either higher or lower than average. Cabinet molding costs are higher in large metro regions, especially on the Coasts. Costs run lower in the Midwest in small towns and rural areas.

Retail Crown Moulding Cost – Materials and Supplies

Here are retail costs for common materials starting with non-wood options.

  • $.70 – $6 per Linear Foot | PVC
  • $1.50 – $2.25 per Linear Foot | Prefinished MDF
  • $2 – $6 per Linear Foot | Polyurethane
  • $6 – $12 per Linear Foot | Plaster
  • $10 – $25 per Linear Foot | Metal
  • $2 – $3 per Linear Foot | Cheap Wood like Poplar and Birch
  • $4 – $14 per Linear Foot | Mid-Grade Wood like Oak, Pine, Cherry and Walnut
  • $20 – $40 per Linear Foot | Expensive Wood like Mahogany and Exotics

Tools and Supplies Cost 

  • $15 – $25 | 30-foot Tape Measure
  • $28 – $40 | Digital Protractor
  • $25 – $50 | Electronic Stud Finder
  • $100 – $200 | Cordless Nail Gun
  • $210-$300 | Nail Gun, Air Compressor, and Hose
  • $50 – $75 | Nail Gun and Air Compressor Rental per Half or Full Day
  • $8-$10 | Brad Nails (1000 ct.)
  • $210-$700 | Compound Miter Saw
  • $30 | Crown Molding Jig
  • $4-$10 | Wood Glue
  • $7-$75 each | Corner Blocks
  • $8-$25 | Tube of Caulk and Gun
  • $15- $50 | Quart or Gallon of Paint, Stain, Sealer, or Primer for unfinished molding
  • $5-$10 | Brushes for unfinished molding

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $0 | This home improvement project doesn’t require a permit.

Related Costs and Installation Time

Trim carpenters charge from about $55 to $95 per hour. Labor rates in upscale areas might be slightly higher.

For a 20 x 20 room with 4 corners, here are time considerations.

  • Up to 15 minutes | Measuring per Room
  • 1 – 2 Hours | Painting or Staining Trim – Optional (Dry overnight)
  • 1-2 hours | Cutting the Trim
  • 1.5 – 3 hours | Installing Crown or Cabinet Moldings
  • 30 minutes-1 hour | Filling Nail Holes and Optionally Caulking Top and Bottom
  • 30 minutes-1 hour | Set Up, Tear Down and Clean Up
  • 6 – 10 hours | Complete installation of a 20 x 20 room, including any painting staining and finishing.

Related Projects

Installing Baseboard Molding – Expect to pay about $6.25 to $8.00 for most common materials.

Installing Quarter Round Molding – Average cost of $4.90 per foot installed. Adding quarter round or shoe molding can be a stand-alone project or a nice finishing touch when installing baseboard trim.

Cost to Drywall a Ceiling – An average cost when hiring a drywall contractor to supply the materials and labor is  $2.45 per square foot. If your ceiling has water damage or is sagging, it makes sense to replace the drywall before installing crown molding or a ceiling fan.

Cost to Paint a Ceiling – Expect to pay an average of about $1.60 per square foot to hire a paint contractor for the materials and supplies.

Cost to Install a Ceiling Fan – A ceiling fan will cost $50 to $275 for most DIY and pro-installed options. They are an attractive and useful addition and available in enough styles, designs and blade finishes to match any crown molding type.

DIY or Hire a Pro?

The average cost of crown molding when hiring a pro is about $13.25 per foot – HomeGuide pegs it at $12.50/foot – vs. the average DIY cost of about $7.50. So you can see, there are savings to be enjoyed. And at labor costs of $30 to $50 per corner according to Home Advisor,  about the same as our own estimate, the more corners you have, the greater the appeal of putting your skills to the test by tackling it yourself.

If you are considering installing your own crown molding, you should have medium to excellent trim carpentry skills – or be willing to ruin a few pieces gaining the know-how needed make the job look good. Pros order about 5% extra to cover waste and trimming. A first-time do-it-yourselfer should consider purchasing 15% extra.

Since crown moldings are more difficult to install compared to other trim options, hire a pro if you are crunched for time and want it too look right the first try. For more adventurous homeowners who are considering DIY, keep in mind that there are a few “more difficult than average” skills required – Making compound cuts with a miter saw, operating a brad nailer accurately, and accounting for a buildup of drywall mud in corners. Just go into it with your “eyes open.” It might limit the frustration you experience along the learning curve.

Here’s an idea of the challenge: Rather than cutting with the molding flat against the fence or table you have to cut with it at the angle it’s to be installed. If you don’t have a compound miter saw, contractors recommend using a jig to hold the piece of crown at the correct angle when making the cut. You’ll also want to buy or build a jig to ensure that your compound cuts are accurate and consistent. This additional tool will cost you around $30. We also recommend purchasing a stud finder and marking stud locations before you begin installation. This will make it easier to firmly secure your crown moldings to the wall and ceiling.

We definitely recommend watching a couple tutorials before starting. This one from This Old House is a good beginning.

If you choose to install crown moldings yourself, corner blocks will make crown molded corners much easier to complete and help ensure a gapless appearance. Paying the cost will reduce the difficulty significantly.

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