I just had a very good question from a reader on my "Cabinet Crown Moulding Tips" post so I figured the best way to answer her was with another post.
They’ve just installed new frameless cabinets themselves and have now reached the point of adding the crown moulding.
Her question was related to the various pieces of 8′ lengths of stock that arrived from the cabinet manufacturer. Besides the crown moulding itself, there were 8′ lengths of 1 x 2 and 1 x 4 material but no instructions on how to install it.
Well, here are a few ways to approach adding crown moulding to frameless cabinets. You can use the same method for framed cabinets if the cabinet top is flush to the top of the face frame.
Assuming the flat stock is finished on at least one face and edge you have the option of using the edge of the horizontal that is attached to the cabinet top as a trim detail. The 3/4" edge can project as much or as little as desired but the fascia (vertical) should be flush with or slightly proud of the door face.
The fascia can be attached to the horizontal piece using pocket joints or by adding a 3/4" x 3/4" cleat strip behind the fascia (See Method C) and screwing it to both pieces.
Attach the full length 8′ fascia to the horizontal strip with pocket screws every 8 or 10 inches. Be sure to allow for the proper projection beyond the face and end of the cabinets when measuring for cutting the mitred corners.
You’ll need to make sure the upper part of the fascia is supported and level on the saw when cutting the mitres for corners. And be sure to check for screws before cutting! If there’s a screw in the way – remove it and relocate it. With a bit of planning you can minimize this kind of situation.
After the assembled piece is cut, set it on top of the cabinet, making sure the front projection is consistent along the front edge of the cabinet. Drill counter sink pilot holes through the cabinet top into the horizontal piece and secure it with screws. Cut and install all the fascia for each cabinet run before installing the crown with a brad nailer.
The crown can be mounted at any height on the fascia and can be tight to the ceiling or left slightly below the ceiling – leaving a gap like in the photo above. In either case the fascia or the gap help to compensate for any irregularities between the cabinets – which should be level – and the ceiling which could have a slight slope, a sag or humps at drywall joints.
Based on the available components of the homeowner who asked the question, this scenario reverses the location of the 1 x 2 and 1 x 4 pieces. Given this situation, I’d probably rip the 1 x 4 into two – 2" wide strips.
This arrangement allows you to bring the crown down closer to the top of the cabinets. Again, you could leave as much reveal below the crown as you want.
If you want the crown just above the doors, you could leave the fascia off and mount the 1 x 4 with the leading edge flush or slightly behind the door face and nail the crown directly to the exposed 3/4" edge. Obviously there’s little margin for error doing it this way – making sure you don’t get too close to the edge of either the crown or the support strip and splitting either piece.