Got a Crown Molding Question? Here’s What You Need to Know


Even if you’re unfamiliar with crown molding as a decorating term, you’ve no doubt seen it before. It’s the decorative strips that adorn a room and most often used in the corners where the walls and ceiling meet. Some are ornately carved, others are smooth and linear, but they all have one thing in common – they tie together a room to give it depth and character.

If you’re considering installing crown molding in the rooms of your home, you have several options to choose from, but some are certainly more eco-friendly than others. Here’s what you need to know.

Wood When shopping for crown molding, certain types of wood can be bought from companies specializing in responsible harvesting. Beware though, wood molding is tougher to work with than other materials and you’ll need fairly strong carpentry skills to install it yourself.

Plaster Heavy and expensive plaster molding must be custom made and is no cakewalk to install. That said, if you’re looking for responsibly-made materials for your crown molding, this is an option to explore since the plaster can be made using various natural materials including clay.

Polyurethane Here’s an option that can be used in pretty much any installation situation because it’s inexpensive, handles pant well, and is easy to install. Unfortunately, it’s also among the most planet-unfriendly crown molding materials out there.

Polystyrene This foam-based material is easy to handle and cut, lightweight, and can be glued in place. That’s the good news. Like it’s polyurethane cousin, it’s not enviro-friendly and won’t get bonus points for attractiveness either.

Flex While flex molding is perfect for arched doorways, bay windows, and other odd angles, it’s also a costly affair and typically needs to be custom-made. Flex is usually made from synthetic rubbery materials to make it pliable so if you’re looking for natural options, this isn’t it.

PVC First of all, it’s PVC so this is the least eco-friendly option on the market. Even when hung on a 10-foot ceiling, this type of of crown molding looks plastic-y and needs to be painted to cover up the glossy telltale finish. About all PVC crown molding has going for it is that it’s mold and mildew resistant so it’s perfect for damp places like bathrooms or exteriors.

Of course, figuring out the best type of crown molding to buy is only half the battle, installing it is the other. Fortunately, This Old House and have you covered.

Image: Corey Ann