Crown molding adds sophistication and beauty to any room. The average crown molding project costs $1,100 for a single room. However, several variables impact the cost that can make that number vary widely. The price per linear foot is typically a much better calculation factor to determine what your actual expense will be.
How much you will spend depends, to a significant extent, on the material used, linear feet covered, if you DIY, or the labor costs in your area. You could pay as little as $1 or $2 per linear foot for foam or fiberboard molding or as much as $45 – $50 per linear foot for metals and exotic woods. The most typical price range is between $5 and $20 per linear foot.
Common Styles of Crown Molding
In small rooms with low ceilings, you might consider using the Early American or Federal style of crown molding. However, high ceilings may call for the Colonial Revival style to accentuate a vaulted ceiling.
You can choose to stain and varnish for a natural wood look or use paints to compliment or contrast wall colors or wallpaper coverings. Crown molding is also an excellent complement to wainscoting. Check our wainscoting cost guide to get some creative ideas for coupling crown molding with wainscot.
Depending on your budget and use, there are several types of materials used for crown molding.
Popular Materials Used for Crown Molding
The following are the most popular materials used to create crown molding, the cost per linear foot (not including installation), and the pros and cons of use:
You can use PVC molding in areas with high moisture, where wood and foam might not be as durable. PVC is also hollow so you can run electrical, audio, or security cables through it. This molding typically only comes in white and should not get painted. PVC is very inexpensive at only $1.00 or $2.00 per linear foot.
Fiberboard (Medium-Density) or MDF
Fiberboard is another inexpensive material to make crown molding. MDF is an excellent option because it is very durable and can get painted, though it might not be a great choice if you plan on using a transparent stain.
However, do not use MDF in high moisture areas, as it might bow or warp. Expect to pay about $1.00 to $3.00 per linear foot.
Polyurethane molding costs a little more than either PVC or MDF at $2.00 to $6.00 per linear foot. However, it’s not as prone to warping or bowing; though it can get dented easily during installation.
There are two distinct disadvantages to using beautiful, long-lasting wood. Those are that it is bulky or weighty and can be costly. Some ceilings might not be able to hold the weight of wood. What’s more, maple can cost $2.00 to $5.00 per linear foot, and cherry will typically cost $4.00 to $7.00 per linear foot.
However, you can carve wood to make intricate designs and stain, varnish, or paint it to create a stunning look. Solid wood is the right choice if you plan on using a stain finish to allow the beauty of the wood show through.
You can use steel, copper, or aluminum inside or outside. Paint it or use copper naturally to create a nice patina over time. Metal molding also complements metal ceilings very well. However, metal molding can cost $10 – $25 per linear foot, and aluminum and copper will dent easily. You will also need a metal cutting saw.
Plaster is another expensive choice but has some advantages. A linear foot of plaster can cost $6 to $15. Yet, plaster can get formed to create elaborate designs. However, it might crack while installing, and the weight can be too much for some ceilings.
Plaster molding also requires quite a bit more time to install. It also requires the skill and experience that is becoming rarer as other materials such as drywall and wood moldings have become more popular.
One essential consideration of crown molding is the drop. The molding’s drop is the distance from the ceiling to the bottom edge of the molding.
For an eight-foot ceiling, use a 3-5-inch drop; nine-foot ceilings, use a 5-10-inch drop; ten or twelve-foot ceilings, use a 10-12-inch drop; and for a sixteen-foot ceiling, use an 18-25-inch drop.
Installing a larger molding will increase the price dramatically. The increased material cost combined with the complexities of installing crown on tall ceilings means the price of the installation goes up significantly for taller ceilings.
Whether you install the molding yourself or hire a professional depends on your time, tools, talent, and budget.
First, time: this project could take a skilled DIY and a helper 4 – 6 hours per room to complete; including caulking, priming, and painting, or staining and varnishing.
Second, tools: you will need a miter saw, coping saw, hammer or nail gun, level, tape measure, caulking gun, drill, putty knife, or a crown molding kit. A crown molding kit costs between $75 and $125 but makes it much easier to install the molding.
Third, materials: you need whichever molding material you decide on; nails, wood putty, caulk, and primer or stain, paint, or varnish. You can also buy pre-cut corners to make your job a little (maybe a lot for some) easier.
You can also save some money by hiring a carpenter for the installation and painting or staining the molding yourself.
Contractors will generally charge $250 to $500 per room to install crown molding. The cost of labor varies on project complexity, the room size, and the labor rates in your region.
We suggest getting several estimates for the project and compare the designs and costs. Try our carpenter locator to get several hassle-free estimates from great trim carpenters in your area.
You might also be interested in our trim molding calculator to estimate material for other types of trim.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.