Crown Molding and Uneven Ceilings

alwaysfixinFebruary 13, 2010

We are still in the planning stages of our kitchen. But we know we are having cabinets go up to the 8' ceiling, along with minimal crown molding, about 3". The house was built in the '50's, and I am sure the ceiling is uneven by about 1"-1.5" from one end to the other. I remember old threads on this forum discussing in detail the technique of using crown molding to disguise the difference in ceiling height so that the cabinets appear to meet the ceiling with no difference evident. But I don't remember what the method is. I would very much appreciate someone reviewing the technique. We will be mostly DIY, so feel free to go into as much detail as possible!

TIA!

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patty_cakes

You might find your answer.....

Here is a link that might be useful: here.....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 5:57PM
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alwaysfixin

Thanks Patty_Cakes for that link. But I also think there were some other solutions that GWer's posted, and I seem to recall it had something to do with the crown molding itself. I am hoping someone on this forum will provide their advice. TIA.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 10:51AM
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Circus Peanut

Well, you'll have to scribe the crown itself no matter what. The technique you may be thinking of is to attach a piece of flat board that joins cabinet top and crown, and that's where the difference is taken up (rather than trimming down the crown which is a lot more noticeable).

Others will have better examples, but here's our shaker crown with the flat trim board, in our case the board is 5" high, but it can be as little as 1". There's a good 1/2" difference in the ceiling from front to back of the cabinet here:

    Bookmark   February 14, 2010 at 11:00AM
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alwaysfixin

Thanks Circuspeanut! That is helpful. Anyone else have any examples or input?

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:37PM
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billp1

We plan on having our contractor pull down all our sheet rock from the ceilings and the walls in our kitchen and that way we would know that the kitchen is square and the ceiling is level.

More cost but better in the long run.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 2:51PM
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svwillow1

Hope that helps, however it is not usually the sheetrock that is the problem, but rather the studs, rafters, or joists. I suppose he can shim the sheetrock to try and square it up, but that's just asking for future nail pops. If the walls and ceilings aren't square to begin with, new sheetrock probally isn't going to help.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 4:23PM
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cali_wendy

We have exactly the same issue. Our kitchen is almost done. Our cabinet guy added extra wood in the biggest gaps and used bondo on everything. Now all of the caulking is cracked at the ceiling (I think due to contraction of the wood when it got cold) and now it just looks like a mess. Would love to hear more advice on this issue!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2010 at 7:43PM
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alwaysfixin

Hi everyone. I am bumping this thread in hopes that there's more forum "traffic" on a Saturday, and I'll get some more advice on this issue. TIA!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 10:45AM
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sombreuil_mongrel

If you are in the planning stage, "plan" on taking down the ceiling drywall/plaster, and make the framing level before the new drywall (use 5/8) goes up. You can install crown in spite of an unlevel ceiling, but it does nothing to hide the fact. Most crown molding can be lightly scribed (1/8") around low spots so that the crown's lower edge remains straight, and the caulk joint to the ceiling remains minuscule, but there's no way it can conceal inches-worth of problems.
Casey

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:20AM
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neumamom

We had brand new sheetrock and the ceiling joists were redone and we still ended up with an uneven ceiling. They put in shims and caulked and it still cracked. I guess we will have to do some touching up. It helps that the crown molding is white though and less visible.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 11:31AM
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pinch_me

After we stripped out to the studs, it became apparent the whole room wall to wall, floor to ceiling was way off. The ceiling looks like a roller coaster ride. But, my house was built in 1880 and I think it adds character. My new do camouflages it a lot. I don't know how bad the cabinet/ceiling issue will be. Tomorrow is day 1 for that.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2010 at 10:47PM
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buehl

We used 3-piece crown molding on our cabinets...but we have 6" of crown, not 3". The problem you may have is that the shorter the crown molding, the more noticeable height differences are.

Anyway, this is our crown molding design...

Notice the 3 pieces. The middle piece ("Stock-S") is a flat filler piece that goes b/w the two detailed pieces ("Crown" and "Soffit A"). The Stock/filler piece is what changes based on ceiling height...the other two pieces are exactly the same throughout the kitchen, regardless of ceiling evenness.

In your case, you could try eliminating the bottom piece ("Soffit A"), use a narrow piece for the top ("Crown"), and use a filler/stock piece in the middle to accommodate ceiling differences.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 1:46AM
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brickeyee

" I suppose he can shim the sheetrock to try and square it up, but that's just asking for future nail pops."

Shimming is a real PITA.

It is faster and provides a flatter surface to sister 2x2 (half a 2x4) to the sides of the existing joists so that the new surface is flat.

I use a laser level and a piece of scrap with the difference between laser and the bottom of the new wood to make sure the surface created is flat and level.

An air nailer is really required to get the job done.

The same trick works for walls on old studs, though you need a laser that can also project a vertical line.

Use screws to attach the new drywall and there should not be any nail pops.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 8:48AM
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