Crown Molding For Cosmetic Truss Uplift Fix

gardenzFebruary 5, 2008

I've read (I think) as many posts as I could search here re truss uplift. It's not the definition that confuses me. I've been well acquainted w/it for the 20+ years I've lived in this house. :( I know the only proper way to "fix" it is to do the recommended work from the attic down. i.e. use the proper clips; 'detach' the nailed drywall from the truss, etc. We're both a bit compromised healthwise, so that kind of job is not an option. We could hire someone, but a 'fix' like that is quite expensive. Not to mention finding building contractors who are familiar w/the problem and familiar w/fixing it. (We had a leak in our bathroom ceiling a few years back and had to have it completely ripped out and re-sheetrocked. Figured w/the guts exposed, we might as well get that section of the usually 'uplifted' ceiling fixed. The contractor never heard of truss uplift! WE had to walk him and his guy through it! It came out okay in the end, but wasn't cheap by any means.)

So w/that route out, my only other alternative is cosmetic coverup w/crown molding. Which I'm fine with. I happen to like the addition of the crown. Problem is - despite all the recommendations on the web to do this, no one says exactly HOW you're supposed to just nail the crown to the ceiling. It's not like I can depend on hitting a stud like I would if I were nailing it to the wall. Plus the thought of a nail every three or four feet - or however long the distance between nails would be - sounds rather precarious to me.

We've been toying w/the idea of using one of those polystyrene formed moldings. There's one that sticks on w/a glue and another that's peel-n-stick. Admittedly, it would be a little less daunting to hold up an 6 or 8' section of poly than wood or wood composite. But I'd like to consider all the options for materials just the same.

So, does anyone - anyone - have any experience or knowledge of how to nail a crown to just the ceiling (if we have to go the wood route) and not have an 6 or 8' section come crashing down on my MIL's head next Christmas? And has anyone had experience with or knowledge of the poly moldings - either glue on or stick on?

Thank you for any help you can offer. Sorry for the long post. I figured the more info I supplied the more it might help . My kitchen remodel is hung up till we can square away this molding business. :(

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If I were to do that, I'd add a backer strip---a triangular piece along the ceiling/wall joint. That would allow you to find all the trusses and not have to worry about neatness. I would also use screws to install those strips. It is then a simple matter to install the crown to the backer with as many screws/nails as you feel are needed.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 7:15PM
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I can not help you on the installation of the crown molding but I can tell you what we did once our crown was up.

Every winter we have a truss uplift problem and we get gaps where the crown molding touches the ceiling. My builder claims he had not heard of truss uplift either.

I caulked it with Big Stretch caulk and have had no problems since. I have no affiliation with this product other than I am a consumer of it.
It stretches instead of cracking.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2008 at 11:15PM
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I'll have to try that caulk. I never heard of it before. I also have truss uplift.

If you install molding to hide it, nail it to either the joists OR the wall studs, not both. That way, it allows for the movement.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 8:26AM
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handymac, thank you for the suggestion. If it's what I think it is, I remember seeing it on This Old House's website where Tom Silva was putting up crown. He was going to nail it the normal way because the tutorial wasn't about truss uplift. But the same triangular-wedge 'cripple' could apply I think. The key, if I'm interpreting you correctly, is to nail the 'wedge' only to the ceiling and then nail the crown in the center of the wedge angling the nail up so as not to catch any of the wall. It's definitely worth a try. The only difficulty I can foresee is being able to nail that wedge into the ceiling and hoping the truss bottom (forget the term now) is right on top of - or at least overhanging a bit - the joist(?). You know, the structure at the top of the studs. Again, not sure of the term. If we don't catch that truss wood when nailing the 'wedge', which will be holding the crown, then we'd either be nailing into that joist and defeat the purpose or just nailing into ceiling drywall! I agree that those ring-shanks are the way to go for the wedge. So, perhaps that'll cover our a$$es if we don't catch wood.

lsst, I've heard about that 'stretchy' caulk. Never tried it though. I think seasons and seasons of using regular caulk - that ultimately separated - kind of shied us away from anything that even had the word "caulk" in it. :( But I'll check it out again. If you have the name of the product you used, I'd really appreciate it.

green-zeus, yes, that's the key to putting up crown for this purpose. Nailing it to the walls would defeat that purpose. As I said, the problem, thus far has been trying to figure out how to only nail it to the ceiling. The top nail surface on any crown doesn't leave much fudge room to nail w/o splitting the wood. But, handymac's suggestion sounds doable. At least it's worth a shot! :)

I'm still curious if anyone's tried that peel-n-stick or polystyrene formed crown. Maybe I should make a separate post for that. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 1:31PM
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The product is called Big Stretch and is made by Sashco.
I buy it at Ace Hardware as I have not seen it at the big box stores.
What sold me on it was several years ago in our last house, We had a door frame that was warped. There was a fairly large gap in the trim and every caulk I used would end up cracking as the seasons changed.

I bought the Big stretch caulk. I cleaned out the old caulk-put in a backer piece since the gap was large and used the Big Stretch. It stayed flexible and the crack did not reappear.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 2:28PM
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I have not used the peel n stick crown but have been thinking about using it in the upstairs bedrooms. We have some bay windows and it seems the polystyrene crown would be easier to cut for these areas.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2008 at 2:33PM
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I did some reading on that Big Stretch caulk. The company that makes it says you can caulk a 2" gap with it!! It says that the caulk won't crack--it just stretches and stretches. Very important when you have an active crack that keeps moving around.

It seems that only Ace Hardware carries it. The crack that I have from truss uplift, gets wide in winter and very small in the summer. So I need something that not only stretches, but is OK under compression. The liturature on this caulk says that it also withstands the compression factor.

Thanks to 1sst for the advice on this caulk.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2008 at 8:48AM
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Thank you so much lsst for providing the name of the 'stretchy' caulk and thanks green-zeus for the followup research on it. Ace never fails to amaze me. I've found products there in my little local Ace store that are nowhere to be found in the Big Boxes! I'll check them out this weekend.

BTW: We are going to go w/the peel & stick for a test at least. (See link below). I spoke w/the manufacturer and he said they have a no questions asked, full money back guarantee. If I'm not satisfied w/the product, I can rip it off he ceiling (the 2-1/2" only sticks to the ceiling so it's ideal for my situation) and crumple the stuff up if necessary and send it back to them!! I figure at that rate, it's worth a try.

Thanks again everyone. It may take awhile but I'll post back when we actually get something up on the walls/ceiling and it looks decent. :) We're just now beginning demo of our kitchen so it'll be awhile before we tackle the crown. At least I'm better prepared w/info now. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Easy Crown Molding

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 2:22PM
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I was planning on doing the crown molding fix to conceal the truss uplift too.
We were planning on using wood molding, nailing it to the ceiling, then using the Big Stretch caulk......

Any updates gardenz?? Did you test out the Peel and Stick stuff or did you end up using wood?


    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 10:06AM
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Used the Big Stretch this past weekend for my new crown molding.
Worked good. It is a little thinner than the caulk I use regularly (the stuff from Lowes/Home Depot) but it did the job. Hopefully, it will work as advertised and stretch/flex/expand.
I applied it only the seam where the crown meets the ceiling. The bottom portion of the crown sat pretty tight against the wall, so I didnt feel the need to put any caulk there. And I nailed the crown to the ceiling into the bottom truss chords. In some spots where the truss uplift wasn't too bad, I did put a few nails into the wall studs too.

The house looks so much better with the truss uplift cracks covered up......

Couple of pics:

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 11:08AM
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