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Expert Contributor


Making a kitchen cabinet upgrade to add contour and interest can, in some cases, be achieved without replacing the entire cabinet set by adding crown molding. Is it an easy job to accomplish? Quite frankly, the answer is both yes and no. It isn't a difficult job for the professional who has the experience and tools to conduct the job efficiently because they do it regularly, but it can be a bit of a task for a DIY kitchen remodel project.


Professional Tools Are Required

The main tool needed for crown molding is a miter saw, and it needs to be a nice one which makes perfectly clean and accurate cuts. The kind of miter saw you use for crown can be expensive, regardless of which method of cuts you decide to use.

The first method is to turn the molding upside down and set it at the proper angle, as if the miter saw's table was the ceiling and the fence were the wall, and make the cut at the proper angle as if cutting any other type of molding. The problem with this method is that not all miter saws are capable of making such cuts because of their size, and it's easy to make mistakes by cutting at the wrong angle since you're trying to visualize the piece while looking at it upside down and backwards.

The second method is with a sliding compound miter saw in which the molding is laid flat and cut with the miter set at 31.6 degrees and the bevel set at 33.9 degrees for a 90-degree angle. This method allows for small adjustments if the cabinets are a bit out of square or not perfectly plumb so you end up with a perfect fit. Of course, if your cabinets have 45 or 30/60-degree angle features incorporated you have to determine the proper miters and bevels accordingly.


Perfection With Cabinetry Compared to Room Moldings

Even if you have had success installing crown molding in rooms before, cabinetry requires a higher level of perfection in order to look right. Stained work especially, but even painted to some degree, can't be caulked the way regular crown against drywall is. Any imperfection is going to stand out as an obvious mistake that can only be fixed by starting over with a new piece.


Matching Stain Colors

The final challenge is matching stain colors. It requires a keen eye and intuitive knowledge of how stain colors will mix and react to the wood you're using to achieve a perfect match. The varnish may also need mixing and thinning to match the sheen of the original, as it has aged. It takes the experience of a professional wood finisher to achieve such an effect in a way the crown won't stand out as new comparative to the rest of the cabinets.



Adding crown molding to cabinetry is more difficult than installing crown in a living room. It can be a challenge even for a talented woodworker. A professional trim carpenter or cabinetmaker works with these issues on a regular basis and therefore practices the required skills and can approach the project with an efficiency that most do-it-yourselfers simply aren't going to have.


Andrew M. draws on his experience as a contractor and owner of a woodshop. In this position, he conducted design work and management of construction projects and performed property management while maintaining the technical aspect of the small business: advertising, sales, scheduling, and maintaining client relations. Most of his articles are oriented toward the construction trade, architectural field, real estate market, or small business operations that Drew has extensive experience with.