What is the right nail size for crown molding? 

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There are 2 main ways of installing crown molding; doing it by hand (hammer) or using a nail gun. Although both methods are fine, doing it by hand is more time-consuming. On the contrary, a finishing gun makes the crown molding installation faster and easy to get your nails straight. 

However, regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to consider the size of nails you use to secure the molding to the wall and ceiling. Nails that are too short may not secure the molding at all, while nails that are too large might damage your crown molding or the wall. 

But, what is the right size nail for installing crown molding? Well, continue reading this blog post to find out! 

Importance of using the right nail size for crown molding 

Nailing crown molding offers several benefits compared to other alternative methods like screws and glues. For instance, they’re more secure since they don’t loosen over time. On the same note, nails will not come loose if the crown molding is knocked or bumped. 

In addition, screws increase the chances of cracking or splitting the molding. This is not an issue with nails since they’re less likely to split or crack the molding compared to crown molding. 

Lastly, crown molding finish nails are much easier to remove than screws. So, if you’ve nailed your molding in place, it will be easy to remove if you ever wish to take it down. 

What’s the right nail size for crown molding? 

If you’re planning to nail crown molding, it’s important to figure out the right nails to use. However, before you make that decision, there are certain factors you need to consider. 

To start, studs are usually 3.5” and the drywall is ½”, while most types of crown moldings are ½” thick. Make sure you mark the location of the studs to properly secure the base of the molding to the wall. Also, you may opt to cut and install the profile backing/ baking strip before your nail the crown molding. 

If your molding installation includes a backing strip, you can nail the molding with 2” long 18-gauge finishing nails. If you drive a nail up at a steep angle to secure the crown to your backing material, fire the next horizontally right above. Although this technique will take more nails, it will secure your molding both to the wall and the backing strip.

However, if you’re not using a backing strip for whatever reason, you may want to increase the length and size of the nail. For instance, you can install the molding without backing strips using 2.5” long 16-gauge nails.  This will give you adequate nail penetration into the wall studs and hold your molding securely in place. 

For the outside corners, use a brad nail gun with 1” brad nails and glue. This type of nail doesn’t protrude from the back of the crown molding as it’s shorter than a finish nail.

Other methods of Installing crown molding 

Apart from nailing, there are other methods you can use to attach your crown molding to the wall and ceiling. For instance, you can use an adhesive such as Loctite power grab to install the molding. The only issue with this approach is that it’s not as secure as nails. Other than that, it will deliver a more finished look and reduce the chances of cracking or splitting your molding. 

To attach your molding with an adhesive, apply it to the back and press it into place. Make sure you apply adequate adhesive to create a strong bond. Also, hold the crown molding into place for a few minutes until the glue sets. 

Alternatively, you can use both nails and adhesive to attach the molding into place. The main benefit of the approach is that it provides a more secure bond compared to either technique used alone. It’s an excellent option for walls that are not perfectly straight. Besides, it involves using a finish nail and applying an adhesive to the back of the molding to secure it to the wall. 


After choosing the right nail sizes for your crown molding installation project, insert the nails into your molding at intervals of 16 – 24”. This will make sure that the crown molding is securely attached to the walls. However, the spacing of the nails may vary depending on the locations of the studs and joists within the ceiling and wall. 

In addition, you will need a finishing gun and a compressor to drive the nails into the ceiling and wall. As an alternative, you can use a hammer, but it will be time-consuming, less effective, and potentially dangerous. 

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