Fastening Crown Molding to Walls
I have hung literally miles of ultra light 5-1/4" crown over the last 10 or 12 years using 16's. I only use the nail gun to quickly shoot the crown in place and in the corners where hand nailing would tend to screw up the joint. It really doesn't take much longer doing it this way versus dragging a hose around and searching for studs and joists. The painters like this too since there are fewer nail holes to fill.
From contributor B:
I start a crown job by having a helper or myself with a stud finder, a roll of masking tape to mark studs (if walls are not going to be painted later) and a finish nail and hammer. Although I trust the stud finder, if you find one not on your standard 16" or 24" spacing, check it with the nail. Call me old fashioned, but that time is worth a sudden puddle on the floor. In my earlier days, I used to fire away with the longest nail I could fit into a 15 gauge. Now I use the shortest nail and smallest gauge I feel will give me enough hold.
Now to your MDF - get a couple tubes of Powergrab made by Loctite. It is a white construction adhesive that goes on like a latex painter's caulk and it is water based. Hit the top and back edge with a thin bead. Just wipe it up quick, within a minute or so - it tacks up fast and harder than caulk. With this stuff you can shoot 1-3/4" 18 gauge brads - minimize the metal you're shooting at pipes or wire, and not worry again about movement or crown pulling away. Any home center will have it near caulk and the liquid nails.
From contributor C:
I've installed paint-grade crown for over 20 years with absolutely no regard whatsoever for stud locations and cross nailing with shorter nails. I have been back into projects I completed 10-15 years ago and the crown is still right where I put it. The amazing thing with paint-grade is that the caulk applied by the finisher holds better than nails. Now, stain grade is a completely different story altogether.
To contributor A: I can't in my wildest dreams imagine putting up crown using hand nails. You must have some fantastic pay scales where you are to afford doing that. Besides, one miss with the hammer and you've ruined a piece of moulding. I will be the first to stand up and say I lost the ability to hand-nail back in the 70's and my thumbs thank me every day.
From contributor D:
I've used paneling adhesive, it is hold strong in just about 30 seconds, but it little hard to apply. About the Powergrab that contributor B mentioned, it sound good and I'll sure give it a try in my next project.
From contributor E:
I usually find the studs and the ceiling joist direction. For the walls that the joists run parallel to, I cut triangle blocks and glue and nail them to the studs. I use 2 x 4 material about a quarter of an inch shy of the crown projection.
From contributor F:
I did my entire house in Florida (metal studs maybe every 3 feet or so) hanging 7" crown using 1-1/2" paslode brads cross shot every 6-8" top and bottom. Caulked everything in and no problems whatsoever in 3 years. It looks great.
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Comment from contributor G:
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