Learn how to attach crown molding from a cement ceiling. Find out how a Quick Clips system can allow you to hang decorative architectural moldings where you have a concrete ceiling.
LESLIE: Listening on 77 WABC, we’ve got Michael from Huntington (sp). What can we do for you?
MICHAEL: Yes, I bought a place in Manhattan and …
LESLIE: Ooh, congratulations.
MICHAEL: Thank you very much.
MICHAEL: It’s a lot more work than I thought it was going to be.
LESLIE: (chuckling) Always is.
TOM: (chuckling) Always is. (chuckling)
MICHAEL: A small place. It’s like 600 square feet. And he said it was going to be over $4,000 to put some crown moulding up.
TOM: Wow. (chuckling) Wow.
LESLIE: Did you pick a very ornate moulding or a really big one?
MICHAEL: Actually, I didn’t even pick the moulding yet. But he said because …
TOM: At that price, Leslie, he could put any moulding he wants in there. (chuckling)
LESLIE: Yeah, seriously.
MICHAEL: (chuckling) He said because the ceilings were cement …
TOM: Oh, OK.
MICHAEL: … he would have to do some kind of blocking system. I don’t even know what that is.
TOM: Basically, what he means is he’s going to have to attach blocks to the upper corners between the ceiling and the wall to give him something to nail to. It’s going to be very difficult to put crown moulding  in a cement surface like that. I mean it can be done. Crown moulding is tricky when you have wood walls and ceilings. When you have cement walls and ceilings it’s even more difficult. So you might want to think about some other type of finish option aside from the crown moulding.
LESLIE: I mean it can be done but it’s going to be extensive work.
TOM: I don’t know if – I mean $4,000 still sounds like a whole lot of money to me but …
LESLIE: Yeah but it’s something that Michael could probably do himself. You know, if you’ve got a hammer drill and you’ve got some Tapcons, you can put in those supports.
TOM: Yeah, they’re basically wood blocks and they give you something to nail to. Cutting and installing crown moulding is probably one of the more difficult carpentry jobs. It certainly is not a – you know, the first job you ever want to tackle. Because you have to – to cut it, you have to sort of work upside down and backwards …
TOM: … and you have to sort of think that way as you’re putting it up. Because every one – every corner has a compound angle.
MICHAEL: Is there a less expensive option in terms of – somebody was saying like particle board that you can glue it up.
LESLIE: No, what about the Quick Clips?
TOM: Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. I think it’s called Focal Point. And they make a system called the Quick Clips Crown Moulding System  which basically works on a clipping system where you install the clips and then you snap the moulding to it. That’s probably an option for you. Or what about a decorating option, Leslie? What about a paint treatment? What about using somewhat of a painted border or something of that nature?
LESLIE: Well, you could paint something. I actually just did a story for House Beautiful in their March issue where I painted a crown moulding in a very theatrical sort of styling. And it was very whimsical but it’s darling and it’s beautiful. It might not be exactly what you’re looking for but there are options. You can go with painting a – you know, if the walls – are the walls drywall?
MICHAEL: The walls are drywall but they’re backed by concrete.
LESLIE: Because what you could do is let’s say maybe about six inches down or less from the ceiling, you could attach a very small profile moulding; almost like the traditional picture rails that they used to put in older homes …
LESLIE: … and then paint that and the area above it the same color as the ceiling, which will also help make the ceiling look taller. And then that could be easy to attach because you’re going just – since it’s so small and not weighty, you could actually just toenail that into the drywall; as long as you don’t hang anything from it.
MICHAEL: Right. Right, right. Oh, that’s actually a very good option.
TOM: There you go. And it’s less expensive than four grand.
MICHAEL: (chuckling) Yeah.
LESLIE: Yeah, seriously.
TOM: Thanks so much for calling us 1-888-MONEY-PIT. 888-666-3974.