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Installing Kitchen Cabinet Crown Molding

kkjim's picture

Caught between installer and designer...HELP!


(Both have experience in install and design)


A debate has stalled my kitchen install over the method used to install the crown molding.


Situation:  Kitchen and laundry remodel.  Corwn intended only for the kitchen.  Installer accidentally began installing crown in laundry.  1/2 the room is done.  Now we don't have enought to finish the laundry or the kitchen.


Designer says:



  • Installer didn't read drawings.

  • Installer shot (brad nailed) crown directly onto face frame of partial overlay cabinets.  This means it can't be removed without unsightly touch ups to face frame.  Now the overlay of the doors is unbalanced/unequal reveals (1" exposed frame on sides and bottom, 0" at top.)

  • Installer should have used mounting blocks on top of face frame, and attached crown to blocks.

  • This was a "lazy" way of installing.

Installer says:



  • Yes, drawings showed no crown in laundry, it was a mistake.

  • He always attaches crown to the face frame (partial overlay only)

  • That the point about the exposed frame/reveals is not a valid point, and has no bearing on the method of install.

  • Attaching crown directly to the face frame is not only common, but appropriate.

  • Designer is trying to make him look bad.

Additionally,



  • How tight is "tight enough" on a crown corner?  How tight where crown meets wall?

  • Is it acceptable/common to leave brads visible, and not touched up?

Any input is welcome...I just want a reasonable quality job, and don't want to be taken advantage of.


 

(post #93046, reply #1 of 50)

Did you buy the cabinets from the installer or designer?


 


Is the installation being provided by the designer?


 


Did the designer recommend the installer?


 


Does the designer have a showroom where you saw the crown detail you want?


_________________________________________________________


If you were arrested for being a quality builder would there be enough evidence to convict you?


Edited 7/25/2003 11:28:02 AM ET by GEOB21

If you were arrested for being a quality builder would there be enough evidence to convict you?

(post #93046, reply #2 of 50)

i've installed kitchen cabinets for 15 years and those errors sound like an installation problem to me


all fasteners for cabinet installation should not be visible except on opening the cabinet doors, this is from my installation manual from my cabinet manufacturer and includes nails for crown and valance


miters in all trim can and should be perfect with no fillers or gaps


mitering and installing prefinished trim is tricky, i regularly wil recut a miter 1/2 degree for a perfect fit, its part of the job and not that difficult


anybody can screw boxes to the wall, the sign of a good tradesman is in the finely fitted trimwork


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #3 of 50)

sorry forgot last question


an end of a piece of crown on cabinets should require NO caulking, ie the return piece should be scribed to fit the wall or an appropiate piece mitered in to fill the gap


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #4 of 50)

I do not nailing blocking and then install the crown; I install directly to the face frame, unless the plans show something different. But shooting the crown right on top of the cabinet doors sound really cheezy to me. Probably need to me pulled off, holes patched and crown re-installed.

Running out of crown is a stupid mistake, but certainly not the worst I have ever seen. I would have the installer pay for replicating the crown. Hopefully it is stock, and this is a $4 a foot problem. If not, knives will have to be made and the molding made on a sticker or molding machine.

One poster said it was pre-finished crown, but I didn't notice that on the post. If it is, then someone (???) needs to fill the holes with putty and give the area a wash coat finish like a light lacquer or a 50-50 varnish-spirits coat. Who was contractually responsible? If it is not in the installers contract, then the GC or the homeowner has to arrange for finishing the millwork.

Bottom line: Sounds like poor installation, crown should be ripped off, holes patched, new crown purchased, and re-installed under supervision of GC or designer, whoever is being paid for supervision. Also, some of this is your fault--you need to hire a single person to be solely responsible for a task, like a GC. If you hired the installer then it is up to you to supervise him. So like one of the posters, I need to know more information to affix blame.


Regards,

Boris

"Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

Regards, Boris "Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

(post #93046, reply #5 of 50)

i have to disagree with you on one point


a qualified cabinet installer knows how to install crown molding above cabinets just like a trim carpenter knows how to hang a door or a framer knows how to build a wall


wether the cabinets are face frame or euro style, nofasteners should be visible and thus, brads do not have to covered


miters in prefinished cabinets' crown should be precisely mitered and scribed, joints are glued with tape of some kind to hold the miters together until dry(i use packing tape)


if the job is done properly no fillers or putties are required


like i said before, anyone can screw cabinets to a wall, the pride in my work is in flawless trim


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #7 of 50)

Steve, how is trim attached to millwork without visible fasteners?

Call me a wood butcher, but I just shoot nails and cover the holes with carefully color selected putty and do a wash coat. I read your post about no visible fasteners, and while I am not a full time cabinet installer, I have been in remudling for jeez, about 29 years, and I am at a loss as to how one would do this.

Now I build furniture, and would attach trim with bisquits or dowels or splines. I don't think I would do that except on the highest end cabinets, as one would have to glue and clamp, which is challenging for crown on a free standing cabinet, and darn near impossible on built in casework.

Help me out here, seriously. Maybe I can lern somthin.

I agree with you on the coping of miters etc.


Regards,

Boris

"Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

Regards, Boris "Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

(post #93046, reply #10 of 50)

i install many kitchens a year, usually one a week or so, and have never had fasteners visible except when opening a cabinet door


i do mostly euro style cabinets and my crown has a flange that sits on the top of the cabinet for nailing, either from inside the cabinet or down from the top, if its a face frame, i place blocking behind the frame to make it flush


i never nail a miter closed, glue is all i ever use, if the joint wont close easily, then the miter has to be recut


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #13 of 50)

Aha, the flange!

Is that a shop built and glued piece of wood, or some piece of metal?

Never heard of such a thing. Interesting.


Regards,

Boris

"Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

Regards, Boris "Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

(post #93046, reply #14 of 50)

wow this conversation is quicker than email!!


yes the prefinished crown from my suppliers has built in 1 inch by 1/2 flange for fastening


of course this is the only way to fasten without visible fasteners


if i was faced with a prefinished molding with no flange, i'd either glue on a flange of some kind, or face nail, depending on the wood species, oak for exxample is easy to hide 18 ga nails, maple or cherry of course much more difficult


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #20 of 50)

Steve,


The method being argued as the preferred method is as follows...



  • Attach a 3/4" x 3/4" x (cabinet width minus 1") wood block to the top edge of the face frame, by screwing/shooting from above.  This can be done prior to install of each cabinet.  This is also done to outside/end faces. (The block is cut shorter than the width to prevent any potential overlap...)

  • After hanging of the cabinet, crown can now be cut, and mounted to the "mounting block" without the need to face nail into the face frame, and maintaining the full reveal above the door.

The designer (who also has been an installer) states firmly that this method works for both full and partial overlay cabinets, does not jeopardize the face frame, maintains the reveal, and allows future changes without damaging cabinets, etc.


The argument is very persuasive...any thoughts?

(post #93046, reply #21 of 50)

"The method being argued as the preferred method is as follows..."

Why is the $%#&$ do you care?

Really that is a serious question. Did you contract for cabinets with the intention that you would be the arbritrator of differeent installation methods?

Or did you contract with the big box store to have certain set of cabinets designed and installed in a workman like method.

I think that latter.

In that case you SHOULD NOT BE IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS.

The big box store is working for you. The designer and the installer are working for the BBS.

Tell the designer that is it there problem to get fixed. And if that does not happen the next step is to go to higher ups in the BBS.

The next time that the installer or the designer try to get in you the middle of it tell than that you standard construction consultation fees are $100 an hour and as soon as they sign a contract you will discuss it.

. William the Geezer, the sequel to Billy the Kid - Shoe

(post #93046, reply #23 of 50)

Thanks for boiling this down to the base issue.  I am taking that stand.


But...


I also believe in being an educated consumer, and am truly interested in learning about this. (Especially since it represents a major purchase for us.)  That is why I keep asking for some type of published standard or reference.


I have even been looking at a copy of the millwork standards published by the Architectural Woodwork Institute, but can find no specific reference to acceptable install methods.  (Although they do address the allowable gap)


So, I am still soliciting input from anyone willing to give it.  And I do sincerely appreciate all of it.

(post #93046, reply #24 of 50)

Another Big Box saga!

;)

The open mitre is not quality installation. But you will be hard put to find a book that says so. Like defining obscenity, a decent person knows it when he sees it. A good carpenter recognizes bad work but a hack says, "That's the way I always do it." expecting you to accept it that way.

I always use blocks added to top of cab in manner described by the designer. Photo below shows how it can look. I do shoot nails to install the crown but filllwith putty stick on prefinished stock cabs. Custom units we build have no exposed fasteners.

I agree that it's the retailers mess to deal with. your job is to be loud and persistent until they make you happy.

Incidentally, in this photo, there is evidence of a home center designers mistake. Anybody see what it is?


.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

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(post #93046, reply #25 of 50)

Appreciate your input, and am very interested in this "mistake"...


I won't ask you to reveal it yet, I don't want to spoil your fun!

(post #93046, reply #26 of 50)

Off set in the crown.


Crown incorrectly sized.


Corner cab too shallow.


All of the above.


Edited 7/26/2003 12:59:05 AM ET by IMERC

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #93046, reply #28 of 50)

This came from a big box that is no longer in business but the designer went to work for _________!

So we can expect more of the same.

I did layout and design of this kitchen no less tha eight times as we were building the house, none of them satisfactory designs for the lady owner. I finally told her to give the box a try, not believing they could come up with anything better. This is what she ordered.

It is the size of the corner unit. It should have been the 14" size instead of the 12" one. Then the side units would have needed to be smaller to fit into their respective spaces.

The crown would have stopped the corner door from openning. We did some head scratching and did what you see. The owner just told us, "Of course it will work. It's just like the one on disply at the store."

I took a trip to town to see how they did it. They had one with tops all aligned at same height and another with bumped up top in corner that had no crown. The manufacturer also offered a 14" unit for this application but the designer didn't read her book.

This kitchen has always stuck in my craw because I offered so many solid workable layouts that werre rejected. The house is for sale now and the real estate agent told me, "That one will be hard to sell because of the way she had you do that kitchen."

Just as I was finishing the cab installation, the husband suggested changing it because of the bads it had. his wife said, " You just be quiet. Piffin and I worked hard to design this!"

Man did I ever bite my tongue! Then I said something like, "Well, this is a little different than any of my ideas..."

;)

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #93046, reply #29 of 50)

In all I shouldn't P&M to much about BB subs. Some of them have been profitable for me. Same for hacks.


On the other hand I wish I'd be compinsated for every time I've heard "at the BB they want x$ for almost the same thing" or "they wil install it for X$." "That is their business they know what they are talking about."


I just say "Enjoy" or something to that affect and go on about my way.


Didn't say any thing about the cab elevation because I thought that was more than likely part of the plan. 

"Some days it's just not worth chewing through the restraints"

(post #93046, reply #27 of 50)

The center cabinet height stands out like a sore thumb. I see why the crown has a joint and bend in each side. If you ran the crown straight you couldn't open the door. I would have the cabinet height shortened or left the crown off. I realize it could take weeks to get another cabinet of the correct height but may be the best option.


Mike

(post #93046, reply #30 of 50)

microwave cabinet should be all finished veneer?


 


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #31 of 50)

and the larger raised cabinet should have been deeper


in my cabinet language the regular uppers are say 1230 wall and a regular corner cabinet would be a 2430 WA, ie 24 wide by 30 wall angle, if a taller cabinet is used in the corner it should be a 2736 WA which would have 15 inch gables instead of 12


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #32 of 50)

here's what I do in this situation...


greg

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(post #93046, reply #33 of 50)

this is what you end up with if your corner cab is deeper than adjacent cabinets.(Or at least what I end up with...)

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(post #93046, reply #34 of 50)

i agree, thats the best solution and what i usually do

caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #40 of 50)

I like the larger corner cab better. Your return is similar to my solution but finer. Looks good, craftsmanshipwise, but IMO it still speaks a a lack of planning design.

.

Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #93046, reply #41 of 50)

Now, you all are just funnin' withthis guy, right? I mean, everybody knows SRscrews into the face of the crown is the only way to go!

(post #93046, reply #6 of 50)

Additional Details:



  • Cabinets purchased and installed through major home improvement retailer.

  • Designer works for retailer, installer is subcontractor.

  • Trim is pre-finished to match cabinets.

Regarding the crown joints...



  • The primary joint in question has a 1/16" gap between wood to wood joint, and an offset of about 1/16".  The gap is the full height of the joint (ie. no part actually touches in the front.  This is the return joint on a 12" wall cabinet, and at the wall gaps 3/16".

Can anyone point me to, or email me, a reference source to show this guy?  I have looked through a number of books, and am hoping to find some professional/authoratative reference.

(post #93046, reply #8 of 50)

OK, go back to the big box where you bought this stuff. They are solely responsible for your mess. They hired a decent designer and ####c r a p p y installer. Show them pictures and tell them you are not satisfied. Write letters, and if necessary sue the b a s t a r d s in small claims court. Get a local cabinet maker to testify for you.

A sixteeth of an inch gap is actually fairly huge for stain grade trim. It is really pretty bad for an inside miter joint; heck even I could get a miter to within a 32nd. If properly coped, and no big box installer would fool with that, you won't be able to slip a playing card between the mating pieces.

I'm with you on this all the way.


Regards,

Boris

"Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

Regards, Boris "Sir, I may be drunk, but you're crazy, and I'll be sober tomorrow" -- WC Fields, "Its a Gift" 1934

(post #93046, reply #9 of 50)

I agree with Boris.  Get the big box involved and threaten them with having the credit card company refuse payment unless done right.


You gets what you pay for.  In this case, the shaft from the Big Box.


A competent, qualified installer that is paid what he is worth would never let this happen.  Bottomline, he's not getting paid the going rate.  Either the box has screwed him to work for less and he has an attitude, or the box has subbed the job out to a "less than professional."


 

(post #93046, reply #11 of 50)

a sixteenth?????????????


that guy was no cabinet installer


if you like i will go back to the job i just finished today and shoot some pics of crown installation for your case, let me know


caulking is not a piece of trim

caulking is not a piece of trim

(post #93046, reply #18 of 50)

Do the pictures, but I think you need to show me in person if you can do that good of an installation. My cabinets should be ready to install in about 10 days.You can have one day off to sightsee and go to the beach.........................................................LOL. your quote makes me laugh!

"I am not young enough to know everything."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

"I am not young enough to know everything."
- Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)