How To Install Crown Moulding And Trim With Wood Ceiling Beams

December 6, 2021

By: The Finished Space

Exposed wood ceiling beams, crown moulding, and trim are all beautiful design touches. They help bring attention to the details and can really make a design pop.

However, many people wonder if they can use these three elements together in the same space? Can you install wood ceiling beams with crown moulding or trim?

Here’s everything you need to know about visible beams with crown moulding:

The Purpose of Moulding and Trim

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Crown moulding and trim are both finishing touches. They’re decorative elements that help tie a room together and cover any gaps in building materials.

Trim refers to the material used around openings like doors, windows, floor intersections, or between walls and ceilings. Crown moulding is a type of trim that is most often placed on the point where the ceiling and wall meet.

These embellishments date back several generations – all the way back to the ancient Egyptians! The Greeks and Romans also used crown moulding, most often to signify nobility and status.

Today, they are beautiful decorative elements that cover the gaps where building materials come together (i.e. the gap between the wall and ceiling).

Can these elements be used in rooms with visible wooden beams on the ceiling?

The Rise of Visible Wooden Beams

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The Handmade Home

Homes with exposed wood beams are charming and fit several design aesthetics. From rustic farmhouses to classic craftsman-style homes, visible wooden beams can really elevate the look of a room.

Wood beams can serve as structural elements, but sometimes they’re added purely for the design appeal. Exposed beams add texture, dimension, and style to ceilings. In addition, they can help frame a room and bring all the style elements together. Can they be used alongside finishing elements like crown moulding and trim?

Can You Use Wood Ceiling Beams with Moulding?

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Pahlisch Homes

In short, yes. It’s not uncommon to see these two elements together. From wood beams with white crown moulding to wood beams with matching wooden trim, you can definitely use these two elements together to create a visually-stunning interior space. It can actually help faux wooden beams look more authentic!

As long as they’re applied thoughtfully, these two elements can blend well to create a beautiful final design. How can you install these two pieces together so that they work in harmony?

How to Install Trim Around Ceiling Beams

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If the wooden beams are on the ceiling for structural reasons, you’ll obviously have to cut your trim to fit around the beams. It’s a lot like installing crown moulding on coffered ceilings because you have to cut smaller pieces than you would on a traditional ceiling.

If you install the beams as a design element, you can technically install the moulding first, and install the faux beams on top. However, it won’t look as authentic

To ensure your beams look as authentic as possible, you’ll need to install the moulding the same way you would if the wooden beams were real.

The basic steps are as follows:

1. Measure and Mark

Take time to measure the space between each beam to determine the measurements for each piece of moulding. Think of each space between beams like a separate wall. You’re going to be measuring and fitting the pieces as if you’re doing a bunch of small walls versus how you’d normally measure.

Be sure to mark the measurements on your moulding or trim with a pencil because it will make the next step easier.

2. Cut the Moulding

Cutting crown moulding is always super tricky because you have to understand how the pieces fit together, and in this case, how the pieces will fit with the wooden beams, too.

Pieces that connect to a beam (either on one side or both) will be cut with a straight cut or a slight back bevel. A straight cut is just as it sounds, cutting straight through the face of the moulding. To add a slight back bevel you will use your miter saw to cut at an angle through the face of the crown with the finished face being slightly longer than the unfinished back. This creates a tighter seam when joining the crown to the beam. If the beam is not square and smooth and instead has some shape to it the moulding may need to be coped a bit to better fit the shape of the beam. 

For pieces that fall in the inside corners of the wall, you’ll be doing two inside corner cuts. To do this, you have to use a miter saw and cut the moulding at a forty five degree angle across the face (or width) of the crown in each direction. For the left side you’ll miter left keeping the left piece and for the right side you’ll miter right keeping the right piece. It is also best to add a slight bevel cut through the face of the moulding for a tighter seam when installed, this can be done in conjunction with the miter cuts in what is called a compound cut.

For pieces that fall on the outside corners of the wall, you will make the same cut as an inside corner, but you will put the bottom of the crown up against the fence of your saw. It is also ideal to add a slight bevel cut through the face of the moulding for a tighter seam when installed.

3. Test and Install

Make sure your pieces fit together correctly before installing them. Use glue or nails to attach the moulding and wipe away any extra glue. Take time to sand the joints until they are smooth.

4. Perfect the Look

Use putty to cover up any nail holes, and use caulk along the top, bottom, and sides of the moulding to make sure it’s flush with the ceiling, walls, and beams. If you need to paint or stain it, it’s best to do it beforehand, because it will be challenging to keep the paint off the beams. However, if you must paint or stain after installation, use extra precaution and painters’ tape around the wooden beams.

Beams with Crown Moulding: A Delightful Combination

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There’s no reason not to install trim around wood beams. When used thoughtfully, trim and crown moulding work wonderfully with wooden beams to add even more texture and visual intrigue to a space.

If you’d like help deciding which crown moulding or trim would look best with your style, give our system Option{M} a try today. It helps match you with the perfect finishing touches for your design.