Should I Install Crown Molding and What Does it Cost?
Adding crown molding is a great way to add style and elegance to your home. Crown molding is a relatively inexpensive upgrade that adds a lot of polish, and it’s also an attractive selling feature that can set your home apart from others.
Any upgrade is likely to add value to your home, but it’s nearly impossible to say how much value – if any – crown molding will add. The value may be just that the house is more attractive to potential buyers, not a specific dollar amount.
Should I Install Crown Molding?
Generally, adding crown molding is a good use of home improvement dollars if:
- You plan to stay in the home for the foreseeable future and appreciate the look that crown molding provides.
- Your house is otherwise upgraded and you view crown molding as an important finishing or decorative touch.
- Comparable homes in your neighborhood have crown molding but yours does not (provided that you like the look).
- You have plenty of equity in the home.
Crown molding is not a wise investment if:
- You’re not particularly enthusiastic about the look but assume that crown molding is necessary to attract potential buyers.
- You’re counting on recouping the entire cost of crown molding at resale. (There are definitely no guarantees.)
- Your house is badly in need of major upgrades such as kitchen or bathroom renovations. If that’s the case, buyers are less likely to notice small upgrades like crown molding.
- You owe more on your house than it is worth.
Cost to Install Crown Molding
The price to have crown molding professionally installed depends on the quality, price, thickness and type of the crown molding; the number of lineal feet to be installed; the difficulty of the job (i.e. how many corners have to be cut); whether you’re also having the crown molding painted or stained; and local labor rates.
Very generally, budget anywhere from $200 to $800 per room for labor and materials.
The crown molding itself is typically the greatest expense, but prices vary widely:
- Polystyrene foam molding, the least expensive option, costs about $1 to $2 per lineal foot, not including labor. This product is easy to install, so labor costs tend to be lower than with other kinds.
- Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) crown molding also starts at about $1 per lineal foot for materials, but it can easily range upwards of $3 per foot.
- Wood crown molding starts at less than $1 per lineal foot for materials, but quality woods are usually priced in the $2.50 to $6 range. Wood is also more expensive to install because the process is more difficult.
- High-end moldings, including exotic woods, custom-designed moldings, moldings with ornate designs, and moldings with bronze, silver or gold finishes can cost $10 to $15 per lineal foot for materials alone.
Labor generally adds anywhere from $2 to $6 per lineal foot, depending on the complexity of the project, the type of molding you choose and local labor rates. Keep in mind that this is just meant to be a guideline, though – you could pay more or less.
Choosing a Contractor
You can hire a carpenter or handyman to install your crown moldings, or you can look for a company that specializes in molding and trim work (assuming DIY is not an option). Here are some tips for finding the right professional for the job.
- Always seek quotes from multiple contractors in your area to compare prices. Throw out any bids that come in unusually high or low. You want a fair price, but companies that bid too low tend to cut corners.
- If you’re having wood crown molding installed and the installation requires working around a lot of doors, objects and corners, consider hiring a carpenter for the job. You’re likely to pay more, but carpenters are experts in woodworking while a general handyman may not have the same level of expertise.
- Do some background research on any carpenter, handyman or company you’re considering. Ask for references and call them. Check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the company has a website and a legitimate mailing address – fly-by-night companies often do not.
- Always get a cost estimate in writing before agreeing to any work. Find out exactly what the estimate includes – materials, labor, both?