Crown Molding in the Bathroom

Posted by

Crown Molding in the Bathroom

Is crown molding in the bathroom a promising idea?  When remodeling a bathroom, clients sometimes ask about crown molding in the bathroom.  They generally like the idea and already have crown molding in other parts of their home.

Installing Crown Molding in the Bathroom Depends on Several Conditions

There are four important conditions to consider when thinking about installing crown molding in the bathroom.

  • Ceiling height
  • Ventilation
  • Crown molding material
  • Paint

Before you consider installing crown molding in the bathroom, measure the height of your ceiling from the floor

Crown Molding in the BathroomThe ceiling height in your bathroom is important for several reasons.  Depending on the other three factors, a ceiling less than 8-feet is too low for crown molding in the bathroom.  Moisture rises and collects on the ceiling. 

The lower the ceiling the faster condensation will collect.  This is especially true in single-story homes during the winter.  The thermal dynamics of a cold attic and hot water from the shower below will cause increased amounts of condensation on the bathroom ceiling.  This can easily damage your crown molding.  If not properly sealed and painted, mold and other harmful pathogens will grow behind the crown molding and into your walls.

Many bathrooms in South Orange County have ceiling heights of just over 7-feet.  Crown molding would look massive and overbearing in bathrooms with such low ceilings.  It would also likely interfere with the door casing and HVAC register.

Crown Molding in the Bathroom and Vaulted Ceilings

Bathrooms with vaulted or cathedral style ceilings should not install crown molding.  This is also true if you have a room that ends by connecting to another room with a different ceiling height.  If you install crown molding in either of these situations, it will probably not fit or look good.  Why?  Crown molding needs a distinct starting and stopping point, ideally going around a room in both directions and meeting again.

Ventilation when Installing Crown Molding in the Bathroom

Crown Molding in the BathroomIf your bathroom does not have an exhaust fan or a properly sized or working exhaust fan, do not install crown molding.  Many homes constructed before the year 2000 do not have exhaust fans in the bathroom.  If there is an exhaust fan, it is typically not properly sized for the bathroom space.

Today, all rooms with a shower, tub/shower, or bathtub must have an exhaust fan.  It does not matter if you have a window.  You must have an approved Title 24 energy and moisture efficient exhaust fan.

Without the correct exhaust fan, moisture will collect on the crown molding.  This condensation will penetrate the surface and enter the crown molding.  When this happens, bacteria, mold, and mildew will grow and eat away at both the crown molding and your house.  These harmful effects will likely go unnoticed for years.  By the time the damage is visible, the costs to repair and to your health can be substantial.

Crown Molding in the Bathroom and its Material Composition

There are basically three types of crown molding.  These are Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF – sawdust and glue), wood, and foam (Polystyrene).  Wood is further broken down by finger joint and solid.  Except for stain grade crown moldings, all crown typically comes pre-primed white.  Warning – all paint grade crown must be primed before painting.  The primer that is applied to crown by the manufacturer is a heavy bonded primer.  Its primary purpose is to fill holes and blemishes to create a smooth exterior.

MDF Crown MoldingMDF is the most popular by a wide margin.  Why?  It has the lowest cost of all the crown moldings.  It is also the least durable.  MDF is quickly and easily damaged in high moister environments.

It cuts clean and has the most styles available.  Paint with any high-quality urethane alkyd or acrylic latex paint.

Pine Crown MoldingSolid wood crown moldings come in a variety of wood species, sizes, and patterns.  Solid wood can be combined to create one of kind molding buildups.

High quality solid wood crown is smooth and displays a consistent surface free from knots.  It comes ready to finish using a high-quality stain or paint.  Paint must be high quality urethane alkyd, latex, or oil based.

Foam Crown Molding in the BathroomFoam is light weight, durable, and is impervious to moisture and insects.  Foam will not rot or mold.  Most foam is meticulously extruded and has a sharp, clean, smooth surface.

Foam crown molding is made from 100% recycled high density Polystyrene.  Paint with any high-quality urethane alkyd or acrylic latex paint.

What about the size of crown molding in the bathroom?

The width of the molding depends on the height of the ceiling. If your bathroom ceiling is 8 feet tall, look for crown moldings that are 3 to 5 inches wide.  If your ceiling is 9 to 10 feet, consider moldings that are 5 to 7 inches wide.  Over 10 feet—you can choose moldings up to 12 inches wide.

How much does crown molding cost?

Crown molding is sold by the linear foot (LF).  Width, detail, and quality of materials used during the manufacturing process have a significant impact on cost.  The price for common 3-inch-wide crown molding is about:

  • Solid Wood, pine, finger joint – $3.07 per LF
  • Foam – $2.66 per LF
  • Solid Wood, pine – $2.64 per LF
  • MDF – $1.23 per LF

Painting Crown Molding in the Bathroom

As mentioned earlier, most paint grade (MDF and wood) crown molding comes pre-primed white.  This is a bit of a misnomer.  The primer is a filler.  Its primary purpose as a heavy bonded primer is to make the exterior of the crown smooth and free of blemishes.  Although very appealing to the touch and eye, this allows manufacturers to use lower grade materials and manufacturing processes when making their crown.  The “primer” then hides the substandard crown.  I have seen this in almost all the crown I’ve worked with from Asian countries.

An experienced installer can guide you to the better-quality products.  To the inexperienced eye, it all looks the same.  The only difference being price.

Prior to painting any crown molding, you must properly prepare the surface using an appropriate ultra-premium primer.  Skipping this critical step and your crown molding will not long survive the high moisture environment typically found in bathrooms.

Always use a premium high-quality urethane alkyd or acrylic latex paint on MDF, painted wood, and foam crown.  On stain grade crown, use a high-quality stain and clear oil-based Spar Urethane.

Always Hire a Reliable and Dependable Contractor to Remodel your Bathroom

Design Build Bathroom Remodel | Best Local Contractor DAD's ConstructionAlways work with a trustworthy contractor like DAD’s Construction.  We are experts in bathroom remodeling who can manage projects in an efficient manner.  DAD’s Construction will do everything to minimize the possibility of change orders.  Our team will make sure we have all the necessary information to prepare a proposal that meets your requirements.  Rest assured that we will provide you with a detailed, by line-item contract.  We will make sure that the contents of this agreement are properly and clearly communicated to you.  If you have questions or need updates regarding your project, we will always answer your inquiries.

How Can I Receive More Information on Remodeling my Bathroom?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

DAD’s Construction

“Taking Care of Your Home . . . The Way We Would Our Own”