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Taking tile all the way up to the ceiling in the master bathroom had an unanticipated puzzle: what on earth do I do with the crown molding as it transitions from the tiled shower to the wall? The answer was simple, but I’ll admit — I had to think on it…
**thinking to myself in 2010…** “How does a person paint stairs, exactly? Do you paint them and wait for it to dry? Good god, Sarah, that’s probably not it and you should never tell people you don’t know how to do basic things.”
Sometimes, in all honesty, there are the little things that I have to think about for a minute — like the time I had to load a giant box spring by myself onto a flatbed cart, or that time I realized that some drills use chuck keys — and then all of a sudden, it’s SO CLEAR what the solution is, I feel like an idiot for never realizing it in the first place. But then someone asks me the same question and I admire them for being brave enough to admit they didn’t know.
(*The stair solution, by the way, is here… and the box spring had to be loaded onto its side and at an angle to keep from tipping or bowing over the edge of the cart. I have my moments, folks.)
Anyway, today I wanted to cover a topic that I think has stumped more than one of us out there in internetland: when you tile a bathroom all the way up to the ceiling and plan to add crown, you suddenly have to figure out what to do once it’s at the ceiling.
Crown molding when you tile to the ceiling? lots of options
- Do you tile all the way up, add molding to just the walls, and skip the molding that would go in the shower?
- Or perhaps the exact opposite and leave the walls bare?
- Do you cut extra little pieces of molding to account for the “bump” when the wall transitions to tile (similar to how you would with larger wall corners)?
- Or maybe cut out some of the bottom of the crown molding to fit around the tile?
Transitioning crown molding between tile and drywall
If you were to search for this problem online, you would find people have tried every single one of the above for solutions to this same bathroom problem. Each had a few upsides, but some of them looked like they could wind up very frustrating to cut neatly (and I’d maybe go through a lot of pieces of crown before getting it right). But I found a different option that worked really well, and it was much simpler than complex cuts around the tile edge and looks (in my opinion) more professional than trying to stop the crown anywhere along the wall or tile.
The answer: baseboard!
First, I cut a small scrap piece of both baseboard and the crown molding I planned to use (just because it would be easier to make marks with a lightweight piece of scrap in one hand rather than try to lift it all just to get a visual). I flipped the piece of scrap baseboard upside down so that the routed “fancy” top edge was actually on the bottom.
This allowed me to get an idea of how much space to leave right at the ceiling so that the baseboard would stick out juuuuust enough below the crown once installed (about 1/2″). This is a fun little trick for getting crown to look a little beefier (which it definitely does), but it also solved my problem of getting the entire wall to sit all at the same depth.
And the rest was easy as pancakes.* With the wall and tile now (basically) the same thickness where I needed to attach the crown, I nailed everything in place with my pneumatic, save for a few swear words whenever I couldn’t get the angles right (I eventually did, and Sandra’s templates for crown molding are oh-so-helpful). I took a few quick shots in between attaching pieces so you can see what I mean.
I almost wound up taking a Dremel to shape out the vertical pencil tile where the edge of the subway meets the wall (because it was just a tiny bit thicker than the subway tile and baseboard), but the crown was flexible enough to fit right over it without trouble and the resulting gap filled easily with caulk.
And there you have it: a simple solution to an otherwise puzzling problem. It doesn’t hurt that this fix also makes the room look even more luxurious with a little thicker crown. :)
Have you ever found a simple solution to what you thought was going to be fussy at first? Do tell — I may learn something for another project!
*I’m writing this during dinnertime and I’m craving pancakes.