Welcome to the community and thanks for the question. Crown moulding is a topic that has come up many times in the stores and the community. That being the case there has been a number of write-ups done on the subject, some we community members have contributed to. I’ll touch on the highlights here and include links to the more in depth information.
First is deciding which material the crown moulding will be made of. The options are natural wood, MDF, or PVC. If you plan on finishing your crown in stain, go with natural wood. MDF comes pre-primed and paint ready. PVC is very durable and easy to clean. Check the video below for greater detail.
Installing moulding is actually pretty straight forward. An indispensable tool when installing crown will be a good finishing nail gun. Putting up crown with a nail gun will save you a ton of time and frustration. Nailers now come in not only the traditional air compressor powered models, but also battery operated models. The benefit of the battery operated model is that you don’t have to keep an air compressor on hand. With the down side being that they are somewhat heavier than a traditional compressor model.
If there is one place where installing crown moulding can give you trouble it’s the corners. For standard moulding and trim simple miter cuts will often get the job done. When working with crown the only way to get nice consistent corners without using corner boxes is by coping the joints. Coping is similar in concept to puzzle fitting one end of the moulding into another to create a corner. Use this link for a detailed writup covering coping.
This final video is just one I’m rather fond of. It also happens to demonstrate how big of a help inside and outside corners can be.
If you have any specific questions about any of this information or just want to talk some things out feel free to get back to us here. I hope this helps.
Crown moulding is kind of tricky because you have more than one angle to deal with. Let me give you some tips (in no particular order):
Use real wood moulding. MDF is more difficult to cope and nails don't have the same holding power as in real wood. PVC makes great pipes, not artificial woodgrain moulding that's reminiscent of a 70's station wagon.
Try to pick a fairly simple profile, it's just easier to work with.
Paint your moulding, especially if this is your first attempt. Paint, caulk, and wood filler cover a multitude of sins that won't be able to do if you stain your moulding.
Paint your moulding before you install it. It's a lot easier to touch up nail holes, etc. than carefully paint an entire room on a ladder.
Walls and ceilings are rarely, if ever, flat and square to each other.
Inside and outside corner blocks, assuming you like the look, make installation easier but because your walls aren't straight or square, you'll probably still need to adjust your butt cut to the block slightly.
Forget the suggestion of using a plastic miter box and hand saw for the reason mentioned previously - walls aren't flat or square. If you want to use a miter box and handsaw you'll also need a good plane and shooting board to touch up your miters.
Instead use a good miter saw that easily adjusts outside of the normal detents of 90°, 45°, etc. Use a good blade with 60+ teeth.
Investing in a miter angle finding tool can save you a lot of headaches and test pieces.
Try to use single pieces of moulding whenever possible. For example, if your room is 12' wide, use a single piece 12' long, not two smaller pieces. If you have to use more than one piece, the joints are scarfed and you want to do them on joist or stud so you have some place to nail the joint securely.
Measure several times and cut once. Since time isn't the premium here, cut your pieces a little long and go back and test fit them. Ideally you want your moulding to be just a little longer than the actual dimension so that it "springs" into place.