HANDYMAN

Is molding enough to cover gap?

Updated: 2013-06-09T01:42:08Z

By BILL RUISINGER

Special to The Star

Because of the dryness the past few years, we’ve had some settling in our basement that has created a gap between the outside wall and the ceiling. It’s only a tiny gap, and I thought crown molding would cover it, but a contractor suggested we need foundation work. However, a foundation company assured me that the amount of settling was not significant enough (only about 1/2 inch) to warrant foundation work.

If I choose to go with crown molding, which I guess I would just do myself, what preliminary work should I do to fill the gap to secure it properly?

This settling is a common problem in our area. As you mentioned, the dry climate last year caused many homes to move more than normal. If you give it some time, the gap may go away as your foundation may move back into place. If a foundation company says you don’t need work, you’ve found an honest company!

Repairing the drywall tape joint is usually pretty straightforward, but if your ceilings are textured, you’ll have to deal with blending the texture with the rest of the ceiling. Most textures are easy to match, but you should plan to paint the entire ceiling as well as the affected walls.

Even if the ceiling is smooth, you will have some painting to do. A good painter should have the equipment and skills to handle such a task.

If you choose to do crown molding, there is no need to fill the gap between the wall and ceiling. Unless air or water is coming in, the gap is only cosmetic. If air and water are coming in, you need to have a professional check out the problem as there are other hidden issues that will only get worse.

Installing crown molding is a tricky job. Unless you have a nail gun and a proper miter saw and a little experience, it may be a job best left to the professionals. If possible, it’s nice to pre-finish the new moldings — that way you will spend less time on ladders painting.

Bill Ruisinger is owner of Paint Pro Inc. of Overland Park.

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