Introduction

man installing a floor medallion
Photo: Wendell T. Webber
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Q: I'd like to put one of those beautiful round wood inlays in my wood floor. How do I go about it? —Mark Turner, Leesburg, Va.

Charles Peterson of CP Wood Floors replies: What you're talking about is a floor medallion, a type of ornamental flooring designed to give a room a dramatic decorative focal point. They're made to order using colorful pieces of precisely cut hardwoods mounted to a plywood backing. In the best ones, these pieces are at least 5/16 inch thick and can be sanded multiple times.

Installation requires cutting into your floor with a router and then bedding the medallion in adhesive spread on the subfloor. The process is painstaking but, thanks to the router template supplied by the factory, takes only a few hours.

Make sure to do these steps in one go. If you wait more than a few hours after routing the floor, your cutout may change shape or size slightly, forcing you to rout it again.

Shown: Charles Peterson sets a 36-inch compass-rose medallion, made of Brazilian cherry, walnut, maple, red oak, and wenge, into a bed of adhesive.

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    Tools List

    • drill
      Drill with a hole saw or hammer and a chisel
    • magnetic nail finder
      Magnetic nail finder
    • router
      Router with ½-inch bearing-over bit
    • nailset
      Nailset
    • flat prybar
      Pry bar
    • straightedge guide
      Straightedge
    • random orbit sander
      Random-orbit sander
    • notched trowel
      3/16-inch V-notch trowel
    • mallet
      Rubber mallet

    Shopping List

    1. Floor medallion

    2. 1-inch painter's tape

    3. Double-stick carpet tape

    4. 40-grit sandpaper for sander5. Moisture-cure urethane floor adhesive

    6. Urethane adhesive remover