How to Install a Floor Medallion
A guide to creating a beautiful inlaid ornament in a wood floor
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.
Measure the Flooring's Thickness
Medallions are made to match the thickness of your flooring. Before you order yours, use a hole-saw or chisel to cut out a small piece of flooring from the spot where the medallion will be, and send this piece to the medallion maker. Flooring that's thinner than ⅜ inch can't accommodate a solid-wood medallion.