If you have a hardwood floor, you know how stunning they are. You may think it’s impossible to improve upon its beauty, but have you considered a floor medallion? Floor medallions are ornamental wood inlays that give a dramatic focal point to a room. Years ago they were handcrafted on site, and therefore were only found in the homes of the rich and famous, but today floor medallions are more accessible.
Floor medallions are made to order and are generally ¾” thick. The top layer or veneer is made from natural hardwoods such as cherry, walnut, wenge, red oak and maple and is about 5/16″ thick. The design itself can be made from a few pieces of wood or from hundreds of pieces if it is a mosaic. The under layers are made from a plywood, generally a high grade, such as Baltic birch plywood.
Medallions are often installed when a new hardwood floor is being laid. If your medallion has geometric or straight cuts in it, then the medallion can be set first, with the floor being installed off the design in different directions. However, if your medallion is in a circular shape, then the floor will be laid first and a section cut out to fit the medallion. This work can be tricky, so if you are attempting the project yourself, only undertake it if you are experienced with using power tools, especially a router. Otherwise, have a carpenter from a local handyman service install it for you.
The process can be completed in a few hours, but it should all be competed at one time, so don’t start the process in the evening, expecting to complete it the next morning. The reason for this is that once you have made your cut with the router, if you wait more than a few hours to install the medallion, the cutout may change size. Though it will be a small change, it may still be enough to cause you to have to make a new cut. Most medallion manufacturers will include router templates or guides to help install the pattern correctly.
You’ll need to use glue to secure the medallion to the floor. Having an extra pair of hands to help you with this task will be invaluable. Remember, if you’re at all unsure about attempting the project, hire a handyman to complete if for you. This is one home improvement project that would have an expensive learning curve if it didn’t go well.
Once it’s completed, your new inlay will be a beautiful focal point for your home—one that will last for years and be a unique selling feature if it ever comes time to sell your home.