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How to attach a ceiling medallion depends on the material

| Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, 6:45 p.m.
A ceiling medallion is applied with adhesive.
A ceiling medallion is applied with adhesive.

Q: I recently removed a medallion from my dining room ceiling to complete repairs. The medallion, which is not original to the house, is made of a soft, flexible material. The outer edges are scalloped and have scallops along each scallop.

I am now faced with reattaching it to the ceiling. Any suggestions on the type of glue to use and how to keep it in place until it dries?

A: Ceiling medallions once were made primarily of plaster, or sometimes carved wood. Today they're usually high-density urethane foam, which manufacturers sometimes describe as polyurethane or PVC plastic.

But the urethane type is rigid. The PVC type is more flexible, but the designs tend to be quite simple. Daniel Milkie, operations director for Ekena Millwork (, a manufacturer of wood, PVC and urethane medallions, said he thinks you might have a type that his company (and others) can custom-make to work on curved ceilings. The company manufactures its standard medallion designs and moldings using a resin that stays flexible after it cures. Ekena uses four different recipes for the resin, depending on the amount of curvature needed.

Whatever the material, however, all types of plastic medallions ­—urethane, PVC, flexible resins — call for the same installation procedure, Milkie said.

If you will be suspending a light fixture or fan, turn off power at the circuit breaker and cut out a hole in the medallion to thread the wiring through. With a stud sensor, locate and mark the framing above the ceiling, and pre-drill into the medallion for screws that will line up with the ceiling joists. Spread construction adhesive on the back of the medallion, press the medallion into place, and secure it with screws that are inset enough so you can later spread a little filler over the screws to hide them. Finish up with a layer of paint.

For the adhesive, Milkie recommends Loctite Power Grab, a type of polyurethane construction adhesive that gets tacky almost instantly. “If you hold the medallion to it for five seconds, it will stay up there,” he said. But he still advises using screws to hold the medallion while the adhesive cures, “just to be on the safe side.” That, according to the manufacturer, can take up to 24 hours, depending on temperature, humidity and the type of materials being bonded.

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