I Made an End Grain Wood Floor From Scratch and Saved Myself $4000!

6 Materials
$468
20 Hours
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One day I had come across a flooring in an old church and became intrigued, I had never seen anything like it before. It was a wood floor, but as opposed to the side of the grain being exposed, it was the end of the grain. I decided that I needed to recreate this old world craftsmen appearance in my own home. Full details of the entire project are here: http://goo.gl/pV51hA
A few months ago I purchased a house that was carpeted from wall to wall with the most horrible carpeting. Before purchasing it I had done some snooping and after lifting several corners, realized that underneath the carpeting was hardwood flooring, throughout. So, I knew after purchasing the home it wouldn't be much of a task to rip up this eye sores, spend a few hours sanding and refinishing and I would be happy with the new look. below is what the dining room looked like on closing day.
After ripping up the carpeting, this is what I found in the dining room... MDF. Not what I wanted to see. I had hopes that their might be some hardwood under it so my adventure continued.
After ripping up the first MDF subfloor (and having started some painting), I stumbled across this, more of less of what I wanted to see, linoleum flooring.
I went out and found twelve, 8 foot long 4 x 6 timbers of reclaimed yellow heart pine that I proceeded to cut into 1,800 4 x 6 tiles. I set up my Dewalt DW705 chop saw with a 1/2" stop to make the cuts quickly and consistently. This process took about 5 hours. When I was done I was left with a completely filled 32 gallon trash can of sawdust that I saved for later. I had plans for that too.
Here are some of the piles and piles of tiles and more tiles
Along the way I decided to border the room to accent the edges.
After the tiles were set, I sealed them with a coat of polyurethane, lightly thinned with about 30% mineral spirits.
After the tiles were set, I sealed them with a coat of polyurethane, lightly thinned with about 30% mineral spirits.
After the tiles and border were set and sealed. I made a mixture of sawdust from my cuttings with polyurethane with a ratio of about 2 parts sawdust to 1 part polyurethane
After the tiles and border were set and sealed. I made a mixture of sawdust from my cuttings with polyurethane with a ratio of about 2 parts sawdust to 1 part polyurethane
After letting the grout dry for 3 days, figuring that was enough for the 1/8" wide by 1/2" deep channels to fully dry, I went to work on sanding the floor smooth. I used an orbital sander which took 4 hours, I imagine it took much longer than a drum sander would have, but it saved me a step of needing to do the center of the floor and then follow up with an edger.
The finished product!
I am thrilled with the results and the warm feel or real wood is so much better than the cold feeling of an icy tile, or the disingenuous look of a laminate, which were my second and third, much simpler choices.
Here is a close up of the finished surface.
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To see more: http://goo.gl/pV51hA

Have a question about this project?

3 of 61 questions
  • K
    on Dec 29, 2018

    Hello, & thanks for sharing this project.

    Just for clarification, did you use any adhesive while laying the end-cut tiles? Or just the sealant & grout?

    Could you have waited to seal it until after grouting & sanding, or would the grout have adhered too much to the tiles & not sanded off easily afterwards?

    Thank!

  • Helve
    on Dec 30, 2018

    Beautiful! Would this type of wood stain well? I am planning to change my carpet to wood and love your idea, but want my floors a dark color.


    • Juanita
      on Apr 30, 2019

      Of course, you can stain any wood. The more open grain of the end cuts might accept the color differently than the side grain, so I would definitely experiment with the stain before just jumping in

  • Broke But Happy
    on Jan 28, 2019

    The sawdust mixed with poly... Did you use that as a group or something else? I couldn't tell from this post. Lovely look to the floor, really great job!

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