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.

Resources for this project:

Minwax 63010444 Fast Drying Polyurethane Clear Finish, quart,...
Custom PMG165QT 1-Quart Simple Premium Grout, Delorean Gray
Achim Home Furnishings FTVWD22320 Nexus 12-Inch Vinyl Tile, Wood...
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To see more: http://goo.gl/pV51hA

Have a question about this project?

3 of 69 questions
  • Danielle Odin
    on Feb 29, 2020

    It is unclear to me what you did with the sawdust after you mixed it with the polyurethane. Could you explain?

    It looks magnificent.

    • Barb
      on Mar 4, 2020

      I've mixed wood glue with sawdust to use as a wood filler when working on a project

  • Rhonda Cutshaw Hollifield
    on Mar 30, 2020

    I didn’t see where you talked about what you did with the sawdust and poly.

  • Flipturn
    on Apr 7, 2020

    'Just wondering if the subfloor was already level, or what did you do to ensure that the new install was level?

Join the conversation

2 of 479 comments
  • Wanda Howard
    on Mar 12, 2020

    That is beautiful and mesmerizing! I can see me sitting and staring at this (I’m easily entertained). Great job.

  • Joseph DAndrea
    on Apr 18, 2020

    Old time machine shops factories use end grain wood floors like this. Generally about 3 inches thick. The wood absorbed vibrations from the machines and where easier on the worker feet.

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