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

6 Materials
$468
20 Hours
Advanced
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.

Frequently asked questions

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3 of 70 questions
  • I didn’t see where you talked about what you did with the sawdust and poly.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Apr 07, 2020

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

  • Dina Pia Dina Pia on Mar 05, 2021

    When you said "the end of the grain", does it mean is the back side of the tile?

    It looks to me that instead of cutting wood planks transversal, the idea was to cut "slices" from the tree trunk...You can see the rings ( one ring is added per new growth season of a live tree and equals 1 year per ring )...

Comments

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  • Penny E Penny E on Mar 03, 2021

    How did you secure the wood to the floor? I only see about doing the grout/sealer.

    • Sue Sue on Jun 02, 2021

      I imagine she used a vinyl tile adhesive (mastik) using a 1/16 trowel...that is what is normally used when laying the old fashioned parquet tile wood floors.

  • Dina Pia Dina Pia on Mar 05, 2021

    I forgot to include my comment, after the question: looks fenomenal and the finished product is amazing! You have to be very proud of all the time and effort spent. Only crafters at heart ( I'm including myself ) will envision and transfer it to reality!

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