Endgrain Floor - Made from scratch #3: Getting things going...

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Blog entry by Thomas Porter posted 05-26-2008 09:30 AM 280465 reads 8 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Buying the Materials Part 3 of Endgrain Floor - Made from scratch series Part 4: So much to do... so many sore muscles. »

Please don’t use regular grout like me. The wood shrinks slightly and is allowed to move because of the urethane adhesive remaining pliable. There’s tiny little cracks where the wood has separated on the outer tiles in the room. It’s not going to weather well, so I’m replacing the grout in the near future. Thank goodness endgrain floors are cheap material cost. :-) Everything else I did was fine, but the grout was an experiment that proved bad. I’ll leave this project here so you can see it, but be warned – I have now decided to try other grout mixes using flexible wood filler or epoxy/resin/sawdust mixes.

So now it’s time to do all the cutting and laying and cutting and laying and cutting and…. well you get the idea. This room will use somewhere near 800 tiles to cover the entire floor. That means cutting up about 10-12 beams depending on how far down the beam and how many pieces get damaged. Sometimes there are cracks and the pieces can only be used as half pieces for custom cuts later on. I leave about 20% more than i need just incase. You can never have too much wood right?

I worked for about 10 hours strait getting lots of stuff done. I went and picked up the mastic and some other finishing materials at Home Depot. I came home and got started nailing the subfloor down and securing it to the concrete. Then I started the cutting and hauling in the tiles. With out going into great detail here’s the progress. Give me questions in the comments and I’ll answer. This shows you the stop I made on the table saw out of a piece of scrap thermofuse and how I put 3 beams at a time on the sliding table to speed things up. Here’s a note however… if your table saw can’t cut 4×8 beams in one pass… you’re in for a lot more work than you know. Make sure if you’re going to attempt an endgrain floor that you think through all of the processes before buying the lumber. My saw will cut up to around 5” tall. Most tablesaws cannot. So here’s where I’m at. I’m almost done laying all of the tiles now but I ran out of mastic and I need to make a supply run tomorrow. Here’s the pics…

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-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

19 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5109 days

#1 posted 05-26-2008 01:03 PM


This is very interesting series and a unique floor. I would assume that you are cutting these to 3/4” but in the pictures the tiles just appear to be thicker.

Very nice.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Matt (Upper Cut)'s profile

Matt (Upper Cut)

264 posts in 5100 days

#2 posted 05-26-2008 01:32 PM

I like it, and your monster saw.

  • Why didn’t you remove the baseboard?
  • Why did you need a new subfloor, wasn’t there one already?

Thanks man!

-- Matt Gradwohl, Upper Cut Woodworks,

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 5196 days

#3 posted 05-26-2008 02:00 PM

Looks fantastic. What do you use to fill the ‘grout’ lines? I’m sure you have enough sawdust from all that cutting to fill the voids. What finish do you apply to the floor?

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View gizmodyne's profile


1785 posts in 5377 days

#4 posted 05-26-2008 03:00 PM

Interesting series. Keep it up. Also, Second to the questions above.

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 5172 days

#5 posted 05-26-2008 03:24 PM

WOW great job!
Please post follow ups “grout” ect.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Karson's profile


35279 posts in 5687 days

#6 posted 05-26-2008 03:47 PM

Great looking floor. I’m interested in how you plan on filing in the gaps. I assume it’s not a tile filler product because that would fill up the pores of the wood also.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5275 days

#7 posted 05-26-2008 05:41 PM

Fantastic looking floor. I’m with the others, what do you plan on using as a grout?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 5418 days

#8 posted 05-26-2008 06:41 PM

Here’s some answers to the questions:

1) The tiles are 1” thick. I was going to do .75 but thought, “what the hey. It adds a little more strength to the floor and doesn’t really cost much more. I’m redoing the doorways anyways.

2) I didn’t remove the baseboard because it isn’t really baseboard. My home was built in the 40’s and is textured in real plaster. That’s actually a plaster baseboard look. It’s solid as a rock, and I would have to chisel it away. It’s only about a 1/4 inch from the wall, so I’m just going to rabbit my baseboards to fit over it.

3) The grout will be made from a mixture of sawdust, acrylic and a resin. I’ll show how I do it later on. I need to finish the floor first so that there won’t be anything clogging the pores when I try to finish it. If I were to grout it in now, the acrylic would fill up the endgrain and I’d have unsightly spots.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5169 days

#9 posted 05-27-2008 01:43 AM

This is fascinating. I can not image how it will come out, but judging by what you have done before, I bet it will be fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5000 days

#10 posted 05-27-2008 01:59 PM

What a cool idea. I’d never heard of end grain flooring before what a distinctive look. A good series of photos to document the process for us, thanks.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Kevin's profile


291 posts in 5245 days

#11 posted 05-28-2008 05:17 PM

I think it is a very intersting idea and will look great. My questions are:

Why didn’t you square up the edges of the 2×4’s prior to starting? Were you trying to leave a little gap at all the corners for the appearance?

How did you maintain the “grout” line spacing?

-- Kevin, Wichita, Kansas

View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 5418 days

#12 posted 05-28-2008 07:35 PM

well first off… if I had tried to use 2×4’s and then planed them smaller and squarer it would have taken me years. I used 4×8’s (actual dimensions near 3.5”x7.5”). This made for a lot less cuts and an easier time laying them. I left them as they were because I knew I would be adding about an 1/8” to 1/4 of grout depending on how the spacing went. It gives it a more rustic look to leave it alone rather than square it up. The first time I did the floor I squared all of the beams and if you don’t want a lot of grout than that’s probably a good idea. But with the tolerances I had I didn’t have to and wanted to achieve that more rough look.

The 4×8’s in their finished dimensions make them look about the size of a red brick. I laid them in a running bond like brick. That’s the look I wanted. There are many other styles of endgrain floors. Google it and you’ll see some great examples.

To answer your question about the spacing and lining them up. I had marked the floor out both horizontally and vertically with a pen about every three bricks. This gave me a good enough line to follow and I was able to keep the lines as straight as I wanted. I eyeballed the gaps as they are all slightly different.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5586 days

#13 posted 06-10-2008 05:15 PM

I really like it!

I’d like to do this myself some time.

In old North Hibbing, the town that moved, because of the iron ore beneath it,

the streets in the whole town where paved with Pine creosoted paving blocks.

They were 4 X 8 X 4” thick.

During the depression days, some people started stealing them to heat their homes

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 5418 days

#14 posted 08-09-2008 06:19 AM

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa where my wife grew up there were a few old houses with creosote soaked endgrain driveways. They are sunken in along the tire tracks pretty heavily. They look like they’ve been there for a hundred years. Most people don’t know what it is. It would be fun to do one of those today, but I don’t know if I’d do it in as wet an area as Iowa. Here in Phoenix our biggest problem would be the extreme sun, but the creosote seems to handle that well… regular wood, not so much. I just don’t know how toxic creosote can be in large amounts like that, or like you mentioned, being burned in a stove. Ick. Glad I’m not living through depression.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View TulipHillWoodWorks's profile


21 posts in 4755 days

#15 posted 12-07-2008 12:47 PM

Do you have to put a subfloor in or can you mastic the tiles right to the concrete? I have no experience in this.

-- .......and if ya screw up, you can heat yer house with it......

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