Stylish Affordable DIY End Grain Block Flooring

When we were hunting for a affordable flooring solutions for the Laboratory, we came across a wood floor we had never seen before in a store in Soho: it was made from tiles cut across the grain of hard wood beams: end cuts placed in a grid to make an unexpectedly beautiful pattern. The lighting in the store was so poor that our snapshots were too vague to publish. Recently, we came across some fine images of what we now know to be Log End or End Grain flooring, and info about how to do it. We found some great info and a how-to at Design Sponge: 

 End grain block flooring is a technique that was used for a long time in factories during the 19 century because it’s sturdy, inexpensive and practical. It works indoors and out and has the added benefit of being pretty great to look at as well!

The images of the steps tell it all:

Cartolina/Design Sponge

Cartolina/Design Sponge

…You’ve got to pack the tiles in tightly and use grout to keep them in place. Once their in place, you can stain the wood and give it whatever finish you like.

Cartolina/Design Sponge

Cartolina/Design Sponge

…Many folks seem to like a brick-shaped block. We love the square ones we originally saw.

johnsonflooring.com

johnsonflooring.com.

Lots of possibilities for an unusual and enduring floor, depending on the wood you can get hold of.  Building with Secondhand Stuff: How to Re-Claim, Re-Vamp, Re-Purpose & Re-Use Salvaged & Leftover Building Materials is another great resource. There’s a slideshow excerpt at Mother Earth News.

Building with Second Hand Stuff

Building with Second Hand Stuff

13 Responses to Stylish Affordable DIY End Grain Block Flooring

  1. mary watkins 06.18.2014 at 10:27am #

    Beautiful floors at the Frist Museum of Art, Nashville http://fristcenter.org/about/the-building
    Floors are original from the post office days in this lovely art museum.

  2. brian mcclure 11.13.2015 at 5:16pm #

    saw this same floor in asheville nc in a bar sorry dont remember name 10 years ago brian phx az

  3. Norm Kaswell 10.26.2016 at 4:44pm #

    My company built the southern yellow pine strip block flooring at the Frist Center, Nashville. We removed over 100,000 sq. ft. of the flooring, 2-1/2″ in depth, cleaned and reconditioned enough to re-install over 30,000 sq. ft. Tuck Hinton, Architects, Nashville, TN. Our blocks are also in the Country Music Hall of Fame, right down the street from Frist. I enjoyed every day in Nashville.

    Norm Kaswell
    http://www.kaswell.com

  4. Sally Schneider 10.27.2016 at 11:05pm #

    Thank you SO much, Norm. Your company is impressive and your site full of wonderful ideas and information. Which I will write about soon.

  5. Walter 08.20.2017 at 7:29pm #

    Hey I’m just wondering what kind of mortar and grout you used for this project? As with shrinkage and expansion of wood I’m assuming you used a flexible mortar but can’t find anything like that for grout. Also in those pictures did you even use grout? Or just make sure they are tight together?

  6. Sally Schneider 09.05.2017 at 11:47am #

    Hi, I did not actually do the project, but wrote about it with links and options. I suggest you follow those for guidelines, as well as googling. There are many resources online.

  7. Mike Topham 12.17.2017 at 9:22am #

    Lots of end grain floors in Portugal. Have seen several in the mold making shops. Those working on them for hours seem to love them. They offer a little “give” unlike a hard cement floor. They also offer some forgiveness to those dropping heavy tools as they don’t damage the tool or mold. If part of the floor is damaged, they simply remove and replace. Some end grain pieces are several inches thick.

  8. Sally Schneider 12.18.2017 at 2:08pm #

    Would Lisbon be place to see this?

  9. Reggie 03.03.2018 at 10:09pm #

    Hey Norm Kaswell I worked on a job for your company at Princeton university. We laid a Mystique wood floor. Kevin ran the job I was the shop steward. I was impressed how the turnout was.its funny they were filming the movie A Beautiful Mind while doing the job. Tell Kev Reggie says hello.

  10. Mati Senerchia 07.25.2018 at 10:29am #

    I’ve seen numerous original factory end-grain floors, which were typically installed without any fixative/grout/etc. It works because the blocks are thicker – three or more inches – which helps keep them in place, and the wood was very well-seasoned at installation so that dimensional change has been minimal. One of these was in direct ground contact in a basement-level workroom and most areas were still intact a hundred years later.

    There are also end-grain *streets* – Hessler Court, in Cleveland, remains in light service a hundred years later. Scroll down on this page to see a photo of the mayor helping repair the street, which used blocks five or six inches thick, impregnated with creosote, a coal tar derivative.

    https://clevelandhistorical.org/items/show/829

  11. Sally Schneider 07.26.2018 at 5:34pm #

    Thank you. Just the answer a number of readers have been looking for: no need for fixative or grout. The right thickness of the right wood, cured properly…

  12. Ron 11.30.2018 at 5:39pm #

    How, thickness, grout and any information to do this project.
    Thanks

  13. Sally Schneider 12.02.2018 at 8:22pm #

    Hi, I did not do the project, only reported on what seems like a very good idea. I recommend reading the comments, as I remember one person did give some info, remarking that no grout ws needed.

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