End-grain flooring is made with wood tiles that are cross-cut from almost any kind of lumber. The size of the tiles is determined by the width and thickness of the lumber. Cutting the tiles is the most time-consuming part of the job, and it requires precision. You can cut the them with any saw that is convenient, but uneven cuts produce an uneven floor that requires rigorous sanding.
Things You'll Need
- Small pry bar
- Measuring tape
- Untreated lumber, 2-by-4-inch or larger
- Miter saw
- Medium-grit sandpaper
- Urethane-based flooring adhesive
- Notched trowel
Pry off the baseboards with a small pry bar.
Measure from the end of a board to 1 inch and mark it on the side with a pencil.
Set the board flat on the platform of a miter saw set at zero degrees for a straight vertical cut. Align the pencil mark with the opening at the center of the saw’s platform.
Engage the saw’s blade, lower the handle and cut the board at the mark. Repeat, slicing off 1-inch-thick tiles from each board until you have enough to cover the floor. If the boards are too large to cut with a miter saw, use a table or circular saw.
Lightly sand off splintering around each tile by hand with medium-grit sandpaper.
Scoop up urethane-based flooring adhesive on the edge of a notched trowel and spread it on a small area of the floor. Some urethane-based adhesives have a short working or open time before they set. Spread only enough to cover an area that you can reach without repositioning yourself.
Press the end-cut wood tiles flat against the adhesive in the pattern of your choice, butting them together tightly. There is no need for tile spacers between the tiles.
Let the floor dry as long as the adhesive manufacturer recommends, or at least 24 hours. Do not permit foot traffic until the adhesive is dry.
Tips & Warnings
- You can install an end-grain wood floor on any stable wood or concrete surface.
- Sand the floor to prepare it for finishing with an upright, drum-style sanding machine the same as you would with any wood floor. Coarse sandpaper is necessary on the first pass for leveling or evening the tiles. Afterward, switch to progressively finer grits.
- If you prefer grout lines between the tiles, form a thick paste from ground sawdust and polyurethane and spread it across the floor as you would tile grout. Wood putty used as filler on a floor can shrink and crack.
- To produce the smoothest finish, sand the floor with ultra-fine sanding screen after the first coat of finish is dry.
- If you cut tiles from different types or sizes or wood, separate them into piles to help you when setting the pattern on the floor.
- Wear protective eyewear when using power tools, and keep your fingers away from spinning saw blades.
- Photo Credit Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images