NOTE TO THOSE WHO WANT TO DO THIS…
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.
Alright so it’s been way too long since I’ve followed up this project, and yes, I finally finished it. The pictures you are about to see are where I’m at at this very moment. I just put the last coat of poly on the floor and it’s drying right now.
I ran into some stumbling blocks on the way and I’d like to fill you in. First off, I left the project alone long enough to get disenchanted with it and began to procrastinate with it, but thankfully I have a wife that puts up with that kind of crap and just “encouraged” me to finish it. We’ve had a lot going on so it’s been very easy to ignore the room all together and just let it sit there.
A few things that kept me from delving right into it were the fumes from the poly and the stain, and the grouting process. I didn’t want my wife and kid to be in the house while it was curing. Way too many fumes, especially with endgrain because it soaks up so much more than normal (about 5 times as much).
I rented a sander from a local home depot. If you have a large area to do I recommend using the buffer style. If you have a small area to do with a lot of square corners I like the big square finishing sander style. They both work great. I used very coarse sandpaper to get the ball rolling. Then I stepped up grit until I got to 150. After that it really doesn’t matter there’s a texture that I was trying to achieve and I got it at that grit. I rented the sander for 24 hrs because I had to do it at night and they closed before I could be done, but it can be done in less than 3 hours if it’s a fairly small space, so if you’re good at doing things quickly and effieciently… go for it. If not, spend the extra $10 and relax.
The grouting was a big concern because I was having difficulty maintaining a balance between consistency and color and I was worried about longevity. I was mixing up the sawdust with the color and then the glue and more color and more glue and more color… etc. etc. I found a few I liked but it was difficult to get a color that I felt comfortable with that would hold, so I did what any person with patience running low would do…. grout it with real grout. Eeeeek you say? Yes, it’s not what I had originally planned, but the outcome was exactly what I wanted. The color was exact. The application was a bit tougher than when you tile, simply because of the natural pouriceness of endgrain. It had a tendency to hold on to the sand crystals and they would dry up and look like dust.
I didn’t have time to take a bunch of pictures of the process, but I’ll give you a brief synopsis because it’s not rocket science and you’ll be able to figure it out…. I stained the floor… I polyurethaned the floor. I polyurethaned the floor again. I grouted the floor…. I wiped it up with sponges…. and wiped… and wiped again…. and wiped… and wiped again…. and then I polyurethaned again.
What’s the purpose in polyurethaning and staining before I grouted you say? Because if you don’t seal up the end grain with the stain and poly than you’re going to get crap in it from the grout you use. It will be impossible to get an even stain with the colors that bleed in from the grout. This goes for the sawdust version of grout as well if that’s what you use.
I’ll post a final set of pictures of the room once I’ve finished al the moulding and fixtures. Right now I’ll post these wet poly pics. They show off the grout and grain. Thanks for keeping up with this blog and I hope you enjoyed it. I’ll be doing the rest of my house someday soon, and if there’s stuff you want to see pictures of let me know so I can take them next time.
-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ, www.thomasporter.com