Endgrain Floor - Made from scratch #5: Wrapping things up...

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Blog entry by Thomas Porter posted 09-13-2008 08:42 AM 18733 reads 5 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: So much to do... so many sore muscles. Part 5 of Endgrain Floor - Made from scratch series no next part

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,

19 comments so far

View wraith's profile


16 posts in 2986 days

#1 posted 09-13-2008 10:18 AM

That could be one of the nicest floors I’ve ever seen. All of the trouble was worth it. Great job.

-- The platypus is nature's way of saying "I made this thing out of spare parts I found on the floor, and it can still cripple you."

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3245 days

#2 posted 09-13-2008 12:51 PM

Thomas, you have created a unique floor with this technique and I really like the look of it. You did a good job on this project.

Thanks for sharing.

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

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 2981 days

#3 posted 09-13-2008 01:45 PM

Wow Wow Wow. I dido wraith,. Very unique qnd well done, It is truelly amazing what some people come up with, and you have done an amazing job. It looks very professional. I would never have thought about doing a floor like that. What type of wood is it and what are the wood sizes? How long did it take to put down the pieces? Just out of curiousity.

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3190 days

#4 posted 09-13-2008 02:46 PM

Very nice outcome. You have created a one of a kind floor. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 3584 days

#5 posted 09-13-2008 03:33 PM

yes indeed.. totally amazing!! gorgeous gorgeous…

I loved the photos as well.. as they kept getting closer and closer to the floor… drawing us right in, just as we’d do if we were there in person!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Ampeater's profile


425 posts in 3171 days

#6 posted 09-13-2008 03:52 PM

WOW!! I really like it. I had to go back and read the other four parts of the blog. The floor looked so good after the sanding that I would have had to sit and look at it for quite a while before I put any stain on it.

-- "A goal without a plan is a wish."

View Karson's profile


35032 posts in 3824 days

#7 posted 09-13-2008 04:25 PM

Great Job. I hope that you will enjoy it after all of the work. But it does look beautiful.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View mindseye's profile


14 posts in 3184 days

#8 posted 09-15-2008 04:38 AM

thats a incredible job, i had never seen anything like that before. Thanks for sharring this has really got me thinking I want to try it.



View Thomas Porter's profile

Thomas Porter

127 posts in 3554 days

#9 posted 09-16-2008 05:59 AM

I have no clue how long it took me. It was so piecemeal that I lost track of time. I just kept going back to it when I had a free block of time. Doing the rest of the house should be quite an achievement. It’s not a floor style for the faint of heart.

-- Thomas Porter, Phoenix, AZ,

View suebee's profile


34 posts in 3040 days

#10 posted 09-21-2008 03:59 AM

Wow Tom! What an incredible job! The floor looks absolutely beautiful. We are really thankful for your instruction and patience. I am curious if you would ever consider doing the tiles without staining in a natural color, or other colors. I saw the redwood and now this one in walnut…both are just great! We are planning to do our floor in a natural with the sawdust. I will be sure to post everything as we go but we may end changing our mind again as we run into problems or lose patience. Right now the ceiling has us stuck. As I said before we took the knotty pine planks off the walls and and are making tiles to put in the ceiling. Very slow. This is taking us much longer than we thought. We started back in August!

-- sues

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 3337 days

#11 posted 09-24-2008 01:39 PM

very cool! Thanks for getting the final post on this. I was following with interest. Do you have something special in mind for the baseboard? Also, I imagine this raised the floor quite a bit with the subfloor and the tiles. So do you have to trim all of the doors now too? Since you were using dimension lumber, do you expect any cracking of the tiles as they dry out further?

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Todd Thomas 's profile

Todd Thomas

4969 posts in 2872 days

#12 posted 01-15-2009 02:33 PM

This looks great…...I am going to get in over my head and try this….how big was this room and how many hours do you figure you have into it??
Once again it looks great….

-- Todd, Oak Ridge, TN, Hello my name is Todd and I'm a Toolholic, I bought my last tool 10 days, no 4 days, oh heck I bought a tool on the way here! †

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 3670 days

#13 posted 09-19-2010 12:34 AM

I don’t know how much of a headache you suffered, but from what I see it is a beautiful looking floor and one to be proud of. I hope it was worth it for you. It really is gorgeous. One of a kind, unique and worth it for you I hope.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 2601 days

#14 posted 09-19-2010 12:52 AM

This is awesome. Years ago I worked in a steel mill here in Indiana and throughout certain parts of the plant you can see this exact same thing.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2306 days

#15 posted 03-23-2011 02:23 AM

just stumbled onto this project…very cool…I can only begin to imagine the tremendous amount of work that went into it though….

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

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