How to Install End Grain Flooring Part 1: Prep Work

Lead Image
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • $60-200
What You'll Need
Flooring Tiles
Marking chalks
Measuring tape
Wood filler
Sanding machines and sandpaper selections
Finish (polyurethane recommended)

End grain flooring is a unique type of wood tile flooring. What makes this wood block flooring so different is that the tiles are actually cut from timber ends. This not only means that wood’s grain is visible and upward facing, but also makes wood block flooring incredibly durable from a structural point of view.

In fact, end-grain tiles are so durable, they are commonly used for fashioning wood cutting boards. They have even been used historically to pave roads and streets because of their ability to withstand high levels of wear and tear.

If installing an end grain wood floor sounds like something you’d like to do, research the right installation method that will meet your local building codes. Once you’ve determined that you can safely and legally undertake the project, follow these prep work steps so that you won’t run into any problems or headaches when you start to lay the tiles.

Step 1 - Project Preparation

In order to get the best possible results from end grain flooring, allow the wood products to adjust to the relative humidity on your home before installing. Avoid having the materials delivered if any plaster, ceramic tile, concrete, or other wet jobs have not yet dried and cured in the area. Distancing your wood block flooring from any other ongoing wet remodels will prevent the wood tiles from absorbing damaging amounts of moisture.

When your wood arrives, move the end grain flooring into the areas where they are going to be installed and leave them there for at least one to two weeks before installing. Store them in a warm, well-ventilated, dry location that is protected from the elements. Ensure that an ambient temperature of 65 to 75 degrees is maintained before, during, and seven days after installing the wood tiles.

Step 2 - Surface Preparation

End grain flooring isn’t a tongue and groove kind of flooring. This means that the tiles do not interlock with each other. A sub floor that is stable and solid is required so that defects can be minimized and the installation can be done properly.

WARNING: End grain wood is also not ideal for installation directly atop concrete, even if it’s fully cured. However, it can be done. Never install end grain flooring to new concrete that has not yet achieved full curing or drying time. If you are planning on installing in an area where dry concrete is present, consider adding a plywood sub floor. These should be secured with screws before installing the flooring tiles.

Step 3 - Planning the Layout

All measurements on flooring are done in square feet (sq. ft.). The resulting measurements are the amount of material that is required to completely cover square of an area that is a foot in length for each side. No consideration is taken for the wood’s thickness when calculating a square footage measurement. To make a layout with the least cuts on wood tiles, you can dry lay the tile. This means just placing the tiles without mortar or permanent adhesives. Lay a row of wood tiles in each direction, using tile spacers in between. Mark the center of the area and remove the end grain flooring.

Divide the room into four parts by measuring the walls to know the halfway points. Draw chalk lines to mark parallel connecting walls to provide the starting point in squaring the room. From the intersection points, take 3 feet going to any wall and 4 feet going to a perpendicular wall. If the gap between the two points does not equal 5 feet, readjust your measurements until you get 5 feet. Do it for each quarter of the room and draw chalk lines to mark the measurements.

Continue to How to Install End Grain Flooring Part 2 >>