END GRAIN FLOORING - EXPERT ADVICE
Highly decorative flooring is becoming increasingly popular. Detailing in the wood, combined with stylish fitting patterns, can create spectacular floors, that really catch the eye. End grain floors are particularly attractive and as they are specially crafted, they’re not something you see every day. They are incredibly strong and also have very good sound insulating properties. In years gone-by they were used to pave narrow alleyways to dampen down the noise from horse and carts. Nowadays they are used for more decorative purposes, although the sound reduction properties are still a relevant and worthy feature.
A bedroom with an end grain block floor, more pictures can be seen here
End grain flooring can be made by special order, but this takes time and is expensive. With our experience and wood crafting skills, we are able to make the cobbles ourselves using softwoods such as Douglas Fir and Cedar. Although softwoods usually dent and mark easily, when the wood is cut vertically, it become 2 to 3 times stronger. However, as so much of the grain is exposed, the wood absorbs water like a sponge, making it susceptible to twisting and distorting. We prefer to cut the blocks on site and then fit them immediately, so there’s no danger of the wood moving like this.
End grain square blocks
The pink and yellow tones are clearly visible in the wood
The blocks can be made from natural or premier grades of wood to create different looks. A natural grade of wood will feature knots and colour variation. When it comes to a premier grade, it will still have some shading and natural characteristics, but it has a cleaner look and feel.
A natural grade of wood
A premier grade of wood
Both grades of wood create a rustic, imperfect look which is complemented by the gaps which have to be left between the blocks. This is part of its charm but will also give the wood room to move when it expands and contracts. The use of a strong, flexible adhesive allows for movement and prevents the corners from lifting and twisting. The edges can be bevelled to reduce the spaces between the blocks, or a flexible filler can be used to fill them completely. This will need replacing overtime, but it’s easy enough to do.
Bevelled edges are crafted into each side of the block
The gaps are a feature of the floor, but can be filled if preferred
Softwoods take colours very differently to oak, which has a much denser construction. When oak is stained it turns darker, even if a light colour is used. By comparison, softwoods readily absorb lighter colours, so it’s much easier to achieve a paler finish. This board features an oak border with pine end grain blocks. The same coloured oil has been used, but the colours in the hardwood oak, look completely different from the pine. Click here to see more pictures.
The pine square blocks with an oak border
Premier end grain parquet with gaps between the blocks, finished in a dark oil
End grain flooring is a traditional type of flooring, which has a historical context, as the exposed grain tells the story of the forest. The visible growth rings provide clues to the weather conditions at that time. In terms of sizes, the bigger the tree, then the bigger the blocks can be.
Growth rings are clearly visible especially when the pine is stained with a dark oil
Raw oil brings out the pinkish tones in the pine and enhances the growth rings
If you are looking for a floor that offers something completely different, that’s full of personality and character, then end grain blocks could be the solution. When it comes to colour and pattern, there really are no limits. More pictures can be seen here.
Distinctive grain patterns and colouring
Grey tones in a parquet end grain floor laid in a brick design