I want to make my own flooring tiles from wood and install them as you
would any other flooring tile. I would be intalling them on a solid
concrete subfloor. Is this possible? Would I be able to use grout, or
is there a special grouting material that I would use? Would I use
construction adhesive or thinset to lay the tiles? Would I seal them
with marine varnish, or would a urethane coating be sufficient?
Any advice on this topic would be appreciated. I like tile, love
wood, and hate parkay flooring. This idea seemed the best of both
worlds. Please help.
Not a good idea.
Wood changes dimension as the water content changes.
Because of this wood floors are not made of wooden tiles.
If they were then gaps would open when the floor dried and it might/would
buckle if it got too wet.
Now, that being said, IF you put down some sort of barrier so any moisture
in the concrete could not find it's way into the wood, and IF you used a
flexible grout (really a sealant) which had elastic properties sufficient to
allow the movement of the wood then it would be OK. I'm guessing that you
would end up with something like a bunch of wood stuck in a puddle of
sikaflex. Maintaining it with the combination of wood and flexible sealant
would be a problem - as would refinishing it since the sander would not like
the sealant at all.
My advice, stick to the traditional methods of installing wooden flooring.
Hmmm, interesting. While I agree in principle, just the other day on the way
home from work, I passed a road construction crew. I know, I know, what the
hell does this have to do with anything but wait......
Looking at the "cross section" of the ditch dug down the middle of the road,
it became apparent that the asphalt had been placed over the original
cobblestones. The original cobblestones were wood blocks placed on end...and
they were still there.
Must be something to it.
If you want a very tough floor, then end grain up wood is among the
toughest. I've seen that in a railroad barn once. I don't know how the
wood has survived so long. It might be interesting to ask the road crew or
the transportation department what sort of wood was used.
They did that on some show - I think it was one of Bob Vila's Home
Again. One of the first seasons I think. They laid them as tiles in a
running bond and grouted them with something like sawdust and varnish.
It looked pretty slick - like wooden cobblestones.
This type of floor is quite common in manufacturing plants where dropping
a valuable piece of metal on concrete would be disastrous. Tire plants and
plants that make tire molds have acres of block floors.
The blocks are creosote or tar soaked oak 4" long set on end. No glue or
grout is used, the blocks are just wedged in. The man replacing a section
of floor uses a hatchet, wide chisel, and a mallet.
The plant where I worked had yellow spray paint outlines on the floor in
several areas, when I asked what the lines meant, I was told to wait for a
good rain then I would know. The lines indicated where not to walk after
a leak in the roof had wet down the blocks real well and caused the
floor to "blister up". As long as you didn't knock any of the blocks out
of the blister and make it fall in on its self, the blister would subside when
the wood dried out again.
The largest, and one of the first, blisters or domes I saw in one of these
was in the main floor of a facility that was being shut down. The dome was
20 to 30 feet in diameter and 3 to 4 feet high in the middle.
One of the most interesting wood floors I've seen is the
milk-unloading dock at Edge Hill Station, in Liverpool (the Edge Hill
of Stephenson's Rocket fame).
To quieten the early-morning noise of milk churns being unloaded, the
(outdoor) floor was made of wood blocks. However these wood blocks
were pie-shaped wedges, recycled from the railway. An early form of
smooth-riding patent carriage wheel was the Maunsell wheel, a cast
iron hub, steel tyre and clamped-in wooden wedges instead of spokes.
A variant of this is that I've seen is in use on the large manufacturing
area floors at Sikorsky Helicopter in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Wood
blocks, about 4 inches square. They carry a tremendous load without
If anyone knows what they are (wood type), where to purchase them and
how they are finished, I'd like to know. I'd like to use them in a two
level garage I'm planning and on my shop floor.
Andy Dingley wrote:
A few years ago I was working in the body panel press shop of Rover
cars in Swindon. This is a huge shop - one of the biggest
menufacturing plant buildings I've ever been in. 20 lines of presses,
about 4 or 5 presses in each line, and each press ranging from 250 to
1000 tons load.
The floor in there is end-grain woodblock, about 4" square as you
describe. I can't swear to this, but I'd always understood them to be
hard pitch pine.
Each press is fed with a sheet of steel, maybe 6' square. To lubricate
the press tools, a guy with a paint roller applies a wax and paraffin
mix. This goop gets _everywhere, and the floor is near-impossible to
stay upright on. Being a traditional English company (useless fools)
I had to show up wearing a suit and tie, even when I was working on
the shop floor. I drew the line at shoes though, and had my biggest
pair of hobnailed boots (real hobnails) and the suit trousers tucked
into them. I worked there about two weeks, writing and installing
machine-monitoring software on a laptop hooked into our press monitor.
To get a clean workspace, I had to go out and buy locally a folding
white plastic picnic table and chairs, complete with parasol !
I was used to trying to code (and think) in 100dB noise, so working in
ear defenders was no surprise. But I'd never had to sit permanently in
somewhere so oily and grimy for so long. Disgusting place - I was glad
to be out of it.
Thu, Sep 18, 2003, 12:38pm (EDT-3) email@example.com (JackD)
<snip> wood floors are not made of wooden tiles. <snip>
Seen 'em in several parts of the world.
Always remember that you're unique, just like everyone else.
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT
Web Page Update 19 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like.
End grain wood holds up remarkably well under uses that will destroy concrete.
I've seen it used in factories with heaven knows what for a coating, in
buildings that were still in use (in the late '70s) but built in the teens.
Even then, there was a whole lot of heavy metal working going on (shooting pix
of a guy welding a wood stove for an article I did for Pop. Science some time
around '76, I thing: didn't do the cutting and welding directly on the wood,
but spatter sure hit it without real damage, and with no evident worry).
I think that stuff was oak, maybe white oak. Later, I saw similar stuff further
south that I'm pretty sure was SYP.
"Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and
steady dedication of a lifetime. "
Adlai E. Stevenson
Mon, Sep 22, 2003, 9:31am (EDT-3) firstname.lastname@example.org (JackD) says:
In my defense, 4' think wood blocks are not wooden tiles. Parquet may be
considered wooden tiles, but the original poster specifically excluded
The original poster didn't mention 4" thick wooden blocks. And the
word used was parkay, not parquet.
The whole of life is a learning process.
- John Keel
Life just ain't life without good music. - JOAT
Web Page Update 20 Sep 2003. Some tunes I like.
You might consider putting down a moisture barrier, then 1x2s on 16" centers
with foam insulation between them, followed by some subflooring and finally
put your tiles down in the usual manner. The upshot of it all is you want
to remove the tiles from the vagaries of concrete, and put them in a wood
On 18 Sep 2003 12:27:29 -0700, email@example.com (vegasdave) wrote:
Making tiles is a job for huge presses. If you want to lay your floor
from timber au naturel, lay it as strips. You'll need a spindle
moulder to machine the edges, so you'd probably do this by
subcontracting to a joiner's shop with the right machine.
Unless you've grown your own timber for this, I don't see the
economics of it anyway. There's a big market in ready-machined wood
flooring these days, of all qualities, and the prices are competitive.
My cheapest local source of maple is to buy it as 3/4" finished boards
from a flooring maker, and machine the T&G off !
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