Brick-type flooring or end-grain has been around for a long time. We have worked with it for more than 30 years. I have refinished, repaired, and have installed it in brick patterns. We also have incorporated it in large format patterns such as Versailles and Fountainbleu.
Due to the density of the end of the grain, it’s a challenge to get flat and smooth. It is essential to do the initial installation as flat as possible to minimize the work of sanding. Most recently, we assisted with the design, installation, sanding, and finishing of a project by some university students. This was composed of cutoff two-by-four scraps sliced to 3/4” thick. Because of the varying skills of the installers, the sanding took us some time. But nevertheless, the outcome looked beautiful and has held up exceptionally well.
The value I see in end-grain floors is that it can be very economical, durable, and have endless design capabilities.
I love doing end-grain floors! You can get them in squares, rectangles, hexagons, etc. They offer high-impact resistance, so they are great for high and ultrahigh traffic.
We’ve used Douglas fir, mesquite, American walnut, red oak, white oak, and maple, and all these performed well. We’ve even made our own out of cants (the center of logs procured from the mill before kiln drying) when the timeline for fabrication elsewhere didn’t meet our client’s needs. Only small changes in installation, sanding, applying stain/finish are needed. Mind you, they are a thirsty product.
End-grain’s role will always be as a specialty item, selected for commercial/institutional spaces or by homeowners who are brave enough to break from commonality and do something bold.