Renovation Inspiration: Cartolina's DIY End-Grain Block Flooring

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When you look at pictures of interiors all day, you get used to seeing the same things over and over — so it's nice to run across something that is completely new. Except that the technique used to create this end grain block floor, with its beautiful, solid, highly textured appearance, is actually hundreds of years old.

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We spotted this lovely floor at Cartolina, a Candian design house that creates and sells paper products and other sundries, featuring quirky vintage designs that are easy to love. When the folks at Cartolina decided to make an expansion to the studio, they chose to use end grain block flooring, a style commonly used on factory floors in the 19th century. As the name (and the grain) would imply, the floor is made from the cut ends of wood beams. Fiona, from Cartolina, details how Doug, from Cartolina, put the whole thing together:

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We had some leftover beam ends in the shed from a previous project — kiln dried fir — and he set to work, slicing them up into 3" x 7" blocks, about 3/4 inches thick. It took him quite a long time to slice up all the blocks and sand the edges. Once he had prepared 850 blocks he glued them to the plywood floor using a non water based, flexible flooring adhesive. It was back breaking work (so he tells me!) As soon as it was dry he applied a coat of Watco oil stain and 2 coats of oil based clear finish. The results are spectacular. It has the look of cobblestones but with a rustic and warm feel. And best of all, it only cost the price of the glue and the finish!
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So what I'm hearing is... do try this at home. It's cheap, it's DIY-able, it's sturdy, and the results are beautiful.

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And for further inspiration, here's another end-gran block floor from Atelier des Granges, a French parquet flooring manufacturer. This one is in a hallway, and the sizes of the beams are a little different, producing a slightly different effect.

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No matter what size you choose, if you decide to go with this style you'll get a look that is sturdy and timeless — one that looks as good on factory floors as it does in private homes.

Is this a style of flooring you'd try?

(Image credits: Cartolina; Atelier des Granges)

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