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Cobbled Wood Floor "Free Instructions"

Updated on December 31, 2010

Do Your "One Of A Kind" Wood Floor

In the beginning, what is a Cobbled Wood Floor? A Cobbled Wood Floor is a solid wood flooring option that is made up of blocks of natural wood. From hardwood to softwood, any type wood can be made into being a "Cobbled Wood" floor. Whether it be pine, walnut, oak, maple, cherry or in this case Cedar, a "Real" Cobbled Wood Floor is usually placed in any pattern your mind can imagine. The word "Cobbled" is sometimes explained as "being placed or put together clumsily" but how clumsily or not is totally up to you. Keep in mind though, you will be working with natural blocks of wood so your individual pieces will not all be of the exact same size. That is part of the beauty of being a "Cobbled Wood Floor". For example, when working with 4"x4" end cut cedar squares that have been end sliced cut from many different 4x4 cedar posts, the individual piece measurements will differ or - a 1/4" in width. Add some initial cutting and installation sanding deviations to Mother Natures already natural expansion and contractions and you have acquired the "Cobbled" look. The individual cedar wood blocks will also be all different grains and colors. Before starting your floor, you can separate the different sizes, colors and grains if need be or just grab them randomly right out of the box and glue them down. It all depends on the type design floor plan you have in mind at the time. This is actually a fun floor to do and has many rewards for the "Do-It-Yourself" type homeowner. Hopefully, these "Free Cedar Cobbled Wood Floor Instructions" will help you towards achieving a new and exciting Cedar Cobbled Wood Floor System within your own home.

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About The Floor You Are About To Cover

No matter the type existing floor you are about to cover with your New Cobbled Wood Floor - make sure it is as solid, firm and hopefully as level as it can be. If the floor is concrete, make sure that you fill any cracks and voids with a "concrete patch". If the floor is wood, make sure too fill in any voids with "wood patch" and make sure that it is nailed down securely. If it is ceramic tile, make sure it is all securely attached to the floor. With ceramic tile, you can tap each tile with a hammer and listen for a "hollow" sound difference. If a tile sounds loose, lift it up and glue it firmly back onto the floor. Also, make sure that the floor is free of dust, dirt and grease at all times during this entire Cobbled Wood Floor process.

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Prepping the Room

All existing baseboard should be removed in the beginning. Take your time and remove all nails in the baseboard, you will thank yourself later on when you go too reinstall them. Also, if there are doors with wood casing around them, the casings will have to be cut off 3/4's of an inch from the top of the existing floor so the cedar blocks can slip under them. This makes for a custom looking job. With your planned design in mind, measure and place your guidelines carefully and correctly onto the floor. It is best to use a thick black magic marker for your beginning guidelines because of being able to see it under the glue. Do not use a chalk line because the line will simply disappear when you get sloppy with the glue. Everyone gets sloppy with a bucket of glue!

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Starting to Glue

Do NOT use any glue that is water based. Using a water based glue will cut the wood and eventually break down under your new Cobbled Wood Floor. If the glue you are about to purchase does not state whether it is water based or rubber based, simply check where it says cleanup on the can. If it says cleanup with warm, soapy water - do not buy it. You are looking for a urethane rubber based glue - I like the brand Bostiks Best Urethane. It cleans up with mineral spirits. Bostiks Best Urethane costs approx $45.00 a gal or $198.00 for a 5 gal bucket. If you think that is expensive, always remember that Duck Glue cost $700.00 for a 4 gal bucket! A rubber based glue is moisture resistant and will NOT always be trying to suck the moisture out of the cedar wood blocks. Repeat - Do NOT use a water based glue. Use a 3/8" notched trowel to place glue onto the floor. Press all blocks firmly to the floor/into the glue with a slight twisting motion, while always making sure that you always have at least an 80% glue to block ratio. The installation process is similar to that of ceramic tiles - a comfort to most homeowners. These glued wood blocks cannot be walked on for at least 48 hours so do not block yourself into a corner without a way off of the floor! Again, all wood flooring blocks need to be "completely" dry for at least 2 full days before you proceed with the grouting and top coat finishing steps.

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The Glue is Dry - The Blocks are Stuck

So Far - So Good ..... Now it is time to get on your hands and knees and lightly sand the blocks with a 120 grit sandpaper !!! Remember, no one is neat with glue so make sure to take notice of the old, dried glue spots on the blocks. You will probably find some glue spots that bring back memories when you had glue on your fingertips at the time! Once all the sanding is done and you are happy with the results, get out the vacuum cleaner and go over the floor until "all" sawdust is lifted up and away. Also, never be afraid of sanding this floor anytime during this process. If a spot needs some extra sanding "muscle" - give it all the sanding it needs. After all, this is a Cobbled Wood Floor - thereby being a very forgiving process. Everything blends in at the end anyhow! AGAIN - make sure that you vacuum up all floor dust before proceeding to the next step.

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First Coat of Polyurethane

As we DID NOT use a "water based" glue, we ARE NOT going to use a "water based" wood finish. You want to purchase an "OIL BASED" finish. Again, watch for the "clean up" hints on the back of the can. If is says "cleanup with warm, soapy water", DO NOT buy. (I like to use MinWax Polyurethane. Only purchase a wood finish that is non-yellowing, cleans up with mineral spirits, paint thinner or lacquer thinner and is "oil based". Always read the directions on the can. Now that we have the oil based wood finish (approx $20.00 a gal), you only want to put "one" coat of the Polyurethane on the wood blocks and allow this first coat to dry before you move on to the next step.

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One Coat of Finish is On and Dry

We are not grouting yet - you need to lightly sand the blocks again because the one coat of finish you just put on made the wood grain raise up. Sand the wood blocks now because the grouting process will add another coat of finish on top of that raised grain. And, you do not want that - so sand now and save yourself some time later while also assuring yourself a nicer finish later. Do not forget the vacuum cleaner again so to clean up the newly made sawdust. ALWAYS keep your floor as dust free as possible.

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The Grouting Trick

Now for the Grouting Trick. Put some rubber gloves on for this step. This step may take a couple of days (depending on the size of your floor) because you may not be able to grout the whole floor all at once. First you need to rip up (unfold) some "course" (No.3 or 4) steel wool. Then you are going to use the sawdust that comes from the cuttings of the Cobbled Wood Blocks to grout with. This makes for a perfect color match. You need to make a mixture of 1 part polyurethane to 3 parts cedar saw dust. This ratio/recipe is not set in stone because as we all have to adjust our car carburetors and cooking recipes for the altitude we are in at the time, so will you have to adjust your grouting mixture ratio while finding your perfect grouting mixture. A 3 to 1 ratio is an excellent starting point though. You want to make the grouting mixture into an easy to work with "more pasty" consistency. You DO NOT want a "runny" grout mixture especially because you will be adding another top coat later on anyhow. A 2 gallon plastic container works well for a mixing bowl on most floors. Mix both thoroughly and hand rub this grouting mixture into the joints of the floor. Make sure that all joints are completely filled with the sawdust grout mixture. Then, with the hand full of fluffed up steel wool, wipe off the excess grout mixture from the top of the wood blocks while dressing up the joints as you are wiping. You are also now installing the 2nd coat of polyurethane finish onto the Cedar Cobbled Wood Blocks at the same time. DO NOT be afraid of using a lot of steel wool (using a new hand full frequently) because the more grout mixture you remove now from the top of the floor, the less sanding you will be doing later on to remove it. Plus, you will be pushing the excess grout mixture atop the Cedar Blocks into the grout joints where it belongs. Just try to be as neat as possible when packing and wiping down the grout joints full of grout mixture.

Back to Sanding

Now that the grouting process coat is completely dry - It is time to lightly sand off all those rough spots on the wood block faces that are left over. OH YEAH ! Do not forget to vacuum again.

Repeat the Steps

Now that your Cobbled Wood Floor blocks are installed, grouted, sealed, sanded and vacuumed, get out the polyurethane again and hand brush on another coat. NEVER be tempted to use a paint roller at anytime during this entire wood flooring process because rollers only cause air bubbles in the finish - making for more sanding. Once this brushed coat is completely dry, look closely to see if any final blemishes need to be lightly buffed out before you vacuum and brush on another coat of Polyurethane. Hint: Having 4 total coats of Oil Based Polyurethane makes this wood floor and grout system wear like stone.

Now You Have A New "Cobbled" Wood Floor

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List Of All Things Needed *Per 100 Sq Feet*

Approx 900 blocks - Depending on your design

Rubber Based Glue - 3 gals @ 3/8" notched trowel

Oil Based Poly - 5 gals for grout and top coats

Saw Dust - 9 gallons

Steel Wool Pads - 2 - 16 ct packs (course)

Sandpaper - 6 sheets (120/150 grit)

A couple Paint Brushes

1 gal Paint Thinner

Rubber Gloves

Plastic Bucket

An Old Rag or 2

Thank-You for Reading our "Free" Floor Plans

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