You can use virtually any type of wood to create your tiles. Hard, soft, beams, posts, 2x4's, etc.
After reviewing all the steps, I encourage everyone to take the time to do a few sample boards before starting. It gives you the opportunity to get familiar with the process, the different materials, the size tiles you want to work with, the patterns, the products, etc. Once you have determined the shape and size of tiles you want to use, you'll want to calculate the number of tiles you'll need for the space to get a rough estimate of how much initial material you need to work with.
Step 2: Your Source
Select what type of wood you want to cut down into tiles and make sure you have enough to cover the required square footage.
Step 3: Cut Tiles
Using a power mitre box, we cut our 4x6 pine beams into 3/8 of an inch thick tiles. You can adjust the thickness of your tiles to insure a smooth transition with any adjoining floors. (save your sawdust as you go in a clean collection bin -- you will need it for the grout)
Step 4: Round over Edges
We rounded over the top edges of all tiles using a 1/4 inch round over bit on the router table.
Step 5: Count and Box Up
Do all your cutting first and cut the estimated number of tiles before you begin laying the floor. Our room was 240 square feet and we used just shy of 1500 4x6 tiles. Count as you go and compile in boxes for easy transport.
Step 6: Laying the Floor
Unlike traditional tiling where you start in the center of the room, we started along the edge of the adjoining floor and worked our way to the back of the room, going from side to side. Trust your eyes. You are working with a material that is not 'perfect', so as you work your way from side to side with each row, you are able to keep things in line with how you position your tiles as you go along. We did not use any spacers or chalk lines, but if you feel this will help you keep things in line, try it. Do a dry fit of a few tiles before you begin applying the adhesive to see how things are going to line up. Embrace any irregularities. They honestly do add charm to this type of flooring application.
Working in small, manageable areas, spread a layer of eco-friendly adhesive/mastic with a v-notched trowel and begin securing tiles. We left about 1/8 of an inch gap between each tile and another half inch gap around the perimeter of the room to allow for natural expanding and contracting.
Note: Make sure your subfloor is solid and smooth. No protruding nails, screws or staples.
Step 7: Press Firm
Be sure to press each tile firmly into the adhesive for a strong bond.
Step 8: Cutting to size
To cut tiles into certain sizes to accommodate walls, cutouts, edges and curves, we marked the tiles and used a benchtop band saw.