Wednesday, June 8, 2016

DIY Plywood Floors

While the true before and after is still in the works, I am sooo excited to share this flooring project- and be done! The room off of the kitchen nook is what we are calling "the great room." It is about 750 sq. feet with built in bookshelves, a fireplace, sliding doors to the pool/deck and has two almost floor to ceiling windows. While the rest of the house has super custom tongue and groove wooden floors, carpeting covered this room--why???? The carpet dated back to 1979, so it was gross and had to go. Problem: I didn't want to put down carpet again as this room gets a lot of traffic and I didn't want to spend money (like $5K+ um no) on wood floors to match the rest of our house. Solution: - use plywood! 

Before- The Great Room 

For this project we used the following tools/supplies 
(we already had most of the power tools, we only had to buy glue/paint/poly)

Compound Miter Saw // Nail Gun // Air Compressor // Jig Saw (to cut around trim) 

Step 1- Get Plywood:

We got our plywood from Lowe's and they cut (for free!) all 22 sheets into 8" planks length wise. We purchased 19/32 un-sanded pine plywood. Un-sanded is about $10/sheet cheaper and we knew that we would have to sand regardless. The sheets measure 4'x8' so 8" planks worked well as the entire plywood sheet can be used, no waste.

Step 2- Sand Plywood: 

Not going to sugar coat it- this step sucked x10. I wanted to make sure we don't get splinters every time we walk on the wood so we gave it a really good sanding. Highly recommend using an orbital sander and rough grain sanding pads- buy the big pack, you will need it! We sanded the side with the least amount of knots and made sure all edges were smooth to the touch and completely rounded. 

sanding selfie (FYI- this angle makes me look skinnier than I am, whoohoo!)

Step 3- Installation: 

Whit did most of the installation while I sanded. This was our system- I would sand 3 to 4 planks, bring them to Whit, sit on a chair, drink some beer, then go back to sanding. We worked our way from one side of the room to the other and made sure that the entire row of boards was equal widths. Before we would nail in the planks we used sub floor glue on the plank. Using a nail gun is necessary as it would take a year to nail 4,000 nails by hand. The gun for the glue didn't work so we just cut open the glue and just shellacked it on the center of the board every 12". We make sure to not have all the boards even with each other, as we wanted a random pattern throughout the room.   Overall the sanding and installation took a solid weekend- like 8am-8pm Sat/Sun- with our only breaks being to go chase Frank when he would sneak out of the garage and chase deer.

beer chair

Step 4- Paint

After we vacuumed every freaking square inch of the floor and wiped everything off with damp towels, we were ready for paint. Since the rest of the house is wood, using a stain would just straight up clash- and really, I don't want this to look like plywood floor, ha. We are keeping the wood trim in the room since we want the feel of this room to be a cozy man cave/den/great room. More deets on my inspo/vision to come later. Back to the finish- floor couldn't be stained due to clashing, and since I wanted a cozy feel, I decided to go with BLACK FLOORS!. The color we (I) choose was Benjamin Moore's Onyx tinted into flat exterior latex paint from Lowe's. My thought was exterior paint will wear better and be more resistant to elements.  Whit would roll on the paint and i would follow with a paint brush to make sure all the cracks were painted and filled.

Step 5- Top Coat of Poly

Poly- cool term for Polyurethane. We used satin finish so the floors wouldn't stand out too much, but could still be wiped off cleaned up easily. This step smells terrible so make sure to open windows or wear a mask if you are in a small enclosed space. We rolled on the poly like we did with the paint but noticed tiny bubbles of air. I was scared they wouldn't pop before the poly dried so Whit had a ton of fun smoothing out the bubble by hand with a paint brush.
air bubbles
Whit brushing out the air bubbles- he loves life 


I LOVE LOVE LOVE the finished floors. They are clean, sleek and oh and they cost like $.50/sq foot, so yeah, cant beat that! This project is definitely on the list of "major projects" - wait, I feel like every one is...  but although it is a ton of work and consumed a full week/weekend, we are really happy with the results. I can't wait to show you the final before and after of this room.

I also encourage you to go check out this DIY Tutorial if you are going to do this project yourself, I was inspired from Jenny's post.


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