November 17, 2012

DIY plywood floors

I was the laughing stock of my dad, our contractors, the hardwood flooring guy (who laid our main floors), Ron at Rona (since my dad HAD to tell him my plans for the maple plywood I was buying) and a couple of friends, but I went ahead with it anyway.
I (along with my ever supportive sister--she loves wacky ideas as much as I do!) laid 3/4 inch maple plywood on our entire third floor.

I didn't come up with this myself. I was originally introduced to plywood floors by Daniel and Valeria at Hindsvik blog. They laid these amazing plywood floors in their house and I was completely inspired to give it a go. Our third floor even looks like theirs!
But I also did a Google search and found that many other people have done their own version as an affordable and fairly simple finished floor.

We had a pretty level subfloor to start with but it was a bit noisy and our master bedroom is right below. So I decided to lay a thin foam pad to absorb some sound. Daniel and Valeria laid their floors over thin carpeting so I thought that thin foam pad would be OK.
I cut it to size and taped it down with tuck tape.

We then roughly laid out a few boards that were pre-cut by Rona into pieces that were 1 ft. wide and either 4 ft. or 8 ft. long. We thought this would give it the feel of old floorboards although I have seen others do it in squares or just 4 ft. X 8 ft. sheets.

When I was happy with our starting point, I started nailing in the boards. We used 1 3/4" finishing nails for most of this project.
In the end, I did end up using a few screws here and there because I found that some boards had a bit too much movement. This may have been because of the underlayment which had a bit of give. The screws did the trick though.

My sister brought along her third baby-- her Makita mitre saw to help us out. You need something like this for cutting and fitting the boards. A mitre box and a hand saw just wouldn't be enough.
We also had to do a bit of ripping on some edge pieces with the table saw.

I was getting pretty good with these saws by the end! My proudest cut was this little "L" to go around a structural bit of the house.

This is yours truly in action!
Wearing my "uniform" as of late.
A couple of 5 year olds in my daughter's class looked at me in disgust last week and said, "you've got huge holes in your pants!"
Ha ha! I can take it!

The floors starting to take shape.

After we laid all the planks, I set the nails,

and filled the holes with wood filler.

There were a few boards that had larger gaps between them so I filled those (and the screw heads) with wood filler as well.
I then gave the floors a light sanding.

And finally, 3 coats of water based, satin finish Varathane for floors.
The pad method for applying the Varathane (shown in the picture) did leave some marks for me, so I did the final coat entirely with a brush-- back breaking!

Ta da!!
This is the finished floor!

I kind of love it!
Here's the back bedroom with trim in place.

Can't wait to get some furniture in!


  1. What an ingenious idea for flooring?! I would've never been able to pull that off. Your new plywood floor looks gorgeous Keira, and I can't wait to see the room furnished.

  2. Wow - you're really handy! Can't believe you two did that on your own. How long did it take? I like that you went with 1x4 and 1x8 pieces so it looks like planks

  3. Thanks, guys! It was a bit of work and took about a week to complete (not working full time at it since I've got kids) but was a lot of fun and completely worth it!

  4. That looks fantastic! The light, wide planks are very calm and modern looking, they remind me of Dinesen floors.

    1. Wow, I love those Dinesen floors! I've never heard of them before. This is exactly what I wanted for the main living space, but could only find very wide planks in an engineered, pre-finished wood.

  5. Wow! What an achievement!!! It looks amazing!!!


    1. Thanks, B! The kitchen is going in now. It looks a bit like your own!

  6. Wow, what a great job, looks phenomenal! I may go this route for our garage/studio/flex space and do the walls in plywood as well, it gives that Scandinavian cabin feel!

    Looks like you guys are at the same stage we are at, we just had flooring done this weekend and moving next week, ready or not.. Good Luck!

  7. Nicely done. I like wooden floorings as they are warmer in the winters and coller in summers. Do share pictures of your completely furnished house as I like it already :)



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  12. These are beautiful! How do you mop them?

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  25. Floor looks great !! Just wondering what company foam pad (to absorb some sound) did you use and it is VOC free? Thank you

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