Floors From Plywood to “hardwood Look”

4 Materials
1 Week

Are you looking for an inexpensive way to redo your floors? I sure was and when I saw how to do it I gave it a try! Hope this will inspire you to give it a try too!
Bedroom before. Old carpet and paint.
To start I emptied the room of all the furniture.
Paint color change.
I wanted a lighter paint for the room. I used the Lowes Valspar one coat paint. It had the primer already in it so it saved me having to paint the room twice. Always take the face plates off before you paint. I fiound out the hard way that there are two sizes of switch plates and plug plates. I had to go back and buy the larger size but I do like it better! I painted a fresh coat of white on the trim too!
Remove old carpet and pad
I used a razor knife and cut the old carpet in 3 foot strips. I rolled up each section and used packaging tape to wrap each piece. Repeat the same with the pad.
Remove the tack strip
With gloves on... pull up the tack strip around the edges of each wall. The points are really sharp so don’t forget the gloves. Pick up any staples and hammer down any nail heads that are sticking up. Sweep the floor.
Laying out a few of the placks
First I went to Home Depot and found a great 1/4” plywood that has a hardwood top layer. I had it cut into 5” wide strips. I also got 2 rolls of an underlayment. Before you put the planks down to nail you need to sand all edges. I brought a few planks in the room to get an idea of how it will look.
Underlayment goes down first
Unroll The underlayment and staple it down all sides. When you have the floor covered you are ready to start planking. I started with 3 different lengths, 5’, 4’ and 1’. You don’t want to have two of the same lengths beside each other. Staggered is more natural if you want it to look like a true hardwood floor. I used a brad nailer to attach each board.
Spacing the planks
When you start your placement keep in mind that wood will shrink and swell with temperature changes. With that in mind you need to leave a 3/8” gap between the plank and the wall. That will be covered when you put the quarter round down. The spacing between the planks is a credit card.
Once your planks are all attached you will be ready to start staining.
Staining complete
I tried several different ways to do this. I haven’t used stain before so I wanted to practice on a scrap piece of wood. The easiest for me was to use a 2 1/2” wide paint brush to put the stain on and a old rags to wipe it off. The stain creates its own color variation. I let that dry for 24 hours.
My choice for stain
After you stain is dry you need to put 4-5 coats of polyurethane on your floor. That IS your protection! The more coats you use the more protected it is.
Floor finished!
I was so excited to see how much it looks like real hardwoods! Can’t beat it for the price. My floor is holding up great! No scratches or wear marks. I do believe it is the number of coats of polyurethane that keeps it as durable as the real thing! Going to do the hall to match! Love it love it!
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 36 questions
  • Kris
    on Dec 1, 2019

    Since the plywood was only 1/4” I was wondering if there was any waste due to warping before you laid the floor? Did you have the store make your cuts or did you cut them yourself?

    I love the look, you did a beautiful job. I would have never thought of using that product! Thanks for your share!

  • Kathy K-jo Ford
    on Dec 7, 2019

    How well will this hold up? Would it work in a dinning room area? My husband says it would be waste of time and money even trying this, because plywood isn't able to hold up, and should never be used on floors, but I'm really curious if it really does? This is why we DIY right?! Lol. I wanna know!

  • Heje
    on Jan 22, 2020

    when you sanded, did you bevel the edges? I read in another article that they sanded to bevel the edges.

Join the conversation

3 of 156 comments
  • Kathy
    on Dec 18, 2019

    this is a beautiful way to do floor on the cheap. Idisagree about puting wood in the kitchen I did it before turned out wonderful .My daughter washed floors and left them quite wet everything was fine .thanks for the tutorial great information. Kathy

  • Sue
    on Jan 23, 2020

    I hope you did the happy dance after you had completed the room.

    Its gorgeous,love it.

    Great Job.

    • Judymgibbs
      on Jan 23, 2020

      You are so kind! Thank you. I think I do the happy dance ever time I walk by the room. I just love the look!

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