When You Can't Do Real Hardwood

4 Days

Thanks to some very creative inspiration, We redid the floors in our new/old house in plywood. Here is my new bedroom floor getting all pretty with a nice pecan stain. This room was an experiment to see how it would work and we couldn't be happier with the results. We used only 1/4 in. plywood in case we were unhappy with the results so the loss would be a little easier to handle. It worked so well we decided to do the whole house in plywood but we used 1/2 in and stained a little richer in color.
Bedroom floor getting a pretty pecan stain
Here's a shot of the completed bedroom floor
For us, it was an issue of money. We had to redo the floors in this old house we bought but couldn't afford real hardwood and I despise carpet. So, after searching the internet for diy floors, this is what we decided to do. A year later, my husband and I still love our floors. We love the savings, we love the look and we love that we did it ourselves.
This is the living room
It really was pretty simple all things considered. It went something like this...
1. Select the 4 x 8 sheets from Home Depot. We chose to buy finished on one side so sanding wasn't needed
2. Ask Home Depot to cut it into 12 inch planks (that's what we wanted for a farm house look)
3. Hubby laid out the planks how we (I) wanted and then cut them down to size as needed making sure to leave about 1/4 inch space next to the wall. (some sanding was needed on a few edges)
4. When it was all down, sized accordingly and pleasing to the eye hubby nailed it all down into place. Planks are fitted as closely together as possible.
5. Enter me...sweep and mop so all debris is gone and floor is relatively clean
6. When I was ready to apply the stain I had a bowl of water and rag along side the can of stain. I had read the plywood would accept the stain better if it was damp so I rubbed the floor with the wet rag and then applied the stain right after. The process took about an hour and a half to do this 25 x 11 room
7. Then, daily I applied more coats of stain, minus the wet rag after the first time until I had 4 coats down. Next a coat of polyurethane every day until I had four coats down.

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Have a question about this project?

6 questions
  • Eva
    on Jun 5, 2016

    Can it be secured with something other than nails? We are in a rental.

    • Lori
      on Sep 12, 2016

      Hi Eva, I read about some people using glue (liquid nails) but I don't think that would be less permanent. The only thing I could think to do would be to lay the planks down and don't secure them at all. It would mean staining the planks first (one at a time) and then laying them down on he existing floor. If you have a nice snug fit it might be a decent temporary fix.

    • Lit12222492
      on Sep 28, 2016

      Just put caulking around edge and fit them as tight as u can then remove the caulking with utility knife when your leaving .

  • Eva
    on Jun 5, 2016

    Can the wood be secured with something less permanent than nails?

  • Aar9141025
    on Jul 29, 2016

    Hi Lori, My name is Anne Arntson and I am the Editorial Production Assistant for HouseLogic.com. I'd like to touch base with you about using a high-resolution version of the living room floor image here. We link to this page in an article on affordable DIY flooring. Can you please send me an email? aarntson@houselogic.com. I'll explain the details. Many thanks!

    • Aar9141025
      on Aug 11, 2016

      Hi Lori, I wanted to follow-up with you about a high-resolution version of the living room floor image here. Please email me at aarntson@houselogic.com or the visual editor at liz@houselogic.com. Thank you!

  • Pam Lewandowski
    on Oct 6, 2016

    Hi Lori, a couple of questions. I apologize in advance as I haven't read all the comments/ questions. I wanted to find out did you use insulation pad between your subfloor and the planks? Also, the planks cut by HD, did the sides not need sanding? Appreciate your time!! Oh and by the way, they look amazing!!!

  • Carol Cole
    on Sep 25, 2018

    I love it, I love how you didn't darken it like some floors are. Itis beautiful. Will u come do mine?

  • Deborah Miller
    on Feb 16, 2019

    How much did your project cost? What size was the room?

Join the conversation

2 of 75 comments
  • Marie DeSalvo
    on Aug 25, 2016

    I also have a hardwood floor in my living room. I need a refinishing idea that it would no cost a lot. Took up a wall to wall carpet with beautiful hardwood under it. I was wondering how and what to use or to hire someone. Also there are water damage in spots where there are warped boards that need to be addressed. Can anyone give me information on how to fix those boards?

  • Bry8193317
    on Sep 28, 2016

    Looks amazing!

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