DIY Plywood Plank Floors

6 Materials
3 Days
Yes, that says Plywood Plank Floors! - Trust me, it's easier than you may think! We did this in a bedroom! - People think they look like high-end expensive floors... However, we have discovered since then that it would be cheaper to do tongue and groove 3/4" pine (the back side of wainscoting, which is the flat side, would be up - we plan to do the rest of our home with this). I'd say the bedroom, which is pretty good size, cost us about $225 total - including the lumber yard cutting the planks for us from the plywood sheets, the oil base stain and oil base satin finish polyurethane - we were advised to use oil base products for durability by a professional builder/remodeler friend, and the pine plywood seems to have a very hard surface. Because of squeaky floors, we put down sub-flooring first and then glued the back side of the planks with Liquid Nails, as well as used a pneumatic nail gun (note that we used large nail heads). We love the rustic old look it has! Perhaps someone can shed more light on the tongue and groove flooring idea. It makes sense cost-wise for us to do, and we have about 2,000 sq. ft. to cover yet! People online talk about using cheap finished 1 side plywood - we did a LOT of looking around our area (Western NY), and did not find anybody that carried anything like that.
Getting a good start!
Almost there! - and this went very quick with 2 people! - Maybe about 2 hours! I measured, he cut and applied the Liquid Nails, I placed the planks and used the Nail Gun! :)
Ready for sanding! Literally sat on my butt and used a palm sander, which is quite user friendly. We might try sanding before install next time, but it seems that all the "real" hardwood floor folks install then sand...
Stain before some more sanding! - This time, I did the sanding by hand (before applying the polyurethane) to have more control of the color. With the plywood planks (pine - finished one side), it sure soaked up the color! - Made me glad we chose a darker color stain!
After sitting on my butt, scooting around the room sanding by hand, to get the desired look . / I'm sorry I don't have pix of the finished room without furniture, etc. in it - but trust me, it's beautiful! - everyone's impressed!!!
Here we are with some furniture in the room - this is used as a guest room and for our new grandbaby when she is with us!
This gives you a good idea of the satin finish. It looks rich! - I, personally, am not in love with shiny wood floors, so this is our desired look. All in all, we would say this was a fairly easy project - started very early on a Saturday morning - did the cutting of the planks and install on Saturday, as well as sanding and applying the stain. Sunday, was light hand sanding and touch up stain where I thought it was needed - waited for it to dry - and applied the first coat of polyurethane before bed. Monday, got up early and applied the second coat before we took off for the week! Would DEFINITELY do this again!! - only with the 3/4" tongue and groove pine - flat side up!!!!! - just because of the cost factor ... unless someone out there can tell us where to find that CHEAP finished one side plywood!!
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  • Terry Terry on Aug 15, 2021

    Considering this as a cheaper alternative for a rental did you bevel the edges and how well does it hold up to dents and scrathes

  • Suze Suze on Aug 15, 2021

    How did you finish up the doorway? Would have liked to see a photo of that, as I doubt you left it with the raw edges in the doorway

    Also, think this would be workable in a light traffic area, such as bedroom, where furniture isn't likely moved often.

  • Joe Jones Joe Jones on Apr 15, 2022

    Shari will you post a picture of the tongue and groove you say you guys would have used if you knew or are going to use next time? I have a 16x18 room I have to do and this is brilliant. I did my hallway with 1x4 boards and I wish they were wider and they didn’t have the beveled edges for stuff to get in between them. But it works and looks great stained like this.

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  • Cso51108026 Cso51108026 on Oct 01, 2022

    Plywood is a great way to do floors! We had subfloor differences in a 1906 Craftsman that has 2 1/4" maple floors, and needed to continue flooring where reclaimed flooring would have been much too tall, due to the subfloor being thicker. A real trip hazard! We would up using 5/8" maple plywood that we cut into 2 1/4 strips and staggered/glued, and gave it a natural stain and poly, to blend with the original flooring in the adjoining room. NO ONE believes it's plywood!!! And it's held up beautifully (note: on a floor, as a contractor, you will NEVER regret multiple, multiple coats of polyurethane, and a marine-grade if you can find it!!! ESPECIALLY with kids/pets - you can then use a flooring like this in a kitchen or bath, because the marine-grade poly makes it water-rated for high moisture areas!!! So, easy to fun an inexpensive flooring throughout an area!).

    Note: For folks looking for 1-side sanded, both Menards and Home Depot carry it - it's literally called sanded plywood, and a 4x8 foot sheets runs just over $20. That works out to about 65 cents/square foot!!! It doesn't get cheaper than that for solid flooring!! AND, if you use a construction-grade adhesive glue, you can spare the nails, which are visible... Give it a go - if you hate it, you're not out a tremendous investment. But, I'm willing to bet you'll love it!! ~Chrissie

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Jan 20, 2023

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.