DIY Plywood Flooring

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We've been hearing a lot of good things about turning plywood into hardwood flooring and thought we'd give it a go. We'll be buying either oak or birch hardwood plywood and having it ripped into 3 or 4 inch boards, but we're looking for advice, tips, or anything anyone has to offer.
We've never laid any kind of flooring, most definitely not unfinished hardwood boards. No idea how to stain or finish them.... Basically, we've got no idea what we're doing, but we're pretty handy most days and want to give it a go. I've read and re-read this tutorial a thousand times: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-2EUMQNui7Tw/UKmeaxfJnkI/AAAAAAAAEWg/7le9w8eUsNg/s640/IMG_5936.JPG
Thanks for any and all help!
  8 answers
  • Z Z on Oct 07, 2013
    The link you share is just a photo, not a tutorial. I'm going to give a holler to Kevin of @KMS Woodworks as I'm sure he can give you his idea about this type of flooring.

  • Terry's Flooring Terry's Flooring on Oct 08, 2013
    I have been installing floors for over 30 years and would never do this..There is a reason they make tongue & groove floors..One reason is so you don't see the nail heads on the top of the wood and the tongue going into the groove keeps it from buckling up over time from expanding and retracting..Besides, you aren't going to get a precise edge when you go to rip your blanks up for the slats off a piece of plywood...Do yourself a favor and don't go cheap, because at the end you will be disappointed..Buy, real flooring for the job..That's my two cents worth ...That video you showed was a bunch of kids laying down the plywood floor and as you see there are cracks in the floor, and it will only get worse over time ... :)

  • WaywardWordNerd WaywardWordNerd on Oct 08, 2013
    I was hoping someone wouldn't say that.... haha. It's not necessarily that I want to go cheap in quality--just price. :) We're looking at flooring sales. Any tips on good places to look for deals on flooring?

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 08, 2013
    On a whole different level is the "durability" and refinish potential. With a real hardwood, like oak for example, it is much harder than "pine" based plywood. Real solid hardwoods can also be refinished multiple time. The top layer of plywood is far too thin to be "refinished". Labor cost of installing plywood versus real wood are pretty comparable...but long term the hardwood will not need to be ripped out and redone every 5 to 10 years because of wear...just refinished.

  • Sheila Sheila on Oct 10, 2013
    Hey! I laid plywood flooring in my living room 3 years ago and it is beautiful and was easy. I used 1/2 inch plywood ripped into 6 inch planks. I used 2 screws per plank and have had no problems with buckling or anything else.... I used a water based polyurethane to protect the wood. It was VERY inexpensive. I will upload a photo as soon as I can. Oh, I also have dogs. I would never use anything else. Good luck!

    • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 10, 2013
      @Sheila 3 years is not much time to make an evaluation....this floor here is 86 year old and going strong.

  • WaywardWordNerd WaywardWordNerd on Oct 14, 2013
    Slight counterpoint? I don't plan on being in my home for 86 years--only maybe five.

  • LandlightS LandlightS on Oct 14, 2013
    Most engineered flooring is more structurally sound than plywood. It also has tongue and groove construction and can be (depending on the selection) either glued, floated or stapled to the sub floor. Additionally, engineered flooring is pre-finished and is far superior to any in home stain and finish (with all due respect to floor finishers). And without the bevel edge on the plywood cuts, I would hate to see what happens to the butt edges when you sand the floor prior to finishing. If your still convinced that you want to do a ply-wood floor......use oak as birch is a softer species of wood, Gary

    • See 2 previous
    • Z Z on Oct 16, 2013
      Oh we know there's no comparison to real wood floors Kevin. We have solid 3/4" oak throughout most of our home that hubby installed after we moved in and plan on installing real wood in all the bedrooms after he retires. Right now he's only home 2.5 days a week and we just don't have the time to do such a major job and thought this might work for the interim.