When You Can't Do Real Hardwood

by Lori
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.
Frequently asked questions
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3 of 7 questions
  • Carol Cole 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 Deborah Miller on Feb 16, 2019

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

  • Phyllis Rodgers Phyllis Rodgers on Nov 10, 2020

    I have laminate floors in most of this old house (I remodeled on a tight budget several years ago). They are red and shiny. We since have used a new flooring in two rooms in a more rustic finish. My question is: can I safely remove shiny finish and restain the old laminate floors? I can’t justify taking up perfectly good floors just because I don’t like the color!

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  • Marie DeSalvo 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 Bry8193317 on Sep 28, 2016
    Looks amazing!