Farmhouse Wide Plank Floor Made from Plywood! [DIY]

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As many of you know, it was just two short weeks ago that we opened the doors to the Picklee shop in Newport, RI! Getting the shop ready was a super exciting (and stressful!) process.  We were faced with a stinky, old, run down storefront that had been neglected for YEARS, but we had big plans to make the shop a beautiful place.  Sort of like reviving a stinky old chair…but on a much larger scale ;)

We fell in love with the space because it was in historic home built in the early 1700′s, so it was packed with original details and character…oh yea, and it was in the heart of the Newport waterfront shopping district =)

When it came time to renovate the shop, one of the first projects we took on was the floor.  The shop came with a Berber carpet that was probably three thousand years old…OK, maybe not that old-but it sure looked and smelt like it.  We knew we wanted to bring in beautiful & unique flooring that kept the shop true to it’s era, and save on costs at the same time.  We tossed around ideas for a while, and then eureka!  We decided we would create a wide plank, farmhouse style flooring using good ol’ fashion PLYWOOD!  Sounds a little crazy right? That’s what the guys at Home Depot thought too…just wait until I march back in and show them this!

plywood-floor-tutorial

I am absolutely thrilled with how beautiful the Picklee shop’s plywood floor turned out!  Its classic and true to the age of the space with it’s wide plank style, yet has a coastal farmhouse feel with it’s rustic look and white-washed finish.  I’ll to show you exactly how to get the look by making your very own wide plank plywood floor!

DIY Farmhouse Wide Plank Plywood Floor

First, I head over to my local Home Depot to scope out the different types of plywood.  I chose to use standard 1/2″ thick 4′ x 8′ sheets at a cost of just under $20 each!  I opted for these because they wern’t perfect.  They had knots, markings and lots of color variations…this was exactly the look I was going for!

With (lots of) help from the guys at HD, I loaded up my cart with the plywood sheets.  I needed 14 sheets since I would be covering an area of just under 450 square feet.  My original plan was to bring the sheets home and convince my lovely fiance to cut them into into planks for me, but then a miracle happened…the wonderful man at HD offered to cut them all for me!

In order to have zero waste, I chose to have the boards cut into 8 inch by 8 foot lengths, giving me six planks per sheet of plywood.  Thankfully I picked a slow time of day to go to HD because it took a little over an hour (and two trips to the shop and back) to cut all 14 sheets.  I am so grateful to the guys at Home Depot, even though they looked at me like I had 10 heads when I told them my plan for the planks ;)

Once the planks were cut, I brought them into the shop and laid them out.  First, I took out an electric sander and sanded all rough edges and splinters.  Next, I made up a mixture of 1/4 CeCe Caldwells Simply White Chalk Paint and 3/4 water.  You can alter this mixture depending on how “white” you want your flooring.  I used a roller attached to a broom handle to apply a coat of the white washed paint to all of the planks.

This next step is where my lovely fiance came in…some days I just don’t know what I would do without him =) First, Brett applied Bostik flooring adhesive to the backs of the plywood planks.  Next, he laid them into place then used a finish nailer to secure them to the floor.  We were lucky enough to have a strong wood sub-floor to shoot the finish nails into.  Brett used 1 1/2″ nails and shot them in on an angle.  We chose this method because we wanted the floor to have that rustic look.  The nails were spaced out about every 12″, placing two all along either side of each plank.


It’s important to have spaces in between the planks because wood will shift and expand over time.  We found that a metal straight edge gave the perfect distance between planks, so Brett used that as a spacing guide.


As Brett went on nailing down the boards, he used a table saw to cut some of them into different lengths so that we would give the boards a staggered look.  You can see some of the shorter lengths above…

See I helped a little here, passing him the pieces ;)

Once the entire floor was down, about 6 hours later…we applied three coats of Minwax Polyurethane (in satin) to give the floor a protective finish.  We waited 24 hours in between the first two coats, then only 2 hours between the second and third coat. Less than $300 and a day later, the floor was complete!  I couldn’t be more happy with the results =)

Sheer bliss….

**UPDATE!**

Here’s a photo of the floors inside the Picklee on Spring shop, 4 months after the install!  They are holding up wonderfully and we receive compliments daily!

I’ve had lots of questions about how to calculate square footage needed, here’s how…

Each sheet of plywood it 4′x 8′ (32 square feet). Simply divide the total sqaure footage of your space by 32 to figure out home many sheets you’ll need. Then just add an extra sheet or two for scraps!

Follow this link for more home improvement projects on Picklee!

Spruce up your home with these DIY Home Décor Projects too!

 

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175 thoughts on “Farmhouse Wide Plank Floor Made from Plywood! [DIY]

  1. First of all…I love the look of this floor!!! My curiousity is durability, etc…..would this work in my house? I don’t want a flawless floor by any means, but I want it told hold up and function well without warping and having to replace boards constantly….would it take stain?

    THANKS!

    • Alison, we’ve had it in our shop for just a few months now and we’ve been dragging, dropping and sliding things across it with no issues at all! We are pretty rough on it and it’s holding up great. We don’t mind if it gets a little dinged up either, that is the look we were going for after all =)

  2. Im new to your site. And have really enjoyed your DIY. Would you please post a picture of your wood floors with your furniture put back in the room. I love the idea, but not sure how it would look complete.
    I am about to redo our floors, and this would save us lots of money. Thanks.

  3. Beautiful!…We did our Kitchen floor this way 1 1/2 ago and EVERYONE who comes over comments on how much they love it! It has held up wonderfully so far. p.s. we got the same “are you crazy” looks when we picked up our plywood from Lowes ;)

  4. Your floors turned out great! Great minds think alike and I guess I’m not crazy after all (wee! can’t wait to tell my husband!) because I am doing the same thing to my entire house. I want all of the carpet and sheet linoleum gone gone gone. The only difference in my plan is that I already have 3/4″ plywood under all the carpets and so forth so I’m just planning to add some 1/4″ overlay on top, cut into strips of course. My house was built in the mid 1800′s and I am going to order reproduction square nails and nail it down from the top since the ply is so thin. I think it should look like original wood flooring when I’m done. Thanks for sharing..I loved seeing your pics!

  5. We did this about a year ago, but opted to stain it a deep pecan. We did a light sand and stain to each ‘plank’, then installed it in varying lengths like a regular wood floor, using adhesive and finish nails. Then, we put 4 coats of oil based, shiny poly giving the floor a deep, shiny and durable finish. I has held up like IRON and is in kids rooms so, it’s getting USED. I just vacuum it and then go over it with a damp mop and it beautiful. Careful planning and taking advantage of sales the the DIY stores, and it cost us less than $1/square foot for materials–and this floor is PERMANENT. If we get tired of it, we’ll be covering it with carpet. It’s definitely not for everyone—-this is a cottage finish, but looks great painted or stained.

  6. what if you’re not blessed with wood sub floors? our home is on slab foundation. would just gluing the planks down be good enough? your floor turned out beautiful…i would also love to see the furniture and rugs on it to see the finished look.

    • I am curious about this question to, I was going to ask it myself! I am about to move from home-based to commercial pet grooming and I would love to do this but theres a concrete slab under the current ugly carpet. Also, how do you figure out how many pieces of wood you need by the square footage of a room?

      • Katie,

        I couldn’t tell you about how to apply to concrete…my guess would be the same way as if you were going to put any hardwood (by using a sub floor). You may want to inquire at your local home improvement center and see what they recommend. As far as the square footage, each sheet of plywood it 4′x 8′ (32 square feet). Simply divide your total number of square feet by 32 to figure out home many sheets you’ll need. Add an extra sheet or two for scraps.

        • you put don a sub floor which is also plywood. How it attaches to the concrete is the same way they put down carpet tracks. With a powerful nail gun specifically made for floors.

          • I would apply a subfloor to your concrete first before attaching the plywood floor. Not knowing your situation, I would consult a professional about the sub floor option to use. The folks at Home Depot can be pretty helpful =)

    • As a General contractor , you never put wood directly to concrete, concrete sucks the water out of anything in contact with it, exactly why your house has a “styrofoam” sill break and pressure treated wood where it meets the foundation. If you want it on concrete floors, build a sub floor fist. lay down 4 mil poly on the floor then either build the floor with 2x4s and then 3/4″ ply for finished look or use “ceiling strapping” it’s 3/4″ thick, lay it flat and drill in to concrete to secure making sure concrete screws are below wood surface. If going the 2×4 route then you could also add insulation to the bays saving on your heating bill since concrete slabs do not hold heat.

  7. i think they look fantastic. we bought lumber liquidators cocoa birch flooring for our kitchen and while it looks great, it shows every.single.speck.of.dirt.and.dust!!!!!! i have been toying with the idea of painting them, maybe in a checkerboard pattern, but hubby looked at me like i had worms crawling out of my ears….i want to paint over them with a gray paint but let some of the dark wood show through, distressed like, and then poly over it.

    i just need to get up the nerve now…..

    i can’t wait to see the after picture of your shop….

    cindy

    • You would need something to adhere the plywood to, so I would say you should add something underneath. Your best bet would be to go to your local home improvement store and get some advice from a flooring expert =)

      Best of luck!

    • Hey!
      Hope this helps…Sandy at Paint me White blog is a fabulous painter of many things and she does her concrete floors white. She explains how she does it too…you might want to check that out. She’s a sweetheart too!
      Love the plywood floors that were done here as well…gorgeous job!

      Deborah ;)

  8. I love this idea and your floors are beautiful. Do you notice a lot of dirt building up in the spaces between the boards though?

  9. Hi Jordan – The floors look fantastic! Thanks for the tutorial. I definitely want to try this in our basement. I noticed on your FB page that the floors had what looks like large painted stripes. Are those the same floors?

  10. Hubby wants me to ask what grade (OS, etc.) of plywood did you use? I guess there are plywoods with hardwood veneers (which you obviously did not use) and they go down from there. We both love what you did! Last year we ripped up carpet in a bedroom and painted the bare plywood- but we want “hardwood” in other rooms.

  11. My wife and I loved this idea so wee did it as well. We stained ours dark mahogany and then used Cabot’s polyurethane. It turned out beautifully! It looks like distressed old wood floors! Thank you very much for posting this wonderful idea!

  12. would LOVE to do this in my kitchen. we have a 100+ year old house and the floors were very unlevel. we leveled them (as best we could) and laid ceramic tile. However due to the slight “give” caused by the leveling, the grout is always cracking and even a few tiles have broken. Plus I love to be barefoot and tile is COLD! I want to pull up the tile and replace with this technique, which, because it is wood, should give with the subfloor. I would really like it stained, not pickled, since we have oak cabinetry. Can anyone send in pictures of a stained version?? thanks and wish me luck!

  13. How about sound? I hope this doesnt sound dumb but is there an echo or anything lol. We got a loud 4yr old and 80lb bulldog so im worried about sound, scratches etc but yours looks amazing!

  14. Beautiful! Yes, this will take stain beautifully. We used 1/4″ birch plywood, stained and poly’d, for a backsplash in our kitchen and it’s gorgeous. I SO want to do this on my floors – I hate my Berber carpet too! Nice job! Thanks for sharing the whole technique, start to finish.

  15. Yes, yes, yes! Love this floor. We’ve been trying to figure out a low budget floor and I’ve been looking at plywood. I was looking at the nice, expensive stuff… but everyone said it wouldn’t wear good. In reality, I want the floor to wear down & look like worn down, original, long planks (not a nice, perfectly smooth plywood floor that we have to baby)… and this low end plywood has the effect already built in! This will only cost about 1/3 the price of the other plywood methods we were looking at. Plus, it seems like maintenance is really low, because if it gets a little beat up, it just adds to the effect.

  16. I am planning to do a study floor this way, however I’m not sure how many sheets of plywood I need. I have a subfloor under the carpet, but it is not plywood. The subfloor is particle board. Will I be able to nail into the particle board or will I nail into the floor joist. I want the wide plank so will the width of plank be determined according to nailing it to floor joist.

    Thanks
    Katie

  17. This is amazing! I actually want to do this in my house! Would it work for regular flooring? are you able to mop it and stuff without any problem? Id definitely want it to be ok when water is on it so I know its clean. And I have a 10 month old son who will be spilling things in the future, Im sure! :)

  18. Love these floors! How come your fiance put the Bostik flooring adhesive gluing the planks down along with the nails? Will the nails not hold enough by themselves?

  19. We were trying to figure out what to do in bonus room. wanted durable for rowdy kids plus cheap. the sub floor was already plywood so we just put a couple coats of stain-minwax dark walnut and loved it. We also used minwax poly..many coats. This is such an awesome idea!

  20. Question, Im seeing a lot of comments about subflooring. Our house was built in 1920 and we have the original hardwood floor would that work as “subfloor”? Could we just nail the plywood straight to our current floor?

    • We nailed ours down to the old wood, which I think had the original hardwood flooring under it…I’d say you could go right on top of your hardwood, but be sure to use flooring adhesive for extra security. You could always ask a flooring expert at your local home improvement store. I’m definitely not an expert on the subject =)

    • Our house was likewise built in the mid 20′s and unfortunately our existing (original!) hardwood floor has NO subfloor upstairs or down. It’s in horrible shape after 90 years and 2 layers of carpet stapled/nailed into it – you can see right through to the basement in some spots and the boards are warped and cracking between the joists. I wouldn’t use your hardwood as a subfloor unless it’s in great condition, but it’s your call. Personally I’d rather take up the old boards and repurpose them than hide them under new flooring (it was done with 4 layers of linoleum in our kitchen and I will never forgive the people who did it and ruined that beautiful quartersawn oak).

      One thing to note is that a floor installed on top of the hardwood planking will probably squeak and flex more than if you put down a new subfloor. Is noise a consideration for you? Other than that, if the existing floor isn’t too thick or you just don’t want to put down an entirely new sublevel I think it would work just fine. You would just have to pay more attention to your top plank spacing so you didn’t drive nails right through the cracks in the old hardwood.

  21. Do you have any problems with keeping the spaces between the planks from getting dirt and gunk built up in them?

  22. I did something similar in my kitchen 25 years ago, but used hollow core door “skin” – really cheap. The skins are marked with lines that mimic boards. I seem to remember they were luan mahogany. Home Depot charged a reasonable amount to rip them on the “board” lines. The “boards” were of 2-3 different widths. I separated them into piles according to width, but I don’t remember having to sand them at all. I staggered them on the floor by width, keeping the same width through each course. I cut the skins in half here and there so they would resemble boards. They seemed too blonde, so I diluted white paint with a little water and rubbed it on with a damp rag. My adobe house subfloor was wood, so I nailed them to it, then coated with several coats of polyurethene to protect them from moisture. The hardest part was keeping the children and dogs off while they dried. I did it when everyone was going to be out of the house for the required drying time.

    This sounds more complicated than it was. It was finished in less than a week working on it an 2-3 hours at a time. It does not need to be done all at once because the skin is so thin it doesn’t create much differential in the level of the floor. I sold that house 15 years ago, but the next owners didn’t remove it.

  23. For the people who want to apply plywood over concrete floors- use 1X4′s nailed down with a Hilti gun so you can shim them to level the floor first. I wouldn’t put them more than 12 inches a part otherwise your floor will be bending up and down making dreadful noises. The other thing I would suggest is to price out Baltic birch plywood. It is so much easier to work with and the knot holes are already filled. They aren’t any empty knot holes any where throughout the plywood either. It will give you a beautiful light floor that will make your room look bigger than it is. Good luck with it.
    Ted Brydges
    Construction Superintendent.

  24. Do you think you could get the same look by using a router or something else to put lines in the existing subfloor (spacing lines like wood planks)? We have a 40+ yr-old house that has very good quality, clean subflooring under the carpet?

    • My first thought is no. I think that would end up being a lot more work than it sounds. Also, subfloor is usually layed in different positions, so boards would be going in all sorts of different directions. I think your best bet is to lay a new floor on top of it. Just my opinion!

  25. Hi Jordan! I cannot thank you enough sharing your flooring story! My husband and I live in a ‘project”. We are on a TINY budget, with many “recycled” items in our little house. Despite our budget, things are turning out really good, but I have been stymied about the flooring. However, when I found your flooring post on Pinterest, I knew I had found my flooring answer. You have also answered all the questions I had (water, wear and dirt). Love the look, love the cost, gonna do it in the WHOLE house! Thanks again to you (and to the others who commented, I learned a lot from you’all, too!) Good luck with your store! I hope it is an amazing, joyful success! :o)

    • Laurie, I’m so happy to hear we could help! There’s nothing wrong with working on a tiny budget…in fact, I think those situations usually have the best outcome because they force you to “think outside the box”. Plus, its super rewarding when you know you achieved something beautiful on a pinch =)

      Thanks for your kind words, I wish you the best with your home =)

  26. I am so thrilled to have come across your post! We have a 400 square foot space that we wanted to have the wide pine plank look in, but didn’t want to spend $2500 on it! I knew there had to be a better way!!! Thanks!

  27. I am so thrilled to have come across your post! We have a 400 square foot space that we wanted to have the wide pine plank look in, but didn’t want to spend $2500 on it! I knew there had to be a better way!!! Thanks!

  28. Hi there! New to your site. ♥ the floors!
    We are getting ready to do our entire floor upstairs in plywood. My only question for you is after Lowes/HomeDepot makes the cuts to the above dimensions, once we are installing the boards will Hubs need to cut them again or do you only do this when you come to a wall?
    STUNNING!

    • Hi Buffy! Glad you like the floors! After the planks are cut, we sliced many of them into varying smaller pieces, just to give the floor a natural staggered look. We kept many at the long length too. Of course, you’ll need to cut all of the end pieces to fit exactly to size as you go too.

      Best of luck!

      Jordan

  29. I’m completely in love with your floor :o)
    Did you use standard wall paint with water? Did I get right?
    And what kind of finish did you give? Semi gloss?

    Thank you!!

  30. Thank you for this idea, the only difference is I will be putting it on my ceiling. We have been trying to find an affordable way to cover up our horrible popcorn finish ceilings and I think this might work!

  31. I LOVE that you did this flooring on a shop. This means that you have plenty of people walking on it with their shoes and if it can withstand that, it’s certainly tough enough for a house. Your website will be good supporting evidence for my skeptical hubby. He’s a little conservative when it comes to housing, but I think your blog is what I need to convince him that this is what we should do!! Oh man, if I knew how much you saved I too would have done this for my own store. Next time.

    THanks so much for the great photos and for taking the mystery out of this type of floor. If we are ever in VA I’ll come by your store and shake your hand. :-)

  32. Your floor is STUNNING. Will be attempting it in 2 bedrooms. Saw in the Home Depot Oak Plywood…so I may go with that. Curious however,
    - why you painted it before you put it down.
    - Would you be able to walk on it with barefeet by chance.(splintering problems).
    - Is there warping over time
    - were the planks pretty even when they cut them in the store.
    thanks…just amazed with the floor

  33. LOVE the look – thinking of doing this to our house (circa 1905). I was wondering – with all the little gaps in the wood (great for the look / expansion), but how does it hold up to little kids and Cheerio crumbs? When you sealed it, did the poly fill in the gaps?

  34. Hey, I love your floor!! I think it is a great idea and am thinking about doing the same thing. I am wondering about the cracks between the boards. Do they fill up with dirt and crud? I like to just sweep my floors rather than using a vacuum cleaner. Do you think the cracks are necessary, or could they be smaller?

    Thank you!!

  35. Just an FYI for who live in cold areas such as Minnesota: we put laminate wood flooring with a moisture barrier over a sealed basement concrete floor and the flooring became moldy! Later found out that it is a no no to put laminate on concrete basement floors because moisture comes through it. Not sure if this applies to real wood. The Home Depot salesman was not aware of this at the time we purchased this. I would ask a flooring expert, not Home Depot or Lowes salesperson.

  36. We will be doing the plywood flooring in our entryway though! Yay thanks to Picklee for the inspiration and instructions.

    • If you are doing this over concrete you will need to buy or create a ‘floating’ floor so that the wood does not touch the concrete. Concrete ‘breathes’ and that can cause moisture from the air to gather on basement walls and floors, so you will want to have some kind of air space for ventilation and drainage or you will end up with rotting floors (as Sarah found out in her previous comment). Do NOT use a vapor barrier, it will trap moisture on one or both sides and encourage mold/mildew. Floating floor ’tiles’ are available that offer a textured/channeled plastic on one side of a plywood square, which allows air to flow under your floor and keeps it from direct contact with the concrete, but they are expensive and you could probably figure out a way to do it yourself for less. :)

  37. HEY!! We are doing this right now in our home!!! :-D
    Except I am staining ours with Minwax Early American, and I do the staining and urethaning BEFORE we nail them down! I LOVE how yours turned out, and the “pickled” look you did, especially the after! They are aging really beautifully!!

    If anyone wants to see, I’ve been writing about it on my blog…. http://mylittlelifeinthecountry.blogspot.com/2013/05/im-doing-my-happy-dance-orfloor-d.html

    I also posted about staining and sanding all the boards in some March posts, if anyone wants to look through those to see what I did! I LOVE how they’ve turned out, and they have cost me about 65 cents a square foot!! If I can answer any questions, just let me know! :-

    • Hi Lisa! Your floors look great, I just checked out your blog!My only thought is that you may want to go over them with another coat of poly after they are all down for added protection…this way the poly soaks into the gaps and helps with spills, crumbs etc.

      Best of luck!

      Jordan

      • THANKS Jordan!! How sweet of you to take a look! :-)
        And I think you are right about a third coat…..I’ve been considering it anyway, just because they don’t look like they have any on at all once they are down! I’ve also heard of someone who put wax in the gaps between their boards ….have you ever heard of that??

        Thank you again for looking at my blog!! Keep up the great work with yours! :-)

  38. This is ABSOLUTELY BEA-U-TI-FULLLL!!!! I really enjoy seeing this. I am encouraged to try this in my whole house. On another blog, the family layed down the plywood and then used a router to cut the plank lines into it. I thought that was a great idea. It was less work and quicker to see the end results. You ROCK on this. Thank you again for sharing with us.

  39. So clever! Love it! I had a question – I’m not sure if its just the different lighting in the photos, but have you noticed any fading in the white wash? They look a bit more like natural wood in the “4 months later” pic but that could just be my phone screen!

    They look really incredible!

  40. Jordan, they look amazing!! Wow, what a great idea!! We are in the process of refinishing our plywood subfloors, but ours are Alt Board, so staining won’t be possible. I am keeping this project in mind for smaller rooms in my home!

  41. Love the floors!! I’m thinking about doing plywood floors in our new house. Do you really need the space between each board or can you leave space around the perimeter of the room like you would if you were doing a hardwood or laminate floor?

  42. Ok – getting closer to doing this project! Can I ask – what type of nails did you folks use? I’m thinking 16 or 18 ga, and maybe 2″? Also, since its still looking great, did you use an angled nail gun or straight? Thank you for any info !!!!

    • Love the floor! Did your fiancé nail the boards on just one side? If not, how did he nail them from both sides without the nails showing as they were nailed at an angle, right? (I do not see any nails in the pics) If he nailed just one side, will the adhesive hold the side down that is not nailed? We are definitely doing this and would like the nails not to show so we are very interested in your nailing process. We will be starting our project when we hear from you. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS PROJECT!!

      • If you look at the close up pics, there’s definitely nails showing. There’s 4 nail holes across the board about ever 12″.

        When you do wide plank flooring like this, you’re going to have to glue and face nail them unless your planks are tongue & groove. Cutting flat plywood planks like this (with no tongue & grooves) requires face nailing. It adds to the rustic nature of the boards. You could fill them with wood filler and then do a stain or white wash before finishing… but the nail holes add to the look.

        On regular wide plank floors (solid wood, not plywood), the boards are not stable & will move as the seasons & humidity changes. Plywood is a little more stable, but will still move. You want to make sure they’re held down good, but can still slightly move.

        If you just use glue, it would have to be strong enough to hold the boards in place. But that also means it would hold so strong, that when the boards want to move, they will start cracking & splitting. That’s why a combo of nails & flexible flooring glue is the way to go.

  43. We just finished putting these floors in our barn house (except for bathrooms & kitchen/dining). About 1500sq/ft in total! (And over 8,500 nails too! haha) Thanks for the idea. It ended up being the PERFECT flooring for our barn house (& even more so for our budget!)

    I’m putting a third coat on poly on them tomorrow and then they’ll be totally done. We did it exactly like you described, except we used regular wall paint for the white wash. Once they were poly’d, they didn’t quite stay as white as yours, but they still look great. I’ll have to add it up, but all in all, they were only about $1 per square foot to install. That’s about as cheap as flooring gets! Plus, they’ll last WAY longer than anything else in that price bracket. I took tons of pictures and even video of how I did it. Once our house is move in ready, I’ll compile all of it and put it on Youtube & my site (which got hacked while I’ve been working on our house & is messed up right now… bummer).

    To answer the question above, I used a 16 gauge, straight finish nailer with 1-1/2″ nails. (16 gauge is heavier duty than the 18).

    I only had a straight nailer, so I just held it at an angle. An angle nailer may make it easier, because every once in a while, a nail head wouldn’t shoot in all the way… but it was pretty stinkin’ easy to do anyway! I only had to use a nail set to hammer in about a dozen or so heads(out of 8500+) back into the floor.

    The reason I used 1-1/2″ was because my plywood sub-floor was 3/4″ and the plywood flooring I was putting down was 1/2″ thick. Together that’s 1-1/4″… but since I shot them in at an angle, I went with 1-1/2″. 2″ would work too, but not necessary (they’d cost more too). You’re just nailing the floor to the subfloor (& not trying to nail into the floor joists underneath), so the nails don’t have to be any longer than the thickness of the sub-floor plus the plywood you’re putting down.

  44. How well do they clean? How do you prevent dust and dirt from getting into the cracks? Just curious because I want to do this in my home, and with a dog well…So I just wanted to know how they were to maintain in the cleaning department.

  45. I am contemplating doing plywood floors in the bedrooms and game room upstairs in our new home. Love the whitewashed effect…was thinking about just painting them.

    Is the floor a smooth surface when you are done? Or do some planks sit higher than others, or bow, where the floor is uneven and furniture (or feet) will get caught on it? (we had an awful tile job once that was very uneven and it drove me nuts!)

  46. We’re doing this! Thank you so much! We just built a ‘bunkhouse’ (it’s really a cabin) in Wyoming last summer and in a month we’ll be back out there to work on the inside. We’ve been tossing around ideas for flooring, not really happy with any of it and when I found this pinned and showed it to my husband we both said YES! We figured it will cost us only $600 for wood for the entire floor! I pick up name brand polyurethane at our county recycle center for free! Now I can’t wait to get started! It was have the rustic look that I wanted all along! I bet this evening we head down to the lumber yard and start looking at plywood! Where do you live that you have a Home Depot that will cut your wood!!!

  47. WOW I’m impressed!! I have been looking for a long time on something to put in my dining room and kitchen!1 Now I have it. Looks like something I would like to do!! With being in the house do you have to put padding down? I have a sub floor will that be enough? I’m excited to get this started!!!

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  49. Hi Jordan! I just came by to admire your floors again and I was wondering how they have held up? It’s been almost a year and I’m assuming you get a fair amount of traffic in your shop? I have a fairly large dog so I was wondering if these would work for my house. I would be curious how they did with people wearing shoes and walking across your floors. Would love an update if you have a moment!! :-) :-) – Volya

  50. Hi! I found your post through Pinterest and I am absolutely in LOVE with your floors! I live in a 1900 farmhouse and these would look so perfect. I’ve thought of just using wood planks in my downstairs before but the dear Hubby always looks at me like I have 6 heads! :-)
    Now I’m going to use your post to strengthen my argument and show him it CAN be done! And look so beautiful! Thank you for a really great tutorial!

  51. Hi there,

    I was wondering the same as Yozi. How are the floors now? I really want to do this in my lounge and hallway but my boyfriend thinks I’m mad and that we should get laminate.

    How would it work with doorways?

    Lucinda

  52. Hi! I am SO impressed – the floors look incredible. I had a question about upkeep – - you have spacing between the individual boards which looks SO good. How do you keep those clean without them getting full of crap and dirt? Did you put some kind of transparent finish between them in the spaces or something? Well done!!!

  53. I love this! I plan on doing the same type of flooring in my In Law unit.

    I’m curious if you put down any sort of moisture barrier before nailing down the plywood strips, or if you simply nailed it directly to your sub-floor?

  54. Hi – wow – love this floor! I am opening a shop soon and have been looking for a great flooring option – this is ideal!! Can you tell me (dumb question) but did you fill all the nail holes then do the wash? I don’t see nail holes. I have almost 1000 sq feet to do – lucky my – unlucky me ha ha
    Awesome blog
    Thanks!
    Wendy

    • Hi Wendy, congrats on your new shop! We didn’t fill in any nail holes, they only make tiny holes because you shoot them in with a nail gun. The sealer coat covers the holes pretty well too.

      Best of luck,

      Jordan

  55. I love your floors! :) I’ve got plywood sub flooring right now. I was considering putting down my old fence boards for flooring, but am already using them for my back porch ceiling. I have plywood all over the place, so my head is twirling about cutting it into strips. 8″ makes nice wide flooring. A little sanding… You are WAY too cool!

  56. Pingback: New Project – the plywood floor » Pomeranch Saga

  57. Pingback: Low Budget DIY Plywood Plank Floors | DiyDork.com

  58. such an coincidence! we are just checking out (cheap) possibilities to replace terrible pvc on the floor of an old school house (over 100 years). everything seemed so expensive and/or too new looking. just a couple of minutes ago your first picture of the above blog post showed on my Pinterest board. this idea is awesome (and not too expensive for the huge area we have to cover!) thank you so much from far away ireland, eliane

  59. I am so happy I found this pin on Pinterest!!! I love this so much and think I’ll sweet talk the hubby into doing our floors like this in the very near future! They are absolutely beautiful and exactly what I want!!!

  60. Pingback: How To Make Old Farmhouse Wide Plank Flooring From Plywood - Tutorial -

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  62. When I leased space in an older building I knew I wanted to do plywood flooring. I’ve seen it done in a few other store years ago, and thought (to be honest) that it was a hip, cheap, way to put down wood floors. For some reason I googled plywood flooring and your site came up. I took one look at the picture … I, gasped with excitement and sent the link to my friend, and contractor. They encouraged me to use your plans. I just have to say, that while it isn’t quite finished just yet, I am IN LOVE with the look and the way it feels underfoot. The BEST part is, when people look at it they look at me with that {what is that} look on their face! When I tell them plywood the response is always the same … “WOW …. It’s gorgeous! … I would have never thought to use plywood!” — I’ll forward photos when it’s complete. Thank you for your post and your great step by step instructions. I appreciate another creative, out of the box, not afraid to take a risk kind of thinker!

  63. Jordan, I absolutely love your floors. I live in rental with horrible carpet and I’m going to ask my landlord if I can replace them with plywood. (Of course only if he pays the cost and I do the labor). I wish I had known about this 6 years ago when I still owned my home! You gave an awesome tutorial, which I read in its entirety. Thanks for being so gracious and sharing your knowledge. I will let you know when I get started and finish with my project.

    Blessings and I admire your patience!
    Cjmimi

    • That’s a good question. Usually you’d need a stair tread with a bullnose but you could probably just cut stair treads out of the plywood and maybe router the edges so they weren’t so sharp. Could also leave them as is for a supper rustic look!

      Let me know how you make out!

      Jordan

  64. Love love LOVE this! So creative and very unique looking! My husband and I are now wanting to do it for our home. Do you have any advice on what kind of plywood would work or does it not seem to matter? We are looking at the CHEAPEST possible option! Also – do you think 1/4″ Plywood would work as well instead of the 1/2″?

  65. Jordan: This looks great! One question, would you recommend 1/2″ vs 1/4″ plywood sheets?
    I’m not sure about their durability for this kind of use. We have 1940s linoleum tile flooring (probably asbestos but who knows) that I was planning to go over. It looks cheap and is old, dirty, and cracked anyway. We have oak strip flooring in the living room and dining room and ugly tile (they ripped up the oak strip flooring!) in the hallway on the first floor. The point is, we’ve been looking at large ceramic tile for replacing the downstairs tile and in the kitchen. I’ve been thinking of engineered hardwood for the second floor, but the expense has always killed me. So this looks like a fantastic solution with minimal thickness added to the floors. How’s it all holding up now too?
    Thanks!

    • Hi Josh! Our floor is still holding up great! Sounds like the plywood floor would be a great solution for you. I’m not sure how the 1/4″ plywood would hold up, I’d imagine it just may not be as durable? Maybe put a couple extra coats of poly over it for added protection? I’d give it a shot if I were you… afterall, the floor is supposed to look rustic, so no biggy if it ends up looking a bit worn after a few years =) You can always replace boards if need be too.

      Best of luck to you.

      Jordan

  66. We used plywood 10 years ago in a 20x30sq ft room. We used whole sheets however and screwed them down to a thick tongue and groove cardecking subfloor we screwed every 4inches set the screws and filled and sanded each each one. We stained the floor and did three coats of satin poly. Turned out nice but realized very quickly plywood is not hardwood immediately saw dings and divets from heels and grooves from sliding furniture. Plywood is soft so don’t think it will look like a hardwood floor as it will not.

    • Pam,

      You’re right. These floors definitely don’t look like real hardwood, they look like very rustic, old floor boards. We were going for that old, rustic, farmhouse look when we installed these, so we absolutely accomplished our goal! Like you said, if someone is looking for a real, perfect hardwood finish then this is not the solution. Sounds like you may have been looking for more of a perfect finish when you installed yours (especially since you filled all your nail holes =) ). We left our tiny nail holes open because we wanted them to look authentic. All a matter of preference =)

      Best,

      Jordan

  67. I absolutely love this floor! I have been debating the pros and cons of plywood flooring for about a year now and I really would like to lay it in my kitchen. Has anyone ever had an experience with laying any type of wood flooring in a house without a basement? My floors are concrete so I don’t know how to lay wood where it will stay down.

  68. Wow wow wow, I’ve been searching all night for how to white wash floor boards, as we were looking at getting them laid in our loungeroom, but I can’t wait to see the look on my fiances face when I tell him I want to try this! Do you have any other blog posts on what they look like now? Thank you for the great idea, this is going to save us buckets!

    • Hi Katrina! I’m so glad you found us! These floors definitely save a ton of money & look AMAZING! There’s no new blog post on the floors, but after almost two years they look almost identical to the day they were installed, plus a few more dings from all the furniture we move in the shop =) Any dings just add more character to the floors since they are suppose to look rustic.

      Best wishes to you!

      Jordan

      • Thanks for replying so quickly! Just a question about how you nailed them down, did you go along the sides of the planks or across in sets of 4 (what I can see in the close up) ? And did you leave the majority of the planks the full length, 8 feet? We have a weekend off in a couple of weeks so will be giving it a go! So excited after not having a loungeroom floor for 2 1/2 years! (Long story!!)

        • Yes, we nailed them in sets of 4 across the side, and the planks were cut into all different lengths to allow for staggering. I’d say 50% were 8 ft. and the rest varied. You can cut the varying lengths as you go =)

          So happy to hear you’re going for it!

  69. Pingback: Final Flooring Decisions | ThreeNineOhFive

  70. BRILLIANT IDEA!! Well executed.

    I just bought 2000 sq feet of 12″ wide pine tongue and groove, and could have done it this way.

    Well, I’ll do it next project. :-)

  71. Pingback: DIY Plywood Floor - The Sawdust Diaries

  72. Oh boy is Bill going to be happy I found this page. We are looking for a home but we found out that for what we want we will only be able to get a fixer upper, ya know “needs TLC”. Thats okay we want to make it our own. This floor is gorgeous, inexpensive and would surely fit out style. I’m going to share it with my fb page so I can find it again easily. This blog makes me believe even more that we can do it. Thanks for sharing.

  73. cant wait to try this,and I have a cece caldwells’ dis. for best friend :). Knowing me I may play w/ some color for a wash like the color stains they have out,I used a jade stain on my cabinets, so mabey destin gulf green on my floor!

  74. Oh my this could not have come at a better time! You see we have a room that desperately needs something done to the flooring…. on a strict budget! I do believe this is the answer… especially since when I figured out we would only need 4 sheets total! and I have a balance on a gift card from Lowe’s!!! plus add in our military discount… I do believe we can actually do this without spending a single penny out of pocket! I will let you know how it turns out! Thanks!!

  75. Hi Jordan!
    These are amazing floors! I want to know how much of the chalk paint and water did you use for your square footage. I am dealing with about 900 SQ.FT. for our entire upstairs master suite and stairwell. You did not say if you used a quart or a gallon of the chalk paint and how much water did you use to thin it out. I want to make sure I have enough chalk paint up front so I am not making hour round-trips to the store for the paint. Also, does the Minwax poly “yellow” after time? I have raw unfinished 60 year old pine boards as the original subfloor and I am so looking to get started!!

    Thanks for all you do!
    Stephanie

    • Hi Stephanie,

      If you use full strength paint, you can cover approx. 150 with each quart (chalk + clay paint is sold by the quart). However, since this is watered down wash, I’d estimate that you could cover 900 sq. feet with about 3 quarts (using a 50/50 paint to water mixture). We used a water-based poly, so that iwt wouldn’t yellow. The oil-based poly’s are the ones that tend to yellow more =)

      Hope this helps!

  76. My friend did this about a year ago, not only did her floors but also her walls.

    One thing I would suggest to people who are wanting to do it…. Three coats of poly is important, but….. the first two coats should be high gloss. Gloss is stronger than satin. Thee last coat should be satin which will be perfect for taking the unwanted shine down.

    My friend’s floor looks fabulous after a year BTW.

  77. We did this kind of floor in our house 27 years ago. They have stood the test of time, raising 6 sons in this house along with all their friends and now 6 grandchildren. We used 1 X 10 knotty pine shelving board put down with cut nails, stained it double pecan and then varnished it. Every one who comes into our house for the first time is astonished at the floors, but love them!

  78. I love the floors! II was wondering if someone has Actually done it over concrete just with the nails?
    We want to replace my ugly pinky tile that once looked like Mexican tile

  79. Thank you so much for this wonderful info!
    We have put in an offer on a old general store that we are going to run as a farm-to-table guesthouse. The main room is huge and open concept and it’s the area that was originally used as the store. It’s been reno-ed (everything was torn out) but it’s basically a blank loft-like slate! The floor which are laminate and so awful looking. Knowing that we can have such charming and well suited floors for such an affordable price and be able to DIY it is THE BEST NEWS and has made us even more excited about the though of living in such a unique building.
    Thank you SO MUCH!!!

  80. “I’ve had lots of questions about how to calculate square footage needed,”

    Seriously? People can’t figure that out?

    Great job though, it looks really nice.

  81. Thanks for posting about your gorgeous floors! Can you tell me how they are holding up? My carpenter says they will fray at the edges. Just wondering. I want to use your idea in my guest room.

  82. We need temporary flooring in our kitchen/entry area because we are remodeling our condo in stages. Once we complete our remodel the plan is to put hardwood throughout our home. It could take us 2- 3 years before we are ready for permanent flooring.

    I’ve been scouring multiple websites for a cool, super low cost “temporary” flooring solution. A few days ago, I found your tutorial and was soooo excited! My husband gave me the…are you out of your mind look like I was expecting.

    Today, the plywood subfloor arrived, it is sanded and cut into planks. I’m experimenting with stains and white washing. Tomorrow, I’ll stain them and they will be nailed down on Friday. This weekend poly will be applied!

    Fingers crossed and thank you sharing your flooring adventure with all of us who need a little “nerve” to try the unthinkable. LOL

  83. How big of a gap did you leave in your floor between the boards on each side? Do u find dirt going in the spaces? I want to stain each peice a different color to make it look like reported wood……

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