Wide Plank Distressed Pine Flooring CHEAP *Updated 2-5-17

02-05-17: We have loved the floor so much we just put it in another room (dinning room).  It is amazing how much my son still continues to help out.  He is a dad’s best friend.  I had to cut the flooring in the main entry so I could tie it in.  Was super easy and the final result is awesome.

***(08-19-16) 3 years in and the floors only look better with age.  3 kids-a cat-and a 75lb greyhound rescue.  We LOVE our floors more and more each day***

This is our first post on our first blog…sorry if it is a bit dysfunctional.  
This is a VERY easy and inexpensive project with high visual impact.  You can do it…just go for it!!!  What is the worse that can happen??
Let the fun begin…..
Builder Grade horrible flooring

Builder Grade (boring) flooring

taking up old flooring ..son helped out

taking up old flooring ..son helped out

wife pitched in...big time

wife pitched in…big time

Cleaned up the floor

Vacuumed the subfloor

painted subfloor black so that subfloor would not show through

painted subfloor with black paint left over from another project so that subfloor would not show through the new planks and to seal the subfloor.

We went to Home Depot and picked out the cheapest pine plywood I could find.  Each sheet cost me about $20.  It was 5/8″ sheathing and the roughness of it adds to the character.  Home Depot  was awesome and cut them into roughly 8″ strips.  They were not all exactly 8″ wide but that added to the look.
I sanded with 100 grit on the side that would be facing up (sand outside before you install)
I hit the boards with a chain to distress and made “worm holes” using a piece of wood with a few nails poking through.
I used Varathane – “Provincial” stain (one coat) and Varathane water based poly in satin (4 coats of poly).
We installed the planks using nickels as spacers.  Glued the planks down with liquid nails and shot the boards with 2 inch 16 gauge nails using my trusty nail gun.  I went back with a Q-tip dipped in some left over stain to touch up where the nails went in.
Here is a picture showing one plank with stain and one prior to stain.

Before and After shots after sanding and staining

Dry fit every piece before gluing and nailing

Dry fit every piece before gluing and nailing

Finished Product for roughly 75cents per square foot!

Finished Product for roughly 75cents per square foot!  That includes ALL materials.

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After Action Report – Lessons Learned:
*** Gaps in plywood *** I have had a lot of questions about gaps.  There is a lot of bad info out there about plywood not needing gaps and that it does not expand and contract.   We chose to put gaps in for expansion and contraction during winter vs. summer humidity so we do not have buckling.  I have also heard that you don’t need them for flooring plywood…only for roofing plywood.  Not true.
There have been tests performed by reputable firms costing millions of dollars covering this one item. One of them is the American Plywood Association. This is a quote from the CTIOA after their research had been completed. 
“Ply-wood: The several layers of wood that go to make up a sheet of plywood are placed so that the grain, of individual layers is opposite that of the preceding layer. However, the least amount of shrinkage will take place parallel with the face sheet grain. A typical sheet of  plywood unrestrained will expand and contract 7/32″ over its length and over 3/32″ on its width. The amount of expansion and contraction will also depend on how securely the sheet of plywood is restrained nailed or otherwise fastened.”  Hope this helps.
1. Buy knee pads
2. Use rubber surgical type gloves (they sell them at Home Depot in the paint department) with old socks pulled over them to add stain.
3. Use disposable stain pads to apply poly.  I find them at Home Depot.  They are less than $2 each and have a nice wide surface on a styrofoam handle.  You can pitch them when you are done.  They put on a really smooth even finish.  I use them all the time.
4. Put on stain and 3 coats of poly BEFORE you install – then put 4th coat of poly after installed.
5. Use a power sander with 100 grit paper.  SAND OUTSIDE BEFORE YOU INSTALL (LESS MESS) My power sander cost me about $40 and is well worth it.  Also, anything higher than 100 grit won’t allow good penetration of stain and poly.
6. Pre cut and dry fit all of your boards.  You will thank me later.  Makes install fast.
7. Use water based poly unless you want to vacate your property for a few days.  Also, water based goes on smooth.  Since we were going for a rustic look…any repairs will require minimal effort…little stain..little poly…done.
UPDATE: *** We are almost done with the living room!!!!!  Will post pics soon.  We have been wanting to do the living room for a long time and it looks awesome so far.  We are removing a brick fireplace hearth too and running the wood all the way  up.  The nasty carpet is GONE 🙂
DONE DONE DONE and here is the before and after shot!
We decided to remove the brick hearth to add a cleaner look and since the room is small, it adds square footage.  I realized the thin brick was attached to a metal frame that just pulled out!  It left the rest of the brick surround and mantel.  We are thinking of whitewashing the brick to make it blend a bit better. ***Most modern gas only fireplaces with fixed glass (like ours) do not require a hearth extension. The manufacturers usually require a 36″ clear space in front (no furniture, etc.). Now if this was a wood burning fireplace that had a gas insert, the hearth extension would still be required. Once wood burning, always wood burning.  (As a matter of terminology. The “hearth” is the “floor” located within the firebox, whether wood burning or gas. The “hearth extension” is the non-combustible material found in front of a fireplace. Both should be inspected. To call the “hearth extension” a “hearth” is common with many inspectors, but it is incorrect.)  ***Check Your Local building codes before any re-models. ***
Son Continues to be a BIG help. 
Rolling up the carpet and padding.  My wife pulled the 1 million staples holding the padding down (God bless her) 
You can see some of the new pieces and the original posted pieces “entry floors” as we begin the dry-fit (for some reason the 1 plank looks lighter but that is due to sunlight angle or flash…) 
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We did the staining/finishing process the same as before, but this time we did not dry-fit most of the pieces.  We decided to glue and nail the rows as we went since it is a big rectangular room and not a lot of cut-ins as the foyer had.
After Action Report – Lessons Learned: (plan to post pics of products used)
1. Took 10 full sheets off plywood ($20 per sheet).  Had a few pieces left over. Home Depot ripped ALL 10 sheets in 8 inch strips!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  They were not always happy but i tried to buy a few at a time and go during off ours (not weekends) which helped.
2. Two quarts stain (Varathane – color “Provincial” stain – one coat)
3. One gallon clear poly (Varathane water based poly for heavy traffic floors -3 coats)
4. Several sheets of 100 grit sandpaper
5. six tubes of floor adhesive and 16 gauge nails/gun
6. Nine 8 foot sticks of quarter round trim to cover gap where floor meets baseboard. 
7. One small can black spray paint for A/C floor registers
I do not have the exact amount, but I would say around $300 for entire project.  We worked on staining/poly on weekends (outside) while weather was nice and then stacked them in the basement until install.  It only took about 8 hours to install with plenty of breaks.  It helped that there were not a lot of tricky cuts.  With 8 foot long boards at 8 inches wide….it goes fast!
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Restoration Hardware Farm Table HACK

I am so excited! I have been wanting to build this Restoration Hardware table (see below pic) for a longtime, but had never worked with concrete. I helped my twin brother a few months back make some concrete countertops and felt pretty confidant afterwards. I also watched the DIYPete.com http://www.diypete.com/diy-concrete-dining-table/ video a million times (GREAT site!!) showing how be builds concrete tops….and I was ready to go. I wanted the base to be chunky distressed wood and came up with a really cool design. My table will have wood, metal, and concrete! I am done with the top and the base and just need to put them together. The Restoration Hardware table is just under $3000 and mine cost around $250.  I will post the pics and instructions in a few days!!!

concrete table

And its done!!! Sneak peak and then I will post more pics and instructions!  I was inspired by http://www.diypete.com




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Kitchen Bench

We decided to make a built in bench in the kitchen to add more seating.  It was a simple project but has added much needed space (and is the favorite spot for the cat to take her naps).

We built a basic frame out of 2x4s that we then attached with screws to the knee/half wall for support.

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I then added MDF panels for the sides and front.  In the same pattern at the kitchen island post.


I used a pine 1″ thick board from Home Depot for the top.


Primed the entire piece and then put on two coats of semi-gloss white trim paint.  Done


We made a cushion top with foam and fabric and added colorful pillows to finish it off.


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Kitchen Makeover

Our LONG kitchen makeover….. more to come

Trim (of course), paint, tile backsplash, under cabinet lights, new faucet, and over the sink lighting… here is a sneak peek.


Before and After


Before and After


Up-Cycle lighting from the Habitat Re-Store

I used scrap pieces of luan (or you can use free paint stirs) to take care of the small lip that is on the side of all cabinets.  This allows for the 1/2 x 4 pieces to sit flush.  See pic below.



We also added 5″ capped base molding as a toe kick to make it appear more custom.  I used a compass to draw the arch ends and then a jigsaw to cut out the scallop.

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And beveled white subway tile we found at Home Depot online for CHEAP.

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DIY Coffered Ceiling

Great project that was low cost but high impact.  It was a simple project that just took some time.  You can do it!


  1. 2×4 cut into 6″ pieces (nailing blocks)
  2. 5 1/4″ caped base molding (installed upside down)
  3. standard crown molding
  4. 1×4 MDF stock (bottom cap)


We laid out the pattern we wanted (number of boxes on the ceiling) and snapped chalk lines.  We then screwed and glued 2x4s cut into approx. 6″ inch pieces onto the chalk lines.  These were used as nailing blocks for the trim.



We then nailed the 5 1/4″ caped base molding (upside down) onto the nailing blocks.  

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We then added the crown molding.  (This is a good time to hide speaker wire for a surround sound system – before you button it up with the bottom plate).

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We then added the bottom plate from 1×4 stock MDF (sorry..no pic..not sure why).

Caulk, paint and enjoy.

Next came the board and batten, but that is a different story….



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DIY kitchen island remodel


DIY kitchen island remodel

We took a stock builder grade island and turned it into this by adding trim, paint, hardware and a homemade black walnut top.



Wrapped the island with 1/2″ x 4″ Poplar wood from Home Depot.  You can use the same dimension wood in clear pine from Lowes and it will be cheaper, but we don’t have a Lowes close by. 


We then wrapped the bottom with 5 1/4″ base molding.  I cut a scalloped toe kick in the base molding for the front of the island with a jigsaw.  If the base molding is too tall (the doors won’t close) you can rip the proper amount from the bottom of the base molding all the way around so that your doors will shut.  We were lucky enough that the base molding fit without ripping it down. We used Liquid nails to attach all of the poplar 1/2″ x 4’s and then a trim nailer for the base molding.


I then added panel molding inside the 1/2″x4 poplar for a bit more detail.


Then added primer and paint.  We also switched out the outlets with black ones


Put on some new hardware (Pottery Barn) and added some glazing to the entire island to give it an old world look.  One door shows with glaze, and one without.


We had a friend make the black walnut top from old planks.  And done!  It made such a big difference and we have had a ton of compliments from friends and family.







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