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….. 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. 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…) 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! SUPER EASY. SUPER CHEAP. BIG IMPACT!!!!!!!!!!!!