I have finished installing my plywood plank floors in the living room! I am so excited, I really do love it, although there were times when it was frustrating during the install, the end result is amazing!
There are about 101 tutorials on how to install a DIY plywood plank flooring, however I installed my floor in a slightly different way then most of the DIY plank floor tutorials that I came across. Here is how I installed the plywood plank flooring in my home.
How to Install Plywood Plank Floors
Here is a list of tools that you will need to install your Plywood plank floor:
(Some Affiliate Links Below)
- Ryobi One+ Compact Drill Kit
- Miter Saw with Laser
- Drill Bits
- Flat Wood Screws, 1-1/2-Inch
- Ryobi Compact Sander
- Wooster Brush Adhesive Applicator Roller 1/8-Inch Nap
- Wooster Brush Sherlock Roller Frame
- Pro Grade Paint Roller
- Wooster Metal Paint Tray
- Blue Painter’s Tape
- KILZ General Purpose Primer/Sealer, White, 1 gallon
- A gallon of paint in the color of your choice
- Minwax Polycrylic Water-Based Protective Clear Finish
The first thing you will want to do is determine how many square feet of flooring you will need. Measure your space and multiply the length by the width of the space. This will give you the total square feet of your room. A sheet of plywood covers 32 sq feet. Divide the number of your total square for your room by 32 to determine how many sheets of plywood that you will need.
With the number of how many plywood sheets you will need in hand head to the store and get 1/2 inch (15/32 in) pine plywood and get it cut into strips at a width that you would like. I wanted wide plank flooring so I had mine cut at 8 inches wide. I had Home Depot cut my plywood in the store since they have a saw just for that. This gave me 6 flooring boards out of each sheet of plywood with no extra.
Check and double check and then check again that the boards are cut to the size that you want.
We had a bit of a mishap with one of the bundles of plywood. One side was 7.5 inches wide and the other end of the board was 8 inches wide. How in the world that happened I have no clue since the saw is locked into place. I didn’t figure it out until I was trying to install the boards and they were not lining up correctly. Unfortunately the entire bundled ended up having to be scrapped and we had to eat the loss of about $75 and go and buy more boards. So learn from my mistake and check your boards before you leave the store!
When I installed my floor I started by installing my first board along the edge of my fireplace. to make sure that I was installing my floor straight and that I would have no weird gaps around it. I didn’t measure from the edge of the wall because I wanted the boards to be staggered and cut them length wise to fit the space.
Here is how I installed my floor differently then what I have seen others do. I did not use nails or glue to hold down my boards. I didn’t want to deal with that mess should I ever need to replace a board or if I wanted to change up the flooring at a later date. Instead I used screws to install my floor. I used a tape measure to measure the location of where the screws should go. I measured every 2 feet down the length of the board and about an inch in from the sides, marking each spot with a pencil.
In order to get the screws to be flush with the floor I used a drill bit the same size as the head of the screw. It must be the same size if it is smaller the screw won’t sit even with the board. You only need to screw a slight hole in the board. You do not want to go through the board completely so go slowly to start until you get the feel of how far to drill.
After the holes are drilled go back and drill your screws in until the screw sits flush with the board. This process will go faster if you have two people working on it, one drilling the holes and the other drilling in the screws. Keep working until you have the floor finished. I worked one row at a time to make sure that I didn’t get crooked. Be sure to space your boards slightly to allow for some expansion.
I had some great helpers when I was installing my floor.
Now that you have installed all of the boards you will need to sand them down. You can use any form of electric sander. I personally used what I had on hand, a small palm sander. This made the process take a bit longer but it got the job done. I just sanded until the boards were smooth to the touch. Be sure to tarp and tape off the room or else you will have sanding dust all over everything.
Once the floor is sanded vacuum the entire floor and then use a damp – but not dripping – towel to wipe up all of the dust.
I applied 3 coats of the Kiltz primer to the floor with a roller brush attached to a painting pole so that I could stand up while painting. Along the edges of the wall and the fireplace I used a small brush so I would not get primer on them. Applying the primer seals the wood so that it doesn’t continue to soak up the paint.
Next came the process of picking out a paint color.
I picked five different shades of grey and one dark blue green color. After painting a few coats of each color on one of the floor boards and separating them by a strip of the white paint. I let them sit for a few days and checked them at different times of the day to see the difference in lighting to determine if I liked the color.
I knew that I wanted the flooring to be light colored, but not white.
Although white would have hid all of the white dog hair that accumulates on the floor.
I found this super light almost white grey color by Behr called Campfire Ash and fell in love with it! I painted on two coats of paint onto the floor.
Campfire Ash is on the left and the white primer is on the right.
I applied the water based polyurethane with a short nap roller. I worked down each board and made sure to start in the far corner so that I would not trap myself in the room.
They key to a nice strong finish is to apply each layer of poly within 8 hours of each other. This allows for the polyurethane to create a chemical bond with each layer making the finish nice and strong. I did not sand in between each layer.
This was a tip my dad gave me. He worked in the flooring industry for most of my life and was the first person I called when I decided to install this DIY plywood plank flooring.
Your floor will be ready to walk on 24 hours after the last coat has dried but it will take a week or more for the floor to fully cure and harden.
Now all I have to do is install the baseboards and floor vents and this room will be finished!
A few notes on installing a DIY plywood plank floor:
- This project will take time. Depending on the size of your room this is not a weekend project. More like a two or three weekend project.
- If you have pets, do your best to keep the pet hair out of the room and keep the heat and air off in that room or else some will end up in your painted floor. Believe me I know!
- Don’t be afraid to mess it up! You can always re-sand or re-paint or even take out a board completely since they are screwed in!
These two couldn’t be happier about the new flooring!