Try This Inexpensive Wood Flooring for Your Next Room Makeover

Wood flooring doesn't have to be a luxury item. See how a stunning stained floor can be yours with this DIY weekend project.

Many homeowners want the timeless look and feel of hardwood flooring but just don't have the budget. If that's the case for you, we have flooring you can make yourself from plywood. With a few coats of stain and a little elbow grease, these plywood planks look just as good, if not better, than your typical hardwood floors! Follow along to get your flooring makeover started.

What You Need

  • 1/2-inch plywood (choose a lower C/D grade if you want lots of wood grain)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Table saw or circular saw
  • Router
  • Clamp
  • Sandpaper
  • Orbital sander
  • Stain
  • Stain applicator
  • Chalk line or laser
  • Lint-free rags
  • 2-inch nails
  • Wood shims
  • Finish nail gun
  • Water-base polyurethane

Step 1: Measure Plywood

Measure and mark the plywood to the size you want your planks to be. Ours were cut to 12x32 inches to maximize each of 4x8-foot plywood sheets. Using the table saw, cut down the plywood to desired size.

Step 2: Round Edges

Use the router to round 1/8 inch off the edges of the wood planks on the top side of each piece. Chamfer a 45-degree angle to each edge to get the effect of hand-scraped wood planks.

Note: Clamp each piece of wood before beginning to route edges to ensure the wood board is stable.

Step 3: Sand Smooth

Sand the edges and tops of the planks, moving with the grain, using an orbital sander with rough sandpaper.

Step 4: Stain Wood

Stain wood planks according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let dry before installation to make sure all pieces are covered with stain—this comes in handy when planks expand and contract.

Step 5: Install Floor

To install the wood floor, first prepare the subfloor by cleaning away any debris. Measure the room and find your starting point/line on the perimeter of the room. Install the pieces in the opposite direction of the floor joists to make sure the planks are securely installed. Start on the longest wall in the room. Mark your floor joists with a chalk line or pencil.

Start nailing your floor down by aligning your first plank up to the wall with wood shims in place; nail the four corners of each plank. Secure each plank every 4 inches, 1 inch from the edge. Continue installing boards in rows throughout the room.

Note: Wood shims placed temporarily around the perimeter during the installation process allow space for an expansion gap. We removed our baseboards prior to installing the floor. However, if you'd like to avoid this step, you can keep your baseboards installed and add shoe molding once the floors are installed to conceal the expansion gap. Either way, you should use wood shims to create an expansion gap for the flooring.

Step 6: Apply Polyurethane

Add a finishing layer with a coat of polyurethane applied according to the manufacturer's instructions and let dry. Depending on how you want the floor to wear, apply more than one coat to reach your desired durability level.

Step 7: Install Baseboards

Install baseboards around the perimeter of the room to finish off the floor and conceal the expansion gaps.

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