Yesterday was another b.e.a.u.t.i.f.u.l. Spring day.
We took little Grey on his first fishing trip!
We didn’t catch anything,
but he was just as happy to have a pole with a worm on the end of it.
Have I ever told you that I love to fish?
Get me on a boat in the middle of a lake and I’m a happy girl.
I could sit there all day.
I grew up in a family of fishermen and lake lovers, and I guess it stuck with me.
(I can’t think of a creative way to segue from fishing to a floor tutorial.)
Before I write anything else, let me just say that I am not a flooring professional.
I’m just a little fearless and thrifty…
…and I’d much rather live with real maple veneered plywood floors
vs. a printed photograph of maple wood on inexpensive laminate
in a similar price range.
My maple plywood planked floor was the first floor that I’ve ever installed
besides some peel n’ stick tile in my mom’s kitchen when I was 16.
Now that I have that out of the way…
Our supply list:
6-inch wide maple hardwood plywood planks
clear coat (Varathane) and applicator
paint tray liner (for the clear coat)
I chose finish-grade 1/4″ maple hardwood plywood,
purchased at Lowe’s for $26.97 per sheet.
(One 4′ x 8′ sheet covers 32 sq. ft.)
Our Lowe’s guy cut each sheet into eight 6-inch wide planks for us on the panel saw.
Choose each sheet carefully.
Look for sheets without flaws and with a grain pattern that you love.
Keep in mind that when you finish with a clear coat, everything will be enhanced.
My husband and I went through an entire stack to find the 8 sheets we wanted.
Sand both long sides of each plank with a sanding sponge.
I used a 220-grit.
We installed our planks over a wood subfloor and
chose to use an underlayment for moisture protection and noise reduction.
If you use an underlayment,
roll out your underlayment in the opposite direction of your planks.
(Make sure the subfloor is clean first.)
I started my planks from the left corner of the room and used a level to make sure the first plank was straight.
After the first plank was nailed down, I just used quarters to space the other planks.
I recommend renting or buying a nail gun for this project.
There are at least 1,000 nails in my floor.
A finish nailer is the best option.
Last year, the folks at Rockler sent me the Dewalt Heavy Duty Cordless Brad Nailer,
so I used what I already had on hand.
I poured over several online flooring forums where the pros get together
to flex their flooring muscles.
Nearly all of them recommend a finish nailer for flooring,
but one guy had used brad nails spaced 4 to 6 inches apart with success.
That was my green light, loves.
A finish nailer uses a 16-guage nail vs. a thinner 18-guage brad nail.
Also, the magazine of a finish nailer is already angled at 20 degrees.
The brad nails worked just fine for me though.
Each plank is tight to floor, no shifting, no lifting, etc.
To stagger them, we installed the first row and used the leftover piece of the plank that was trimmed to start the second row. The plank that needed to be trimmed for the second row was used to start the third row, etc. Once you get going, you’ll get a feel for it. You just don’t want all of your planks ends to line up or be too close together.
I forgot to mention that we went with 6-inch wide planks because that was the maximum width that our mitre saw would cut in one cut.
The process was quite simple.
We just continued to nail each plank, using our quarters to space,
working an entire row from left to right, until the floor was complete.
After all of our planks were down,
I pounded down a few nails that didn’t go all the way through with the gun.
Then, I vacuumed the entire floor (including the gaps between planks) with a shop vac to prepare for the clear coat.
I applied the recommended 4 coats of Varathane,
waiting 4-6 hours between each coat.
I did it over the course of 2 days.
You don’t need to sand unless you wait more than 24 hours between coats.
I originally planned to just use satin, but the same floor pros mentioned above recommended 2 coats of semi-gloss followed by 2 coats of satin.
It was easier to finish them that I thought it would be.
I was so afraid I’d end up with lap lines, but the Varathane spreads pretty thin.
(It has a watery consistency.)
I watched a few YouTube videos and followed the directions on the back of the applicator (you have to hold it at an angle and then flat).
If you’re really fussy and look closely in some spots, I’m sure you can tell that I’m not a professional floor finisher, but overall, it looks pretty lovely!
My only complaint would be that the Varathane didn’t completely fill in the gaps between each plank like I thought it would.
I expected everything to sort of level out with a clear coat.
I just have to sweep the floors daily
to make sure nothing (dirt, etc.) gets permanently trapped.
(By the way, I’ve used my steam mop to clean them a few times already.)
I hope that helps.
If you have any more questions about my floors, let me know!