Sunday, April 13, 2014

Plywood floor

Chris spent last month priming and painting all the basement rooms. The next phase of the remodel and out major goal before Baby arrives is to install flooring in every room down there, so we are not traipsing dirt and drywall dust into the main part of the house. Having researched a variety of options, most of them were not in our budget. So with a little inspiration from Pinterest I decided a 'plywood floor' in the guest bedroom would be a great solution. Chris had to be convinced as he was the one that would need to do most of the work, but he soon came around to his pregnant wife's grand idea. (He's a keeper for sure!!). He stipulated one condition though - I had to go to Home Depot and get the plywood.

So off I toddled to Home Depot, looking pregnant and trying my hardest to speak with my best English accent (its fading fast). Two very helpful guys helped my choose plywood for the subfloor (to go over the cement slab) and plywood to be cut into 8 inch planks, which would eventually become the new flooring.  They even used their industrial cutter to make those 8 inch planks for me. Once I had all my wood (3 hours later) I called Chris and Cody to come collect it all for me in Cody's truck (Thanks Cody!!).

10 pieces of 4'x8' ready to be sliced into 8 inch planks
My two very helpful men, cutting the 10 sheets of plywood into 8" x 8' planks
Next job was to empty the guest room of clutter and prep for the sub floor. We needed to install a sub floor because it would have been impossible to nail or glue the plywood planks directly to the cement. Plus if we were to get any moisture down there, which is a possibility because it is below ground, then we needed to prevent water damage.

The guest room ready empty and ready for the sub floor
We laid 2 sheets of 6 mil plastic, just in case any water started to seep through the cement
Chris had to pre drill holes in the cement and then get the cement screws in place. Every screw was a battle and in total we went through about 15 drill bits because the cement was so dense. After a full day the 3/4 inch plywood sub floor was in place.

Meanwhile, I spent my time sanding all the plywood planks to get rid of any major splinters, smooth the coarse mill finish and remove any stamps or ink marks on the surface. It was a process. 

Eventually the planks were ready to be glued and nailed in place. We invested in a nail gun, which made the nailing go super quick. We used a random metal bracket as the spacer between the planks. We were going for the rustic, farmhouse cottage look, so some discrepancies in the spacing wasn't an issue for us. 
Installing the plywood planks took a day. 

We were pleased with the outcome, but needed to stain and polyurethane the wood in order for it to be a useable floor. The plywood is too soft to leave in 'au naturale'.
I decided to do a white wash stain over the plywood, so you could still see the grain, but without all the pink tinges of the plywood.  I mixed one part white primer with two parts water, and slopped it on using a paint roller. 

After 2 coats of stain, Chris covered the wood with 2 coats of polyurethane. We would have done another coat, just to further protect the wood, however the smell throughout the house was too much to deal with being pregnant, so we stopped at two.
I think it turned out pretty good. 

Semi-gloss finish

Nice wide planks, good spacing and the wood grain is still visible. 
Overall, we are super pleased with the outcome. Once the sub floor was in place, the planks went down really easily, especially once we figured out that the glue came out the gun with a lot less effort if it was warmed before hand. Cold glue is difficult to work with!! All up it probably came to around $3 a square foot. A little more expensive then we had anticipated, but the sub floor probably cost $2 a square foot to install. Considering the wide, planked flooring we had been looking at was over $10 a square foot, I think it was a great investment. Hopefully once we start using the room as a guest room, it holds up to the wear and tear. I'll keep you updated!