Have you heard the news? Plywood underlayment CAN be used as flooring! If you are like me, you have heard of this and maybe have even seen pictures of it on Pinterest. I am here to tell you it can be done. I know this because, I did it! It's been about 3 months since I completed this project and I love it as much today as I did the first day!
Here are some before and after shots to give you an idea of the dramatic impact this DIY project made on my living spaces.
I chose to start in my dining room and formal living area (which I use primarily as my office and guest room). I have plans to take this throughout my entire first floor. But here in Ohio, we take advantage of the few warm weather months to work on outdoor projects, so I will revisit these when the weather turns!
I started by removing the old carpets and padding. I cut strips length wise so I could could roll them into manageable size sections to take outdoors to the garbage. I repeated this with the padding. Then came the not so fun part of removing the carpet tacks and all the staples. All. The. Staples. Once these were removed I vacuumed the floor clean to prepare it for the new plywood floors which would go down next.
Moving on to the actual plywood underlayment that I used. I bought mine from Home Depot and it is sold in 8' x 4' sheets. It is called Tri-Ply underlayment and is fairly smooth to the touch. It has definite variations of wood "grain" as well as knots. I love these markings as they really bring an old rustic, farmhouse feel. The kind employee at Home Depot was willing to rip these sheets down for me into 8" wide planks. Make sure you have your square footage totaled before going in so you know exactly how many sheets you need cut down. Don't be in a hurry to take them home. I offered to come back the next day to pick them up so they didn't feel like they had to cut them all right away.
Once the boards were home it was time to begin the second most fun part, sanding. Sanding. For. Days. Or about 8 hours. That's how much time I spent just sanding 2 rooms worth of boards. I set up 2 saw horses in my driveway, laid the planks over top and sanded with my electric palm sander. I started with a coarse, 80 grit sand paper to bevel the edges. This gave the boards more of a finished appearance when they are placed against each other on the floor. I then sanded them all with a finer, finishing 220 grit.
Now it's time to bring the boards inside to your room. I started in the center of my room and worked my way out to each outside wall. I did a dry fit layout of the boards first. I made cuts around vents and corners as I went, when I got to them. I adhered the boards with my Ryobi nail gun and 2' finishing nails in at a slight angle. I shot nails in at the corners and the halfway point. I left a slight space between the boards, but I just eyeballed this spacing. Note...if you are a perfectionist... this DIY project is not for you!
We're getting to the final stages of the project. This is my favorite part of any DIY, when you can actually start to see the final results!
The next step has some options. I loved the natural color and finish of the plywood as it came so I was on the hunt for a matte polyurethane. I came across a few but ended up going with Rustoleum Poly in a matte finish. I applied 3 coats with a foam roller, letting it dry about an hour between each coat.
Once this was completely dry...you're done! Time to move the furniture back in and restyle your space!
I am beyond thrilled with how much lighter and brighter these spaces are! It really made the rooms feel bigger and I really enjoy spending time in here now. And above all, I have such a sense of accomplishment knowing I did this all on my own and saved our family budget quite a bit! All in all, with the costs of materials, this project cost around $0.43 a square foot! Not too shabby!