We are laying plywood floors in our family room because we had to rip up the awful stained carpet in that room and ANYTHING would have been an improvement.
I didn't want carpet again. All of our first floor is wood except the family room and guest bedroom.
We couldn't afford real wood floors plus the added cost of installation so we did our research and found some great tutorials on laying plywood flooring that look absolutely beautiful!We did our weekly (feels like daily) run to our friendly neighborhood Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse. We really do have some of the nicest, most helpful people working at our Lowe's. It's a pleasure to go in there and spend our children's inheritance!!


This is what we bought:

foam board insulation (4×8)                                                10.91
piece of plywood for saw guide                                          12.62
piece of 1x4x8 for saw guide                                               4.86
Liquid Nails Subfloor glue   (13 x $3.17                              41.21
nail gun and compressor (rented $60/day for two days)     120.00
nails                                                                                   15.00
Minwax Wood Conditioner  (2 x $11.37)                          22.74
Minwax Red Mahogany stain  (3 x $7.77)                          23.31
Varathane Water-based polyurethane (4 x $46.14)          184.56
respirator masks                                                                10.97
knee pads                                                                           9.98
staining sponges (2 x $2.65)                                                5.30
rags                                                                                    1.98
sandpaper                                                                          8.00
shoe molding (8 x $3.12)                                                  24.96
transition trim (3 x $16.61)                                                49.83We went to a local lumber yard to find a better grade of plywood.
12 sheets of 3/4" 4×8 AC plywood                                $550.00


TOTAL:   $1096.23

The first thing we had to do was to build a saw guide for our circular saw. I told you we're new at this didn't I? The LOML did his research and found this website on how to build your own saw guide contraption.




I practiced staining on a piece of wood that the saw wanted to eat instead of cut. I used Minwax Red Mahogany. 

The conditioner I used is Minwax Wood Conditioner. I decided I like the color with the conditioner applied first. It is more evenly stained and you can see more of the red which I like.

The LOML ripped (I learned a new term today) the plywood into 132-4×8 boards.


The LOML practiced working with this manly machine ~ the scary nail gun with compressor. He looks so sexy just standing next to it! This machine is very loud and scary to me. I asked him if I should leave the room to protect myself from flying nails (and they are really big nails). He laughed!


We wanted to waste as little wood as possible so we got to work using all the high school math that we said we would never use and came up with this pattern to lay the slats.


We started at one end of the room against the wall and finished each row progressing inward toward the fireplace. It took us two days, many cutting boo-boos, a few expletives flew, but in the end, it was worth every single second. And let me tell you, I have muscles in my legs I never knew I had and they are all screaming at me!!

The LOML and Son #3 laying out a plan

Son #4 having fun with the nail gun.

More than half way done!!

Here is the floor all laid down.

The staining was the fun part! What a difference between naked wood and the dark red mahogany color. I conditioned the wood first. The directions say to stain within two hours of conditioning so by the time I was done conditioning the whole room, I started staining. I used a staining pad and just rubbed the stain on. The LOML followed close behind wiping off the excess stain. We were quite the team. I looked cooler though because I had knee pads for my bony knees!! We both wore respirator masks so we didn't get headaches from the fumes.

The LOML and I took turns polyurethaning every 4 hours for 6 times and VOILA!


We had to add a transition piece of wood between the new wood floors and the old ones in the hallway so we bought three 12 foot transition pieces at Lowes, conditioned, stained, and polyed the three pieces. Then we screwed them to the existing floor.

STEP #10
We had to add shoe molding around the whole room to hide any gaps we may have had from short boards. We bought primed shoe molding from Lowes, I painted them the same white as the trim and we nailed them all in for a nice clean look. I had to touch up a few places where we got stain on the trim, too. OOPS!


We bought the new rug at Home Depot for $199 for an 8×10 Shaw Living Castile area rug in beige/cream. It's shaggy and soft on the toes. I LOVE IT!!

It feels great to walk into our brand new family room. No dirty stained carpet anymore. YEAH!!!

A busy weekend for us. How was yours?

Linking up to Project Inspire Just Something I Whipped Up
Homemaker on a Dime Creative Bloggers' Party and Hop
Under the Table and Dreaming Sunday Showcase Party
DIY Showoff DIY Project Parade
Skip to My Lou Made By You Monday
C.R.A.F.T. Making Monday Marvelous
Craft-O-Maniac Craft-O-Maniac Monday Link Up
Making the World Cuter Monday Linky Party
I Heart Naptime Sundae Scoop Link Party
Home Stories A to Z Tutorials and Tips Link Party
Not Just a Housewife Show Me What Ya Got
Today's Creative Blog Get Your Craft On
Carolyn's Homework The Inspiration Board: Link Party
The NY Melrose Family Whimsy Wednesdays
Free Pretty Things Whatever You Want Wednesday
Southern Lovely Show and Share
Miss Information I Freakin' Did It Friday
My Romantic Home Show and Tell Friday
Somewhat Simple Blog Link Party
House of Hepworth Hookin Up with HOH
Chic on a Shoestring Flaunt it Friday
Beneath My Heart Best DIY Projects of November Linky Party
Thrifty Decor Chick December Before and After
The Dedicated House Make it Pretty Monday
Liz Marie Blog Link Up With Me
One Project Closer The Humble Brag Link Party
A Blossoming Life Frugal Crafty Home Hop


Love y’all,





  1. The floor looks beautiful. What a great idea to use plywood! All the floors in our house are wood (except one bathroom and the laundry room), and I love them.

  2. Wow! Linda, Looks great!!! Just in time for Thanksgiving!!!

  3. Absolutely amazing! Who knew plywood could look so good. Now go and enJOY all the money you saved.

  4. The plywood flooring looks great! I would never guess it was actually plywood. We are trying to figure out flooring for our house, and this might be a good option vs. laminate wood. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This looks gorgeous!! We laid our own hardwood flooring downstairs & have been toying around with the idea of replacing our carpet upstairs with plywood, but I was so intimidated to try it. I absolutely love how yours turned out!! Thanks for listing all of your costs & materials, too — it really helps! Totally pinning this πŸ™‚

  6. This turned out beautiful. Who knew plywood would look like this? You guys did an awesome job!

    Queen Bee Cottage

  7. This looks amazing! I can’t believe its plywood!
    I can’t wait to show my hubby!

  8. Your floor turned out wonderful. As it should after all of that hard work. I have a secret…we have 12 sheets of plywood out in the shop just waiting to replace our dirty carpet. Now we just need to find the time to do this. You’ve inspired me…now I’ll have to work on the hubby. Nice work!

    • Hey Sherry~ Thanks for appreciating our hard work. It was worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears, let me tell you! Good luck getting the hubby on board. I just showed my husband a blog that showed someone laying beautiful floors (exactly what mine does) and he was with me! Hope mine can work for you! Good luck! ~Linda

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  10. Wow, it’s gorgeous!!! I want to rip up all the floors in my house after reading this! I absolutely love it!


    P.S. The comment above mine is spam, you might want to delete it. πŸ™‚

  11. Huh?! I am totally blown away by this! I would have never thought to use plywood for new flooring, let alone cut it up in to strips and lay it down. Wow! Impressive. I can see that it was a lot of hard work, but I am sure you are relishing your new floors.

    Fantastic work! πŸ™‚


  12. Wow that is gorgeous!! πŸ™‚
    xx Holly

  13. I would never have thought that was a plywood floor. I didn’t know they could look like that. Good job!

  14. Floor looks so good! I am so jealous!! Do u think you could use bigger pieces of plywood? Just wondering if it might still look as good with little less work. We desperately need to replace our carpet (actually our whole main level) but don’t have much time to do a big project. (We have two sets of twins- it’s a little crazy!). :). I’ll take any advice or ideas! Thanks! Lynn

    • Hey Lynn~ Thank you very much! In all my research, I read about people using all different sizes. There were some who didn’t even cut the plywood. They just laid it as a whole piece. I understand completely the time crunch of life. The filthy carpet yelling at me for years was a very good incentive to get it done πŸ™‚ ~Linda

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Your floors look fabulous! I just pinned this, thanks for linking up!

  17. These floors are beautiful you would never think they were plywood! I would love if you would share this at my blog hop!

  18. Wow! Absolutely beautiful!! Thanks for linking up to our blog hop! Follow me at!

  19. OMGosh…I have never heard of such a thing and definitely had to see it to believe it (I’m originally from the Show-Me State/Missouri…sorry!). Your new family room is absolutely gorgeous! Love it! Will have to show the husband…I’m wanting to convert my formal living room into a home office/crafting zone…and hate the carpet we have. This might be the answer to pricey wood flooring that wood never match up to the original stain anyway!


  20. WOW. I never would have thought plywood would look that good! Thanks so much for linking up to Frugal Crafty Home!

  21. WOw, Linda looks great! we have laid our own floors and it is some seriously hard work!:)

    Thanks for linking up last week at the Humble Brag. Hope you’ll come back tomorrow to link up. Also the Silhouette Cameo giveaway ends this weekend!

  22. Cool! It’s gr8 that your hubby helps you out.

  23. Holy – cow. It looks amazing! Seriously – I want to come over and gush over how amazing it looks in person. That’s so awesome. You have one dang good lookin’ family room now.

  24. I just posted our in-progress plank ceiling in our dining room and I swear, as we were nailing it up Sunday night, I said to my husband, this would be pretty cool as wood flooring. And now, two days later, I can see EXACTLY what it looks like as a floor. So. Awesome. Seriously. A genius idea to get the look of hardwood floors without the insane cost. Four thumbs up.

  25. That looks awesome! Just showed my fiance, going to ask him to do this. I was just wondering, how large was your room that you did?

  26. Hi. Your floor looks beautiful!! I have a question, though. Did you leave any sort of gap to allow for expansion and contraction of the wood? I would love to do this, but worry about that. Thanks.

    • Great question. Yes we left about 1/16″ between. Some of the gaps are a bit bigger and some are smaller because some of the pieces were not perfectly straight. I think the bigger gaps give it a little characeter. So far, the floors are still absolutely beautiful! Thanks for reading! ~Linda

  27. Anonymous says:

    Can you tell me what kind of plywood you used and the thickness?

  28. This tutorial can be really helpful for installing plywood flooring, it sure looks easy after reading the above post but i am sure you must be knowledgeable enough to do this without any mistakes.

  29. Hi Linda! Your floors are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!!!! Thanks for the detailed tutorial, I am so inspired, and my husband is on board too =D

    Question, how long did this take you both, did I read that you did it over a week-end? Just wondering about applying the Poly, etc…timeframe estimates.

    • It took us about three days ALL day. We put the poly on, waited four hours, light sanding, put coat 2 on, waited four hours, then we put four more coats on sanding lightly before the last coat. It monotonous but so worth it!! Thanks for reading!~Linda

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  33. lynn nilsson says:

    Beautiful floors! I am curious about the nailing process. What size and style nails did you use, and did you stick to the pattern shown in your first diagram? I tried to locate the nail holes in the other pictures but couldn’t, did you putty the nail holes before you stained? Again, lovely floors and thanks!

    • Thanks Lynn! We used 1 1/2″ finishing nails.We rented a finish pneumatic nailer gun and it was a lot of fun to use! We did not fill in the nail holes. We just stained over them and I think it just adds character to the floor. We all walk on them with bare feet and it is very smooth. We absolutely love our floors. Are you thinking of laying wood floors? It was a lot of work but oh so worth it. I really want to do every room. Thanks for reading. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend. ~Linda

  34. Hi This looks really great! I was just wondering about spaces or gaps between the plywood strips. how tight were you able to get them together. I am just worried about dirt being trapped between the plywood planks. thanks!

    • Hey Jacob~Because we cut our own strips, they were not perfectly straight so the gaps vary in size. We tried to put nickels in between each board. Some gaps were too big for the nickels. I don’t see any problem with dirt in the gaps. We vacuum and it seems to do the job. Hope that helps. Thanks for reading! ~Linda

  35. Your floors look great!  I never knew plywood could look so nice!  One question:  how are they holding up?  I think of plywood as being kind of soft, relative to traditional hardwood floors.  Do you have more dinks, deep scratches, etc. than you do on the rest of your hardwood floors.


    • Hey Lisa~ Our floors are holding up great. With kids and a dog, they are still looking great! I really don’t see a difference with my old floors and new floors. Except maybe the dark stain shows more dust and dog hair but I”m not complaining. I really want to stain all my light oak floors the same dark stain as my family room. Oh boy, another project on my list of to-do’s!! Thanks for visiting. ~Linda

  36. Hi Linda, I love this idea! Do you have any pictures of the nailed down ends close up? Wondering how it looks. Also did you use a sander?

    • Hey Joy~ Thanks so much. We love our floors. They are holding up very well. I do not have a close up of the nails. If you send me your e-mail I can send a picture to you. We bought A grade plywood that did not need to be sanded. We did do a light sanding after installation before staining. We did that with a hand sander. Thanks for reading! ~Linda

  37. Did you all put a small bevel on the sides of the planks? Thanks

    • Hey Kris~No we did not put bevels. We just butted each board against the previous board and nailed it down. So far it is holding up well. We love it!! ~Linda


  38. I think my favorite part is that your whole family works on these projects together. It looks beautiful! I think I know what I'm doing to my floors when I have my own house someday πŸ˜€

    • Thanks Naomi~In spite of the fact that there’s a little bit of groaning from certain young people, it’s my favorite part, too. They’ll thank me one day, right?? Thanks for coming by. Have a great Christmas! ~Linda

  39. Brandon C says:

    Hi Linda I love the floor, and after laying to hardwood floors for my parents and knowing the cost,even doing the work myself, I love the idea of the plywood floors, I'm cureently building a small cabin up behind my parents house,for when I visit, and was considering hardwood floors,expensive,lol, then I came across your blog and love the floors, but after doing numerious google searches I can't seem to find a good how to on staining the plywood, What stain did you use, oil or water based and same for condioner and poly coat.   all answers and replies are greatly appreciated.

  40. Hey Brandon~Thanks for reading about our plywood floors. We absolutely love them and they are holding up so well. To answer your questions ~ First we used Minwax wood conditioner. Then we used Minwax Red Mahogany water based stain. I just put it on with a clean cloth and my husband followed behind wiping the excess off. The polyurethane was Varathane water based. We brushed on six coats. Hope that helps. Let me know if I can answer any more questions. Good luck with your floors. ~Linda

    • Brandon C says:

      Linda thanks for answering my questions, and I'm glad the floors are holding up so well, I've been told by many people to avoid water based staines/poly coats and then I've heard the same about oil based versins, but I'll take a que from you nd yours and go with the water based stain, I'm more familair with them anyways, but again thanks for the response and many blessings to you.

  41. OMG I love your floor! Would you say the AC Plywood is Oak veneer or something more like Douglas Fir? Also did you sand the cut edges before laying floor and did you glue them to the subfloor before nailing them into place? Did you nail them at a angel or straight into the floor?  Do you think this would work for countertops as well giving them a sort of butcherblock look? Sorry for all the questions πŸ™‚

    • Hey Beth~ The wood is AC Plywood with no veneer. We did not sand the cut edges. We do glue to the subfloor before we nailed. Nailed them straight in. Not sure about the countertops. Sounds interesting though. If you try it, you’ll have to let me know how it comes out. Thanks for reading! ~Linda

  42. Licia Haack says:

    How many sq. ft did you do? Thanks!

  43. This is a great idea! So beautiful.

  44. Your floor is incredible! I think your answer is really splendid. LOVE the way it looks. I truly appreciate you getting all over off that floor!!!

  45. So it's been a few years now, how is the floor holding up?

    How is the dust/dirt situation with the gaps?  Anything you would do differently?

    • Hey Steve~ We love our floors. The dust isn’t any worse than on my light wood floors that we have through out the first floor. They’ve held up quite well with six kids and a dog. The only thing we would have done differently is we would have to cut the plywood with a table saw instead of the circular saw we had at the time. We bought a table saw later and life would have been so much easier and the cuts would have been perfectly straight!! We have small gaps but I can honestly say there has been no problem whatsoever. So happy we did it!!! ~Linda

  46. Sherry Truax says:

    I love the look of this! Absolutely beautiful! We were thinking of doing this in our living room. Just one quick question…what was the foam insulation board on the materials list used for? I don't see it anywhere in the instructional section.

    • Thanks Sherry! We love our floors! They’re holding up very well with all the traffic. The foam insulation board was used to support the plywood sheets while we were cutting them. Thanks for reading! ~Linda

  47. Brian Eastop says:

    In your pattern diagram in step 5 – was there a reason you did not alternate the short pieces from one side of the room to the other (rather than having long boards all on one side of the room)?  Also, the board lengths do not seem to all add up to 19'.

    Amazing project and result – thanks for posting.

  48. You have explained in more detailed. Thank you for that. ? #1 the wood conditioning would you do that again. And did I understand right you had to stain asap. ?#2 the rug you have on your floors are very rough on the backing what does it do to your floors. ?#3 doing sell again what would you do to change. Anything and how long have you have them now wear and tear. Any upkeep things I need to know. Hope you get this and private email me

  49. I loooove your floors. Ever since we moved in I have been wanting to get rid of this gross carpet…now its 3 years later lol. A couple of questions: How do you clean your floors? I really want to so this but our floor plan is open so our living room dining room & kitchen would have to be this and I was wondering about cleaning and how they hold up to spills and water from washing dishes. Thanks so much!

  50. Your floor looks fantastic! I have a couple of questions though. I'll apologize ahead of time if someone has already asked. Did you use the foam board under the plywood over the subfloor? And did you use glue and nails both? Thanks so much!


    • Hey Kelly~Thank you so much! We did not use foam board under the plywood. Yes, we used glue and nails. Hope that helps. ~Linda

  51. Hi there,

    I love how your floor turned out! It looks like it has been about 2.5 years since you put the floor down. How is it holding up? Were you concerned about the longevity of the floor with the laminate breaking down over time? I love this idea and told my husband about it, but he thinks that the plies will blister over time. I'd love to know what your thoughts are on the subject. Thanks!!!

  52. These are gorgeous and the tutorial is fantastic. I’ve learned so much from your post and your responses to all of the comments. I think this may be the answer for us redoing about 450 sq. ft. of gross carpeting. Thank you!

  53. This is my first time visit at here and i am genuinely impressed to read everthing at alone place.

  54. Hi, love the floors1 Its been almost four years now and I want to know if the floors are still in good condition. Have you had to to do any touch ups in this time? I am thinking about doing this over my existing wood floors. We do not have a solid sub-floor, but wood planks that I have been told cannot be sanded again.


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