Sunday, September 1, 2013

Gorgeous plywood floors


It's finished! No more dirty, Kilzed subfloor that gives in some corners when you step on it. No more stepping on little plates that covered up the holes from where, I can only guess, pipes ran for base board heating. It is WONDERFUL to have real flooring upstairs! 

You can see by the pictures that the floor really was incredibly dirty. So what did I do? Did I scrub it all clean or hit it with another layer of Kilz? No, I didn't. After all the effort that I put in to packing up my upstairs and hauling it to storage (Btw, I can pack a truck like nobody else. If you need help moving, I'm your girl), I seized the moment and shoved all the furniture to the other side of the room and got to work.

We started this whole thing by measuring the upstairs, figuring out how many full sheets of pre-sanded 1/2 plywood it would take to cover it whole and then pre-ordering them. We asked Home Depot to cut each sheet into 1 foot wide lengths, getting 4 boards per sheet. Picking up the cut lumber was the easiest part of the whole thing and I am SO glad we had them do that.  

Mr. Ireland and I decided a 1/3-2/3 cut on the length would help us stagger the planks appropriately and started along a wall. He helped me cut the first row and then had to go to work, so I was on my own. After laying flooring in the available space, almost half of the big room, I then went to work staining it. Admittedly, the color was a little darker than we had originally wanted, but I have grown to love it. I chose to use a wool applicator attached to a broom handle. It worked very well! I poured stain out into a tray, soaked the wool pad in it and applied it with the grain. Then I went back over it with a rag to soak up any extra stain.

Enjoying the new floor

When that whole section was stained, I got out the polyurethane. I chose to go with Valspar High Traffic, figuring the kids would drag furniture and drop heavy objects almost daily. It too was easy to apply. I used a nylon bristle broom head and poured out a little at a time, pushing it across the boards evenly. I reapplied coats about every 4-6 hours, for a total of 3 coats.

 I gave that side of the room 48 hours to set up and then we moved everything to the finished side and repeated the whole process on the other side.

Things we could not live without long enough to be in storage



Half way

Notes: walls are NEVER square, so make a jig board that will help you space things going across the room and DO NOT rely on your wall to be your guide, or you may end up veering off to one side or another and not have room later to insert boards where needed.
Also, sheets of plywood are not 48", so be sure to specify that you want your boards to all be cut to 11.5" to give you the most consistent lay.

Quality Control

I did some of this with kids in the house, but most of those days they went to my aunt's house. If I started in the morning, I could get all 3 coats done in one day, going out to my little cutting tent to cut more flooring or work on bookshelves while the urethane set up. Don't worry, I wore a mask and ran fans at all 3 windows.

Hallway before

Hallway after

So that is done.
Now for trim work. Eventually.

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