DIY Plywood Flooring


Wood is a popular flooring option in many homes because of its beauty and durability. There are a wide variety of flooring options available, from true hardwoods to manufactured wood laminates. Creating your own plywood flooring tiles can save as much as half of the typical cost of materials. Use a quality cabinet- grade plywood topped with a hardwood veneer, which are generally available in several wood grains. The most common grains are birch and oak; birch plywood has a light color and clear grain, oak can be stained from medium to dark and has a more distinctive grain.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Table saw
  • Dado blade
  • Flooring adhesive
  • Notch-edged trowel
  • Stain
  • Clear finish
  • Lamb's wool applicator
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Purchase enough 3/4-inch plywood to cover the area to be tiles plus an additional 10 percent to allow for waste and the 1/2-inch overlap between tiles.

  • Cut the plywood into 11 7/8-inch squares with a table saw and dado blade to create 32 tiles per 4-by-8-foot sheet, counting for the thickness of the blade which removes 1/8 inch as it cuts. Set up a 1/2-inch-wide dado blade to a depth of 3/8-inches on the table saw. (A dado blade is a multiple blade that allows grooves to be cut into material.) Adjust the fence to sit directly behind the dado blade so that it removes a 1/2-inch wide-by-3/8 inch deep groove along the edge of the plywood.

  • Cut the squares of plywood on the dado blade along two adjoining sides on the bottom, or bad, side of each square to form an L. Cut the two remaining sides of each square on the top side. The squares should overlap along the edges to create a solid surface.

  • Remove any textured tiles or carpeting before laying plywood tiles. The tiles can be laid over concrete or level, flat wood surfaces. Thoroughly clean the installation surface with a broom and mop.

  • Lay the tiles starting in the right corner of the longest wall of the floor. Apply flooring adhesive to the bottom side of the tile with a notched edge trowel. Drag the notched edge through the adhesive to spread it evenly. Place the first tile with the visibly notched edges away from the walls. Space the tile out from the wall 1/2 inch to allow the tiles to expand and contract with changes in humidity.

  • Overlap subsequent tiles along the edge on the left of the tile down the long wall. Apply adhesive to the back of each tile as you go. Continue laying full-sized tiles as far as possible. Measure the distance from the last full tile to the wall and cut a tile to fit. Lay the second row in the same way, overlapping the edge of the first row, gluing each tile in place. Continue laying full-width rows as far as possible. Cut tiles to fit the remaining space to fill the last row.

  • Apply a coat of stain with a lamb's wool applicator according to label instructions. Apply two coats of clear wood finish on top of the stain with a lamb's wool applicator. Allow the floor to dry thoroughly before allowing traffic.

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