DIY Wood Plank Floors


White Painted Floors

Are you tired of hearing about this guest suite yet?  We finished the DIY wood plank floors made from plywood a while back and today I’ve got the tutorial.  I’m sharing our experience and process but the tutorial came straight from Jenny of Little Green Notebook.  Jenny’s was by far the best tutorial I found on the internet.

When starting to brainstorm on this project, I needed a quick AND cheap fix for the flooring situation.


A quick, cheap fix isn’t always the best option, really it’s rarely the best option, but I didn’t have much to lose with this one.  I wasn’t concerned much with practicality for this project as the room is separate from the house and rarely used.  My parents just wanted a visually attractive fix for cheap.  So I got on the internet and started researching wood plank floors made from plywood.  I wanted the look of glossy white floors and must say, my expectations for this project were exceeded.  I think we ended up spending around $300 on the plywood plus supplies.

DIY Wood Plank Floors

DIY Wood Plank Floors

So, if you’re into the look of imperfect wood floors that have so much character, and want something quick and cheap, here is every detail I could remember along with some terrible iphone progress photos.



Step 1: Remove baseboards

Using a Wonderbar pry off all of the baseboards and remove all nails from the wall.   While you could technically keep the old baseboards, we found it nice not to have to worry about getting the edges of the planks perfectly in line against the walls since new baseboards would cover them.

Step 2: Remove Existing Flooring

Pull up any old carpet, foam or existing flooring until you get to the subfloor.  You need a plywood subfloor to nail/adhere the wood planks.

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Using the Wonderbar again, remove all carpet studs and nails so that you have as smooth a surface on the subfloor as possible.  There are great tutorials all over YouTube, but Parker studied this one before proceeding with everything.  It isn’t too difficult once you understand how to pop up the boards, but it is important to wear protective eyewear and to be careful when removing these…………….. This task actually ended up being annoyingly time consuming.

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Step 3: Sand down any carpet glue

You’ll probably have to use a wedge or some type of sander to remove any remaining remnants of the floor, i.e. carpet remains or any glue buildup.  I did this while Parker did the above.

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Step 4: Sweep room (a few times)

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Before you can start cutting, glueing and nailing anything down on the floor, it is important to make sure it’s as clean as possible to make sure the planks will be flush with the subfloor.

Step 5: Buy Supplies

DIY Wood Plank Floors

This step could obviously be done first, but the supplies for the actual floors are very simple.

  •  4′ x 8′ plywood sheets – (We used 10 sheets of plywood for 300 sq ft.)  Lowes cut the plywood sheets into 8″  wide planks for .10/cut.  We ended up with 68 planks.  The above photo shows the plywood sheets cut into 8″ planks.
  •  Liquid Nails Subfloor Glue (4-5 bottles using a caulking gun)
  • Any basic nails with a large round, flat head (Approximately 1,000 **Could use a nail gun, but Parker insisted we hammer every single one)
  • Sandpaper (several boxes of sandpaper as you have to sand every plank…)
  • Electic Sander – (We used this one.)
  • Primer & White Paint – (pictured below)
  • 8″ paint roller & long roller stick

Step 6: Sand boards

DIY Wood Plank Floors

This was my job while Parker nailed and glued the planks.  While this job has to be done outside, I don’t recommend doing it in 100 degree heat….

Aside from sanding out any potential splinters, the purpose of the sanding is to give the wood a worn look, so there is no need for perfection here.  I wanted for the planks to all be a bit different in size/shape, so some planks were sanded more and some less.  I would get about 3 planks sanded before I had to change out the sandpaper.  Also, I highly recommend some kind of work bench like the one pictured above.

Step 7: Make cuts

The cuts will be made as you’re going along, because you want to give the floor a staggered feeling, so you can start with a full length board and then stagger the boards on each “row” of the flooring as you go along.  There’s no pattern to follow with the lengths.  You want the planks to look imperfect, so start laying and then make cuts when you get to the end of the wall.

Step 8: Glue and Lay Boards

DIY Wood Plank Floors

After the cuts have been made and you’re ready to lay each piece, run liquid nails along the undersize before you lay it, this will ensure that there is no movement once it’s down.

Step 9: Nail Boards into Subfloor

DIY Wood Plank Floors

The nails are the last piece of laying the wood and without worrying too much about perfection, they should be in each of the four corners and then spaced about every 12″-18″ down each of the boards.  If you have a nail gun, or access to one, this will be much more efficient and faster.  If I had to watch Parker nail his finger one more time I would’ve cried.

step 10: crash

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Wood angels are a good idea at this point.

Step 11: Prime Floor

DIY Wood Plank Floors

DIY Wood Plank Floors

You may need to run a few layers of primer before the paint just to insure any paint from the plywood can be efficiently covered.  We made the mistake of not thinking to lay the inked side of the boards face down and that required coats of primer to cover those ink spots on the wood.

Step 12: Paint Floor

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Once the primer has been coated adequately, it is time to apply the paint the same as you would any other surface.  You may need 2-3 coats to make sure you can cover all of the plywood since it absorbs so much of each coat.

step 13: install baseboards

DIY Wood Plank Floors

Did I leave anything out?  I’m interested to see how these floors hold up.  I’ve already learned from visiting and seeing the floors a few times that they don’t hide dirt…. I researched and found that the best way to clean them is soap/water, although that doesn’t feel like they’re REALLY clean.  I guess there has to be one downside to quick & cheap.  I DO recommend this for the right space though!  Let me know if I missed anything in the tutorial….

*header image credit

A Subtle Fall Entryway
Camera Ready Interiors

4 comments on “DIY Wood Plank Floors”

  1. Love the look of these floors Claire! I’m so jealous that you have such a great space to test them out in – definitely filing this in the back of my mind!

  2. We have painted some of our inexpensive wood floors with Sherwin Williams Outdoor Porch and Floor Paint. No primer needed on bare wood and no poly on top needed. It cleans up great! Although my floors are a very light gray and not white. Any s UFC’s just take a Mr Clean foam scrubby to it with just enough pressure to remove. Live my floors! Yours look gorgeous!

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