Painted floors - need cheap fix

rita205July 26, 2006

I'd like anyone to tell me if it is truly feasible to lay a piece of plywood and paint it for a cheap flooring option in my kitchen/utility room. From stuff I've read on the internet, it can look very good, but a urethane topcoat would need to be redone every few years. I have two large-ish dogs, and need something durable. One response I got on another message board was that for some reason the paint job didn't seem to last on the plywood base.

Please help, thanks in advance,


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This can work fine if you do a few things: Make sure the plywood is laid flat and even and use lots of screws to secure it (6" around perimeter and 12" in the field). Use cement patch to cover all screws and seams. Sand it smooth. Prime. Use good quality floor paint and then 2 - 3 coats of floor urethane. You could do some really neat things with a painted floor, relatively cheap and beautiful.

I've actually seen a guy who makes "tiles" out of particle board, glues them down and urethanes (looks similar to a cork floor). You could make it look like anything you want with a bit of paint, cheaper than plywood.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 5:29PM
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Look through back segments of This Old House, for I recall the baby-faced host going through a contemporary home during one project. I can't recall the project, but I do recall the contemporary home for the layout (the master bedroom was separate from the main house, connected only by an architectural arch of some sort) and for the painted plywood floor in the master bedroom. There was a brief discussion of the steps taken to install, prepare and paint the plywood. It was quite surprising -- very cheap, but very nice.

Sorry I can't remember any more details.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:36PM
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Thanks to both of you, so much. I'm so undecided! I might give it a try, but I do hate the thought of having to re-do the topcoat frequently. I suppose that's something the people at the paint store (Sherwin-Williams is where I go) can answer, about the durability of the water-based urethane?

Anyway, thanks, and if I go this route, I'll report back here.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 7:25AM
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Just choose a quality professional use waterborne polyurethane and you will have a durable and clear finish coat.

You just need to be careful with the catalyst for these products. You must observe all cautions about the product to stay safe.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 9:20AM
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Rita, For an example of how nice painted plywood can look, check out the pictures on the links below. They did two different treatments on plywood on different floors and they both look fabulous:
2nd and 3rd floor work
2nd floor stain and 3rd floor railings

If you want to see the rest of this project, see the link at the bottom - it is totally cool and really well done!


Here is a link that might be useful: Building the Tower

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 11:56PM
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I forgot to post a link to the original post in this forum about the floors in the tower:

Here is a link that might be useful: Plywood floors in (pics)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 11:57PM
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What an amazing house, thanks for the pics! Now, I love the look of the dark stain but don't like the thought of paw prints (and MY prints) constantly needing mopped. Obviously, in the kitchen, I don't want white, either (I'm kind of messy), but I think this could work. If it doesn't work, in a year or so I can spring for the vinyl. The guy doing my work is an art school grad, so he might have a lot of fun making a pattern on the floor. (whoops, better watch that, he might have too much fun with with painting a pattern!).

Thanks all, next I'll talk to the folks at the paint store.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 7:12AM
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Well, you've sold me!!! We (DH and I) are going with stained and poly'd plywood. We had thought about doing ply floors when we first moved in, but later thought we should do something "nicer". But after looking at the tower pictures posted here, we are both COMPLETELY sold on the idea! It is beautiful!

You should know, we made a trip to Lowe's Tuesday and were shown how "tough" laminate is- the guy demonstrated how scratch-resistant it is by running a penny across it. It scratched up pretty badly! He sheepishly grinned... We decided then and there that laminate would never stand up to what children, garden soil, and two 100 lb. dogs would dish out.

So, plywood it is! Cheap and tough. We are going to stain and poly it before we lay it down, even sealing the edges. I realize there may be touch-ups to do here and there, but I can't imagine having to do it all after it is down---yikes!!!

One more thing...I saw a really neat technique where you quickly run a blow torch over the darkens the raised grain, giving it a lovely bit of depth. I am going to try this on a scrap piece and see if I like it.

I can't wait to get these floors done! I just know they are going to look wonderful!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 4:32PM
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I know this is a very old post but I wanted to tell you that I have two different kinds of plywood flooring. One is birch in a natural finish 4 foot by 4 foot squares laid like tile...It has been in place for about 14 years...refinished once (light sanding...polyed again) and a cherry ply they are both nailed in place. You can use any ply you like from oak, walnut, to cherry or just plain birch....finish however you like. Everyone loves it. I got the birch at HD they even cut the panels for us and we bought the cherry at a specialty ply store. It has a big impact for lots less money.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 2:07PM
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Just a question because this is something I saw on reDesign show with Kenneth Brown. He had the plywood cut in 12 x 12 or 16 x16 squares and screwed each corner down. My mother has vinyl tile down and I think it would be a pain to pull up. If we use the plywood as flooring(either tiles or strips) is there any special prep needed before putting this over a vinyl floor, i.e. leveling product, TSP cleaning, etc? Thanks in advance for any tips and advice.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:42PM
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