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Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

Posted by mama_goose (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 13, 13 at 15:11

... it's not in the kitchen, and it's not tile. If you recall, I was considering a VCT checkerboard for the kitchen (thread here), and thinking about extending it into the DR, and the playroom.

I still haven't decided what to put in the kitchen and DR, but since I've been 'stuck', I decided to try something in the playroom. That room doesn't have much furniture, isn't necessary on a daily basis (as a kitchen is), and has several entrances, so it's easy to work on.

After reading about resilient vinyl planks, I briefly considered that type of flooring--even bought a box to try in the room. I liked the look, but the cost would have been ap. $500 for the 240 (m/l) sq.ft room. And, I had read that there are often mold issues because the vinyl doesn't let moisture from the crawlspace evaporate. We live on soggy clay, so I didn't want to chance using the vinyl.

A friend had suggested that I paint the OSB sub-floor until I decided what type of permanent flooring to use, but I didn't want the bumpy surface that would naturally look like painted OSB. I'd found a blog that described how a couple had installed a plywood floor, so I decided to try that.

Instead of cutting the plywood into planks, I laid 4x8 sheets, then scored grooves to simulate 8" planks. Following are my pics, and instructions, if anyone else is crazy enough to try this:

First sheet of hardwood underlayment plywood, lined up with the joists.
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Plywood finished, using ring-shank nails and construction adhesive. (The scrap piece has sample grooves cut with a circular saw, router, and by hand. I didn't want to build a jig for the saw or router, so I decided to go the by-hand route--I should have my head examined.)
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Grooves finished. It took a long time to do this part, but cost me nothing in materials (except knife blades). I had marked my nail placement on a 4' template, leaving room for the lines. I used a laser level to mark the 'edge' lines, from one end of the room to the other (LOL, had to wait until after dark to mark them!), then used the 4' level as a straight edge. I cut one side of the groove, using a utility knife, then moved the level over 1/16", and cut the other side. I had to make a couple of passes with the knife to clean out the groove, and had to change blades often. I used a small file to pry out stubborn pieces.
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A coat of oil-based primer, a base coat of satin latex (mixed some left-over colors), a coat of 'Dry Earth' latex porch and floor paint, and I'm ready to measure and tape the designs.
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I forgot to take pictures of the taped design, but this is the finished hopscotch board.
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And here's my checkerboard! I plan to use some wood scraps to make checkers and chess pieces, so the grands can lay on the floor to play.
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Close-up of hopscotch square. I used some of the 'Adobe White' cabinet paint, and some metallic paint left over from the accent wall in the LR. Then used three coats of water-based sealer, to protect the paint.
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Since I used some left over paints and sealer, the cost of the floor was about $150.00. Compare that to $500 for vinyl planks, or sheet vinyl. This is an experiment--I don't know how it will wear long term. If it holds up well, I may do the same thing in the kitchen and DR. And, there's no harm done--it's underlayment--it can eventually be covered with vinyl, tile, or hardwood.

I still need baseboard trim, door trim, and thresholds, but it's so gloomy and overcast here today, I wanted to share my fun floor. A few more pics:
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If anyone is thinking about doing this, and has questions, I'll be happy to help.

(Edited to correct spelling, of course :P)

**Editing to try to add a photo:

Here is a link that might be useful: Painted plywood floors/Skydrive album

This post was edited by mama_goose on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 10:31


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

I LOVE IT! That took a lot of skill and patience.


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RE: Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

That is so awesome. What a fun room. Is that a built in bunk over by the French doors?


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RE: Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

tuesday_2008 and marymarymaryk, thank you!

What looks like a bunk is a game table sitting in the window seat, to keep it up off the floor until the sealer cures for a few days. The seat cushion is laying on the table top--I didn't realize that it looked so much like a mattress. The table usually sits in front of the other window seat. In the other window seat, the cushion is leaning against the wall.


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RE: Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

Geeze, I never saw anything like it. That had to take patience - I would have gone crazy. Congrats!


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It looks great! Have the grands seen it yet? I can't believe you cut all that by hand. What hurt most afterward, your knees or your wrist?


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schoolhouse, thank you, it helps if you're already 'round the bend. ;)

marti, thank you. When the 5yr old saw the plywood, half-way through the installation, he cried because I was changing his floor. When it was time to paint the base coat, I gave him a 4" roller, and let him help. I had to go over it with the brush, but, lol, that's all it took--now it's his new floor, and he loves it!

And even with the knee pads, these 55yr-old knees protested more than the wrist!


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WOW Mama_Goose. your floor looks amazing. What a fun space for the kids. I can just see/feel family gatherings there. You are so good at all you do.


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That looks great ! I hope you stocked up on wine to reward yourself(while in a nice warm bath).
Before we got our counters installed we lived with plywood counters...and with plywood floors. Himself was getting to really like the plywood, and I mean really like it--no muss no fuss, spill something no problem...I knew I had to get the show moving and order the counters before he got too comfortable. I tell you though in any future reno I would definitely try these "temporary" floors. I love painted wood floors. Does anyone know what type of wood is usually painted, poplar ?


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RE: Finished my checkerboard floor, but ...

Beautiful job and what a fun room. I love the swings, the floor- a perfect place for kids!


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I love the swings too. I'd be tempted to swing in them.


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Love your floor. This gives me an idea for my mudroom later this summer, and possibly the kitchen.


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shades, thank you! Our last family dinner was on New Years Day. I'm always so busy trying to get dinner set up, I forget to take pictures--I'll try to remember to get a few next month.

Lol, EATREALFOOD, if you look at the first pic in the linked album, you will see our fancy T-111 countertop that we used for 2 1/2 years. Dare I say that I kinda' miss it? I'm sorry, I don't know much about painted floors--maybe ask in the flooring forum.

LauraNJ and marti, thank you--one of my fondest memories is of my mother and my late husband, swinging side-by-side, like two little kids. I have to confess that I use the swings, too--it's very relaxing. We also have rings and a trapeze bar that we can switch out--I do not use those!

Brenda89, thank you. I'll try to keep this thread updated, if I have any issues with the flooring.


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Mama Goose- Did you have to do anything special to attach the swings? I am so tempted to do swings now. My husband would be onboard with it as he and I both swing with the kids.

Swinging is just so calming, makes you feel like you are 5 again when everything around you is a new adventure.


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LauraNJ, those mounting hooks are the same type that would be used for a porch swing. We spaced them so that we can hang a porch swing, using the two outside hooks. There is a room upstairs, so the joist is 2x10. The seats are scrap pieces of 2x10, rounded off, sanded, and painted. If you need close-ups of any of the hardware, let me know.

The chains slip off the hooks for easy removal--we take the swings down every month to set up folding tables for a family dinner. I mounted hooks on the chalkboard frame, to store the swings, rings and bar, when they're not in use.

I had to learn this when I was in 3rd grade:

The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

Robert Louis Stevenson


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I love it! I've been thinking about putting a hopscotch and chess board out in the garden, but this is even better :)

If only we lived closer, I'd love to see your home in person!


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You are all invited to come over and swing with me. :)

Lavender, I wish we lived closer--I'd help you with your hopscotch and chess boards. I'll bet the nieces and nephews will love them!


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I know that poem :).

Thanks for the info on the hardware. I just have to figure out where I can do this. Thank you so much for sharing!


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Mama Goose, this is way cool!! Your grands are very fortunate to have such a playful space to visit. Thank you for sharing the how to details!


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Love, love, love it!!! I've always wanted to paint a design on a wood floor. I have my chance to do that in the glass house I built. Now I just need to wait for warm weather.

The swing idea is charming :)


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LauraNJ, you are welcome. I hope your family has a wonderful time with the swings.

BTW, the ceilings in that room are only 92" (same as the kitchen), so high ceilings aren't necessary.

daisyblue, thank you. I think I am fulfilling all my childhood fantasies. :)

rafor, thank you. I remember your equally charming glass house--I hope you'll post pictures when your floor is finished.


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What a fun place for the kids to play and so very creative! I hope it holds up well but I suspect either way the grand-kids will love it to pieces! Very cool. :)


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Autumn.4, thank you!

shades_of_idaho, I took some pictures while I was setting up for dinner yesterday. Of course, when it was time to lay out the food, I completely forgot about the camera, even though I'd left it out on the counter to remind myself to get pics during dinner.

Three 6' tables, set up in the playroom (GS mugging for the camera, before chairs were set up.):
 photo tablesetttings026-II_zpse4d9e47d.jpg
This picture is staged with plates, but the plates are usually stacked on the kitchen counter, the beginning point of the buffet; drinks are served from the end of the island.

Coffee station in the playroom:
 photo tablesetttings018_zps3cc7d533.jpg

Kitchen buffet; plates, platters, and serving pieces, ready for food:
 photo tablesetttings033_zps3d50930d.jpg

We had extra seating in the DR--when we have smaller groups, this is our dessert table. We planned for 26 people yesterday, but shortly after I took these pictures, my brother called to ask if he could bring 5 (FIVE!) extra guests--his GF's daughter and family were there, and they wanted to come to dinner. Well, OK, we scrambled around setting up a small drop-leaf table that had been stored upstairs. It was set up in the LR (forgot to take pic--lucky to remember my name at this point), giving us seating for 30. I laid out a couple of extra settings and placed extra chairs, in case anyone else dropped in. As it happened, four family members didn't show up, two of them were iffy anyway, so we had plenty of seating available. Table in the DR; dessert buffet (for cake, pies, fruit bowl) on the counter in background:
 photo tablesetttings029_zpsf66098b9.jpg

Second coffee station:
 photo tablesetttings031_zpsd823281c.jpg

Dessert service:
 photo tablesetttings030_zps0c9bc571.jpg

And this morning, everything is back to normal. The painted floor is fine--a few black marks from shoes cleaned up with a damp cloth:
 photo playroomentriesII001_zps108d6fcc.jpg

The view into kitchen and LR:
 photo playroomentries007_zpsa4100ec8.jpg

From the kitchen:
 photo tablesetttings042_zpsfcc1fe71.jpg

Kitchen pic, for reference:
 photo kitchen053.jpg

I saw on the news today that January 21 is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year.

I love the painted floor. I have leftover pie. I'm doin' OK. :)


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Update! If you scroll up a bit, you'll see a short wall beside where the chalkboard is mounted. That bump-out was the block chimney on an exterior wall, before we added on. Since there wasn't much room for a piece of furniture on that short side, I decided to make a climbing wall for the GS. I used scrap pieces of 2x3 lumber, routed to smooth the edges, and made grooves for finger and toe holds. When he outgrows the wall, I'll remove the scraps, fill and sand the holes, and repaint that section.

There was no cost for this project, and it utilizes a space that's only 23" wide. It's not pretty, but I hope it will be fun on a rainy day.

Here is a link that might be useful: spiderman


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Your usual whimsical artistry....and what a cute little monkey you have there....


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You are the coolest grandma in the whole world, Mama Goose!


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Thank you both! My late husband was an adventurer--we took our children canoeing before they could walk. My son was chimneying in redrock when he was six, and rapelling at 12. When the girls were old enough, they went along--I've belayed them on climbing walls, and held my breath as they've landed a plane.

I've never had an adventurous spirit--never wanted to jump out of a plane or over a cliff--but I want this little one to have the confidence to take on the world. :)


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This is a great thread Mama_Goose! Your house breaths of life and love!


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You have a Beautiful Home!!!


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Enduring and jannie, thank you! This week we've had beautiful weather, and I've had the windows open, enjoying the sounds and scents of spring. Last evening we had a little visitor--I found a spring peeper (frog) in the kitchen!

This post was edited by mama_goose on Fri, Apr 12, 13 at 12:34


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Oh, that is great. My favorite season is spring, mud, cold, rain, and all!

I see a blue jay flying around and I want to believe it is "Jimmy Jay". A blue jay that my 21 year old son nursed along through his fledgling period last summer. We have a brooder house and used that for a small aviary when he got too big for the hamster cage. He would sit on our hands as we fed him pureed dried cat food through a syringe. I believe it is against the law to care for Jays, but we just couldn't let the barn cats get him :). One day we left the door open and he flew out to the apple tree, then he went back inside. The next day we left the door open and never saw him again. I'd call for him, just for fun. Now when I see the bright blue jay I want to believe it is Jimmy Jay.


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Enduring, what a nice story. I hope Jimmy Jay remembers your kindness. When my kids were smaller, we raised an orphaned mockingbird, feeding it the hard-boiled egg and crackers mixture that my grandmother used for her canaries. Lol, we used the narrow end of my children's silver baby spoon, to push the food in far enough. As it was meant to be, eventually he stopped coming back to be fed, too.


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Hi again, the feeding of JJ, was very gratifing when I could get a good bolus of food inserted deep into his gullet. He just looked so content.

I am linking my bathroom reveal in case you're into soapstone :) I know you've posted on other post I've made regarding the ss sink. The bathroom is now done. Also, down 3/4 of the way, is a picture of The Grainery, an old grainery that I have wanted to remodel for several years now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bathroom reveal


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