Josh did a lot of research on how to cost-effectively install wood floors. We knew we didn't want to pay the big bucks for the real stuff but even laminate can be pricey. So we took a risk and decided to try plywood.
Yep, plywood. Maple plywood to be exact. Plywood is engineered wood and is extremely affordable.
It was easy but very time consuming. It took us several months to complete, because: toddler. We tackled one room at a time, starting with Link's nursery.
22 sheets of 4'x8' 1/4" Top Choice Maple Plywood
4 packs of Pergo Gold 3mm underlayment
2 gal of Minwax Satin Floor Finish
Angle Finish Nailer
Angles, measure tape, pencils, etc.
Before actually starting on the floors, Josh cut each plank from a 4'x8' sheet using a circular saw and table saw. This was the most tedious part but we knew cutting it ourselves would lead to cleaner, straighter lines.
We pulled up the nasty carpet and behold: nasty vinyl (possibly asbestos) tile. Originally, we planned on removing all of this tile down to the plywood subfloor, but ran into the black tar-like adhesive under the tile. This would have taken ages to scrape up, so we made an executive decision (because it's our house and we can do whatever we please) just to clean the tile and call it good.
While not necessary, we then covered the clean floor with underlayment. This acts as a moisture barrier and sound insulation. If we were to do it again, we would use thicker plywood and thinner underlayment, as there is a very tiny amount flex to the planks as you step on them. Of course, only Josh really notices this.
Starting in the middle of the room, Josh then nailed each plank. You want to work your way out from the middle so you can keep even spacing and symmetry on either end of the room. This proved to be extremely difficult, as these rooms couldn't be further from square. Once Josh came to the end of the row, he'd cut the appropriate length and then use the remaining piece to start the next row. This kept the boards in an alternating pattern.
We used a really technical spacing technique: credit cards. Josh's card has never been the same since.
Once all the planks were down, Josh sanded the entire room with 220 grit sandpaper then applied two layers of finish.
And voila! A few months down and we finally have a check on our to-do list. We also have much cleaner socks.
Now for the best part. Savings! The floors ended up being about $1.10/sqft. With such a great deal, it's hard not to be ecstatic with the way they turned out.