Sunday, August 24, 2014

Moc Hardwood Floors From Plywood - Cheap and Easy

Yes, things are coming along here on the farm. The time has come for flooring and the budget is tight. How could I put in flooring that can stand up to the test of time and do it on a budget? Plywood is the answer! I learned this trick from Jordon of, who added floors to her store this way. She ultimately chose to wash her floor with a 50/50 mixture of off-white paint and water before sealing them with polyurethane. I have decided to mix in a can of light-color stain with the polyurethane for a touch of color, but not much.  For now though, I thought I would show you some pictures of the process and how it looks.

Here is the step-by-step to installing your own moc hardwood flooring:

First step is to measure the space you need to floor and calculate the area in square feet. Divide that number by 32. 32 sq ft is how much one 4x8 sheet of plywood covers.  Round up to the next whole sheet if you have a fractional number.  Head off to your local lumber place and take a gander at the plywood selection. I chose plywood that runs $15.38 a sheet, but you may like the looks of and have the budget for a higher grade of plywood. I like the not-perfect look of the plywood I bought because I want floors that look hand installed and aged. I needed 15 sheets to do my one building. I found a handy helper and we pulled them onto a cart.

Next we wheeled over to where the saw jig is set up. Home Desperate charges 25 cents a cut after the first three. Total cutting fees for me were $18. I am happy to pay them to cut the wood because the plywood sheets are a) unwieldy and hard for me to handle, b) difficult to cut accurately on a saw table or horses with a circular saw, c) time consuming when you work alone, and d) 15 sheets of plywood would not fit in my car unless it was cut. 30 minutes and 3 employees helping was all that was needed to slice my 4x8 sheets into 8" x 8'  planks. I bought a large box of 1.5" fine drywall screws and headed back to the homestead. Total cost around $260.

Oh it is important to note that I had planned on using underlayment like is used under floating laminate floor installations, but my budget won't allow for it. I chose to forgo it in the Shouse building, but will not when I install it in the Shedroom bathroom. The plastic and foam layer, although very thin, will help protect the subfloor from moisture damage and help eliminate squeaking. Theoretically the polyurethane and underkayment will keep water from soaking through unless you bathe like a dog and get water everywhere.

I swept the floor and shuffled assorted building materials out of the way as I went along because I am working in such a small space and storing them anywhere else is just not feasible. You may wish to just empty then room completely. Sweep it well. My building measures just under twelve feet wide and I chose to lay the planks so that they cross over the jousts instead of running them parallel. I figure this will give the building more strength and support the floor better. I laid one 8' plank out, made sure it was straight and screwed it down. Then from the opposite wall, and using a couple of quarters as spacers, I layer the next plank parallel to it. I screwed it down and then took the quarters out. The quarters are important in a building like mine because they allow for expansion and contraction.

*I got some interesting feedback on the necessity of spacing. To that I say, "Go ahead, don't use the spaces, let me know how that works out for you" (said sarcastically to all those knob-heads out there who don't think spaces are necessary and watch their floors lift, buckle, and squeak).

After I laid out the staggered planks and secured them down, I went back and measured for the boards that fill in the empty spaces. Mine measured 38". I simply took planks and cut them down to the proper length on my saw table and installed them lickedy-split.

Total time, not counting the trip to the store and my many lazy breaks, less than 3 hours!

Next I will go through with a sanding block to hit anything that looks rough/splintery. I plan to roll on a super-thick coat (one where the liquid runs into the spaces between the planks) of the polyeurothane later this week before I travel out if town on business. By the time I get back I can move furniture in and walk on it without issue.

I will be repeating this in the Shedroom bath and then carpeting the bedroom part. It will take me 4.5 sheets of plywood in there. Super inexpensive comparatively speaking.

What do you think? Could you see yourself laying moc hardwoods to save some change?