With our guests arriving tomorrow, our small guest bedroom is finally starting to take shape. We already have a new window, our boiler has been moved into the cellar, the walls are plastered and we’ve also just finished laying our new DIY plywood floor!
Although we love our sanded and varnished original floorboards which we have almost everywhere in the rest of the house, we already knew that we wouldn’t be able to have them here.
Whilst the condition of the floorboards wasn’t too bad, there were large gaps between them. We also used this room as a kind of resource when replacing other broken floorboards in our home and removed floorboards whenever we needed to replace one somewhere else in the house. This means that any bits of floor that we repaired or replaced in other rooms matched the the rest of the floor perfectly, but it also means that we had to add a new covering in here.
Here’s how we did it:
Start by measuring your room and calculating the amount of wood you’ll need. Instead of spending hours cutting huge boards of plywood into strips, we opted to have ours cut to size for us. Not only does this of course save loads of time, it also means that the boards are much more even and straight than we could ever have achieved ourselves.
As our room is so small, we were able to just use full lengths pieces of plywood without having to join them. If you do have to add additional boards, make sure to stagger the joints.
#2 Prepare the room
Remove the existing skirting boards and level out the floor. In addition to making sure that the floor was completely flat and even, we decided that it would be best to put down a thin layer of underlay, too. It’ll make up for any minor floor imperfections and also help with sound insulation.
#3 Cutting and laying
Cut your boards to the required length, making sure that you leave a small edge around the room for the wood to expand into. Don’t worry about the gap, it’ll be covered by your skirting board later.
We cut all of our boards with our mitre saw, which made things really quick and easy. I’d definitely recommend using one (although probably not using one in the mess we were working in), especially if you have to join boards lengthwise, as I’ll give a more exact and tidier cut than you could do by hand. If the edges are rough, give them a quick sand before continuing.
We cut all boards and laid them before actually nailing them to the floor. This way we were able to make sure that were evenly set out and that we wouldn’t be left with a weird thin strip at one end of the room (which you shouldn’t be if you’ve done your calculations correctly!).
#4 Attach the plywood
To keep an equal distance between the boards (we still wanted to be able to see that they are planks of wood and not one solid piece of floor) we used some old credit cards as spacers. You can use whatever you have handy, but we found that they are just the right thickness to have a visible gap that’s not too wide.
Because our full length planks collided with our heating pipes, we used offcut pieces the same width as the plank as placeholders to keep the same distance. When we were happy with how the floor was set out, it was time to get out our favourite new powertool – a nailer!
Having a nailer definitely made things so easy and quick. Just watch out for any cables or plumbing underneath!
Because we’d already laid out the floor, it was just a matter of holding the plank of plywood in place while Jan worked his way along the length nailing roughly every 50cm.
Double check the layout of your boards every now and then to make sure that everything is still set out correctly.
Using a nailer also allows you to use tiny nails which become almost invisible when you’ve nailed them into the plywood.
The last step depends on the condition of your plywood, you may need to give the floor a quick sand to remove any sharp edges or rough areas. Our floor was smooth so we were lucky and didn’t have to do any sanding.
Altogether the floor took about 4 hours to cut and lay. We obviously still need to attach the skirting, but other than that we’re already pretty happy with the result.
Here are our top 3 tips if you’re thinking of installing a plywood floor.
- If you’re installing a plywood floor on floorboards, make sure to install your new planks of wood at a 90° angle to the existing floorboards.
- Because we’re laying the plywood onto the existing floorboards, we didn’t want anything that was too thick so that we’d create a step. The plywood board we used is only 5mm thick, which means that the difference in height between the hallway floor and bedroom floor is minimal.
- Depending on your room layout and size, we’d recommend starting at the door and working your way through to the back wall. You don’t want to end up with a thin strip of wood where you’ll see it most. In an ideal world, you should probably even start laying the floor from the centre of the room outwards. This way, you’ll end up with equal sized strips of wood at either end of the room.
- Don’t attempt this without a nail gun. It would take forever to nail it by hand. The nails in the nail gun are also tiny and disappear into the floor which means that you get a much better finish, too.
We’re so close to getting the room completed and I can’t wait to get my paintbrush out. We’ll of course share a cost breakdown of the plywood floor when it’s completely finished.
What kind of flooring do you like most? Do you prefer to have carpet in the bedroom? Do you have any colour suggestions for the floor and room in general?
*This post is in collaboration with Ryobi. All opinions are of course our own and we really love our nailer! Thank you for supporting the brands that support Little House On The Corner.