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Plywood Flooring – An Attractive, Less Expensive Alternative to Hardwood

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I’m working with clients in Takoma Park, MD on a first floor remodel.  They are on a very tight budget.  They’ve already cut the budget substantially in their willingness to buy and assemble IKEA cabinets and to use laminate countertops.  One of the bigger remaining single expenses is hardwood flooring.  Since they are willing to do some of the work themselves, I suggested they consider plywood flooring as a short to mid-term alternative.  The husband was reluctant because he thought it would look tacky.  I realized that he didn’t have a good sense about the variety of plywood and extensive finish options that can make for a very attractive, low-cost alternative to hardwood.

So I decided to pull together some images for him and thought I would also share them here.

Plywood Flooring - Baltic Birch

Plywood Flooring - Baltic Birch

The floor above, in my opinion, is anything but tacky.  It appears to use 4′ x4′ baltic birch with the grain alternating in a each “tile”.  It appears to have a clear urathane finish.  This image comes from Design-Crisis.com

Plywood flooring - full sheets

Plywood flooring - full sheets

The floor, above, appears to be full sheets of birch plywood with exposed screws and using just a urethane finish.  This is from Luminhaus.

Plywood Flooring - Full Sheets

Plywood Flooring - Full Sheets - Gloss Finish

This is also birch plywood and also uses exposed, countersunk screws.

The floor, below, uses biscuit joins to create a 2’ x2’ plywood floor without any exposed hardware.  It uses a very similar technique as the first image but with smaller tiles and a different plywood veneer.

PlywoodFloors - 2' Tiles

PlywoodFloors - 2' Tiles

The two images, above, are from the LiveModern Forums.

The stunning floor below is plywood that’s been hand-painted in a faux marble finish.  Read about the process at PaintYoga.com

Marble Faux Finish on Plywood Floor

Marble Faux Finish on Plywood Floor

Large Checkerboard Painted Plywood Floor

Large Checkerboard Painted Plywood Floor

The floor, above, is painted in a large checkerboard pattern using 4′ x 4′ plywood “tile”.

You can see additional painted floor (mostly plank floors) at Design-Crisis.com

Whitewashed Plywood Flooring

Whitewashed Plywood Flooring

And finally, the above home uses whitewashed plywood as flooring.  Read More about this project at  modresdes.com

The cost savings comes from both the material and the labor of finishing the wood.  It only saves significant money if you’re willing to do the painting or finishing yourself.  In my client’s case, if we move forward with plywood flooring, my subcontractor will install the floor but the client will do the finishing.  For those of you interested in doing the total job yourselves, here’s a great discussion on livemodern from professionals to homeowners who have installed their own plywood floors.

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About the Author

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I'm the owner and principal of Braitman Design/Build. We remodel older homes within the urban and close-in suburban areas of Washington, DC. In addition to our full service Design/Build Practice We welcome small design projects and small home improvement projects. And consult with homeowners across the country who want to design and manage the remodeling process themselves. Finally, my work is informed by my experience as an exhibiting sculptor and designer. I truly work at the intersection of art, architecture and design. Please see for yourself the extraordinary result when architecture, design and art are seamless parts of the whole. Please also visit my sculpture website: www.jackiebraitman.com

4 Responses to “Plywood Flooring – An Attractive, Less Expensive Alternative to Hardwood”

  1. avatar

    [...] Plywood Flooring is economical, easy to install, and comes in a variety of veneers. When researching Plywood Flooring I noticed that there was some concern about the thickness and durability of the veneer as well as the amount of time it would take to sand and finish these large planks of wood. Either way, it is a good alternative that in the short term will save you money and create a unique look completely your own. So if you have a low budget, are a do it yourself-er, and are not encumbered by traditional trends, then Why not Try Ply? [...]

  2. avatar

    [...] Plywood Flooring is economical, easy to install, and comes in a variety of veneers. When researching Plywood Flooring I noticed that there was some concern about the thickness and durability of the veneer as well as the amount of time it would take to sand and finish these large planks of wood. Either way, it is a good alternative that in the short term will save you money and create a unique look completely your own. So if you have a low budget, are a do it yourself-er, and are not encumbered by traditional trends, then Why not Try Ply? [...]

  3. avatar

    [...] You can use plywood as a floor…. Plywood Flooring – An Attractive and Low-Cost Alternative to Hardwood [...]

  4. avatar

    [...] BTW:   plywood floors can be a fabulous flooring choice! [...]