Plywood Flooring – An Attractive, Less Expensive Alternative to Hardwood

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

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

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

Whitewashed Plywood Flooring
Whitewashed Plywood Flooring

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

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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