We managed to build a plywood floor from scratch for our living room on a very limited budget, we also painted it bright blue because why not? Anyway here’s the story behind it all and how easy it was to do to!
So first let me start off by saying that I have dreamt of having a blue floor since I pinned an image (one I can’t find anymore) about 3 years ago. It was of a blue floor in a kitchen, and it just looked super awesome. So as soon as me and Richard had an offer accepted on our house, we both went deep into research finding a way to build a blue floor.
I did tests using a few different paint choices, but ended up going with this one below which is Beach Blue from Cuprinol. We went with a 2 parts paint 1 part water in the end, to get the desired strength. I wanted the floors to be vibrant, but still be able to see the grain. This paint was so easy to work with, plus we ended up using 2 litres, so it came to £20 for the paint altogether.
When we moved in, we realised quickly there weren’t any wooden floor boards downstairs, plus we had another issue which was found by the carpet fitter…the previous owners had plummed some piping, but hadn’t piped deep enough. How did we find this out? well the carpet fitter went through a pipe while trying to fit some carpet. Cue water everywhere, and a panicked me calling Richard home. So this put a major issue in the plan. We now had to build a flooring from scratch and find a way to fit it without nailing it into the flooring below.
So here’s what we did. We put in a wooden frame, using 25x50mm batons. This added height to the floor, but was a solution that kept all our pipes intact and something to attach the floor boards too. We left the underlay from the carpet to raise the wood off the concrete and stop it sucking any potential moisture out of the slab, and also give the floor some bounce, for when Archer decides to practise his diving off the sofa. This would only work with plywood as the alternating “plys” in its construction, stop the wood splitting when walking on and give it a dance hall style cushion. Using a set square, and a little jig (see below) we kept an even distance between batons.
Regarding our floorboards, Richard spent ages working out how to use the sheet of plywood efficiently so the wastage was minimal. He managed to get 9 floor boards out of a sheet of plywood. So with that info, and knowing the size of the room, we actually managed to order enough wood with just a little left over. We got our wood from a local timber merchant, who only charged us an extra £1 per a sheet for the cuts. Now we do have a table saw so we could have done this ourselves, but it would have taken us so much longer and we were on a tight schedule to get this done in a weekend while Archer was visiting his grandparents. It was totally worth it. So always look to your local merchants, as they are often much cheaper than the big stores.
We painted the wood outside board by board. This was more logical due to the size of the room and my rather pretty white walls (ha!)
This took me and Richard an evening to do as there were like 70 boards to paint, but it was a pretty quick process, as the wood absorbed the watered down paint quickly!
The next morning saw us laying out the boards to work out which ones had to be cut down to size..this is pretty much like a jig saw..trying to find a logical but practical way to fit 70 boards took a while but this is one step which shouldn’t be rushed. We realised that every row was two and almost exactly one half, we also had to space out the batons evenly and were one short on perfect symmetry. As the highest traffic area, the space in front of the sofa got the extra baton and the space below the planned “booth” lost one as it would get no walking traffic. So we mixed up where the half boards went, to keep a pattern which looked mixed up, but purposely so.
After we were happy, we fitted the boards, doing one long strip at a time. We picked gold screws to add a little bit of colour, and ended up screwing down the boards in a pretty efficient manner.
All in all it took us 2 days to fit the flooring down and we used 12 short of 1000 screws..yeah long! To finish it all off we used a poly based varnish, this one, which is used in areas like receptions of hotels. We did three coats, which gives it a clear shiny coating..and it still looks amazing even 8 months on! And all in all we were able to do all this for just under £300!