Wood flooring is not cheap. Even the off-brand laminated flooring at discount warehouse stores can cost over $1.00 per square foot and they tend to scratch and dent easily. We’ve found 3 examples of DIY plywood flooring projects that are perfect for homeowners wanting to give their mobile or manufactured home a fresh new look.
These homemade plywood floors are near perfect for homeowners wanting the popular farmhouse style. The style has taken over homes across the nation since the HGTV show Fixer Upper first aired. The traditional farmhouse style has been modernized just enough to work meets shabby chic look is a throwback to the simple days.
The farmhouse style embraces imperfection and that’s becoming more important as technology takes over every facet of our lives. Our appliances can talk to us now so creating a more primitive style home helps balance things out a little bit.
Back in the good old days, before petrochemicals invaded every aspect of our lives, things were made of natural elements. Walls, ceilings, and floors were made of real wood and they aged gracefully over time. You didn’t need to replace anything, when the surface had passed its lifespan you simply sanded pass the damage and stained it.
We’ll share some basic information that will help you choose the best plywood for your flooring project. We’ve also listed the tools and materials you’ll need and the step-by-step instructions that other mobile and manufactured homeowners successfully followed. You’ll be able to complete your own beautiful DIY plywood flooring project.
First, we’ll cover the best kind of wood to use for DIY flooring in a mobile home. Then we’ll share the necessary tools and follow along with the Bethesdas, a seasoned DIY couple that replaced the flooring in their 2015 Clayton double wide. We’ll also take a peek at another homeowner that completed a DIY plywood flooring project in her 2007 Fleetwood manufactured home. We’ve also found a cool plywood flooring project in a 1968 mobile home.
Plywood is made from several thin layers of wood that have been glued together to form a solid sheet. When it first hit the construction world, Popular Science described plywood as a layer cake of glue and lumber.
Plywood is an engineered wood but it’s a bit different from OSB, MDF, and particle board. OSB, or oriented strand board, is made from several small chips and slivers of wood that’s glued together. Particleboard and MDF are essentially made of lumber dust and glue and are often used as subflooring and cabinetry in the most affordable mobile homes.
Plywood is made from a huge log placed into a lathe. As the lathe spins, a paper-thin layer, or veneer, is sliced from the log much like peeling the skin from an apple. These veneers are placed in layers of varying direction and glued together to form a strong, aesthetically pleasing panel.
Plywood Grade and Thickness
Plywood comes in two main grades and several thicknesses. There is project grade and construction grade. As you probably guessed, construction grade doesn’t have to be as uniform and ‘pretty’ so it will usually be cheaper. Construction grade is mostly used for exterior house sheathing, the paneling under roofing or siding, where it goes unseen. Project grade plywood is more uniform and, well, prettier. It will have met appearance tests that construction grade plywood couldn’t pass.
Pine plywood is softer but affordable. If you like a more worn and weathered look pine plywood is a good choice. Birch and oak plywood will hold up a bit better but they are a bit more expensive.
For that worn imperfection that the farmhouse style so perfectly embraces, pine plywood that’s been primed, painted, or whitewashed should work just fine. You can add a bit more protection by using primer and enamel paint on the plywood.
- A 4′ x 8′ sheet of pine plywood costs between $15-25.
- You can order plywood a few days in advance at both Home Depot and Lowe’s to ensure there’s plenty available to choose from. Always chose your own lumber and look for uniform panels that lay flat and have no sign of water damage.
- Most major home improvement stores offer free or low-cost cuts. For just a couple of dollars more, you can have the store cut your 4′ x 8′ plywood panels into whatever width you need. For larger rooms, you’ll probably want to go with 8″. Keep in mind that in the lumber industry measurements are not true. For example, instead of telling them you want 8″ wide planks, tell them you want the 48″ panel divided by 6 so you don’t waste any. Learn more about plywood here.
Understanding Mobile Home Floor Construction
Before you do this DIY plywood flooring project it’s important you understand that a manufactured home has a different kind of flooring construction than a site-built home. Your Mobile Home describes a mobile home’s floor as a sandwich: on the bottom is your belly wrap, in the middle is the floor joists, insulation, and ducts, and on the top is your subfloor and floor covering. It’s important that the middle of your ‘sandwich’ be insulated well and your underbelly be a solid sheeting without holes or rips. Learn about mobile home insulation here.
To install plywood flooring you need the nails to sink into the joists and nowhere else. This makes the new flooring more secure and eliminates holes in the subfloor. Laying out and cutting the planks of plywood to the correct lengths (not widths) is the most difficult parts of this DIY plywood flooring project.
This 2015 Clayton Double Wide Just Keeps Getting Better and Better
The Beseda’s affordable farmhouse style manufactured home makeover keeps getting more beautiful with every passing weekend. I found Ashley on Instagram and was quickly in awe of her and her husband’s seemingly endless energy. They were doing new projects every weekend.
The couple’s most recent weekend remodeling adventure was an affordable DIY plywood flooring project and Ashley was kind enough to share every detail with us.
Believe it or not, this is the home before the couple finished their budget farmhouse style makeover! One of the first projects they did was adding the faux wood beam that encased their 2015 Clayton double wide manufactured home marriage line.
Ashley’s double wide manufactured home is a perfect example of modern farmhouse inspired decor.
Plywood can be a beautiful and affordable floor covering. It is an especially great choice if you are going for the popular primitive farmhouse style but it can also work well for other decorating styles: casual cottage, country primitive, and even modern tradition.
Choosing the right material is the first step for a successful DIY plywood flooring project so we’ll start with a short guide to help you understand plywood.
Material List for DIY Plywood Flooring Project
Know How Much Plywood you
- Brad Nailer with 1 3/4” nail set
- Table saw
- Chalk line
- Safety goggles
- Stud finder (if needed to find the floor joists)
- Paintbrushes and Paint Trays
Paint Brush Tips
Professional painters have shared many tricks with us over the years that may help you whitewash your plywood flooring.
For new brushes, it may help to soak them in water for a couple of hours before you dip it in the paint for the first time. Wetting the brush first makes cleanup easier and can keep the paint from soaking into the heel of the brush. You may be able to help loosen up an old stiff paint brush by soaking it in fabric softener.
The Step by Step Process for DIY Plywood Floor Project
To start on their DIY plywood flooring project, the handy couple removed all the furniture from the room and then pulled up the carpet and the padding. The subfloor was all that remained.
Step 1: Removing the Carpet and Padding from the Room
Step 2: Ripping the Plywood into Planks
Once the carpet and padding were removed they planned out their layout and began ripping the panels into planks. Learn more about table saws here.
Step 3: Installing the Plywood Flooring
The planks were nailed into the joists under the subfloor.
Ashley and her husband used 1 3/4” nails in an 18 gauge Brad nailer to nail down the planks. The wanted spacing between their planks to give the flooring a true farmhouse look so they used nickels as spacers.
Step 4: Ready for Paint
After the flooring was laid, it was time to whitewash the plywood. Ashley wanted her flooring to be more painted than stained so that less wood showed through. To get that, she mixed her Valspar paint a little thicker.
Ashleys used Valspar Medallion paint in Swiss Coffee.
She explained that mixing her whitewash in smaller batches worked best. If she mixed more than a couple of cups full of the water and paint mixture the paint would sink to the bottom leaving a watery top. In the video above, she shows the consistency she liked best.
She mixed 4 large spoonfuls of paint to 8 even spoonfuls of water at a time and then brushed the mixture onto the boards.
Once the floor was dry, she sealed it with Minwax Polycrylic in clear satin, following the directions on the can. She likes the product because it doesn’t yellow the floors.
The Polycrylic was left to dry and then they added base shoe trim around the room where the floor meets the walls. They painted the trim the same white they had used for the walls and the whitewash for the floors.
Plywood isn’t just for subfloors anymore. It’s a perfect flooring material for primitive or farmhouse styled homes because the imperfect and worn look is exactly what those styles are all about. See another double wide with farmhouse style DIY plywood flooring here.
If you follow our tips and Ashley’s step-by-step instructions you can create your own beautiful flooring for less than $200 per room. That’s a steal compared to most floor coverings!
A big thanks to Ashley and her husband for sharing her DIY farmhouse flooring project with us! You should follow her on Instagram @cottonncopper.
Do you have a plywood floor? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below! As always, thank you for reading Mobile Home Living!