DIY Farmhouse Wide Plank Flooring Made From Plywood

The first farmhouse wide plank flooring made from plywood project we did was in the dining room earlier in the year.

Well, we loved it so much we did the same wide plank flooring in the living room.

For the most part, both the floors were done the same way, with a couple of exceptions. In this article, we’ll go over the differences between the two floors.

Check out the dining room plywood floor article to see more of the step by step details.

As far as time goes, the dining room’s wide plank flooring took about a week to finish and the living room took a lot longer.

The living room is a bit bigger, but what really added time to the project were the shimming and the end grain flooring inlay.

From start to finish, it took a little over two weeks to finish the living room floor.

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What We Did Different With This Farmhouse Wide Plank Flooring

The methods we used for the flooring in the dining room and the living room were pretty much the same.

In the living room, we pulled up the old carpet, removed staples, painted the sub-floor a dark color and put down the floor the same way it was done in the dining room.

The width, length and thickness of the plywood planks was the same, and we cut, sanded, distressed, stained and added 3 coats of polyurethane to the flooring in almost the same way.

There were some small changes we made that saved us a little time and may have added some more character to the plywood plank floor.

Here are the things we did a bit differently this go around.

We Didn’t Sand Between Polyurethane Coats

When we did the dining room floor, we lightly sanded the bumps out of the coat of polyurethane with 120 grit sandpaper.

With the living room floors, we figured that the bumps on the plywood planks would even out a little after multiple coats of poly were applied.

Besides, the bumps would add a bit more texture making the floors less slippery. Not that the dining room floors are slippery – it was just a way of justifying it in my head. 😉

The only concern I had was how it would feel walking barefoot on the floor with more texture.

Turns out, despite clearly feeling the additional texture when running your hand on the plank, it was barely noticeable when walking on it barefoot.

The Shopping List

Tools List
Here’s a list of the tools we used on this project, it’s basically the same list of tools from the dining room flooring project.

Affiliate links below may be to similar items when exact items couldn’t be found online.

Cordless Finish Nailer

Extra Battery For Finish Nailer

Belt Sander

Palm Sander

Miter Saw

Circular Saw

Cross Cut Saw Blade

Oscillating Multi-Tool

Hearing Protection Ear Muffs

Table Saw


Supplies List

These are the supplies used on this project.

Affiliate links below may be to similar items when exact items couldn’t be found online.

Varathane Cherrywood Gel Stain – we used about 7 quarts

Water Based Oil-Modified Poluyrathane – we used 2 gallons

3″ Natural Bristle brush – 6 brushes to apply the stain

4″ Polyester Synthetic Brush – 4 brushes to apply the poly

Masking Paper – We used the masking paper to protect the deck when applying the stain and poly

6 Gauge 1 1/2″ Finish Nails

A New Character Builder Was Used

The same original cast of character builders was used with the plywood planks in the living room. A hammer, pliers, and a propane torch… and this time we added a utility knife to the arsenal.

For the dining room, we would dig into cracks in the wood using the sanders to open the cracks up and soften the edges.

This time we used a utility knife to lengthen and widen the cracks in the wood.

Then we softened the edges of the cracks with the sander.

The result was even better than we imagined.

The deep cracks we made with the utility knife gave us the aged, farmhouse wide plank flooring look we were going for.

You wouldn’t even guess that it was plywood.

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We Added Shims

The living room floors were much more uneven than the floors in the dining room.

To the point where we needed to add shims in the low spots to try and level things off a little.

I went around the floor with a straight edge, and where ever there was a dip, I added shims.

Since I knew I needed a good amount of shims, I made them out of a sheet of 1/4″ plywood. I ripped the sheet into 1″ strips using the table saw.

Once the floor was shimmed, we painted the floor a dark brown color, just like we did in the dining room.

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The Living Room Plywood Floor Is Finished!

Like I said, the living room floor took much longer to do than the dining room floor did. It took a little over two weeks to finish, had I not messed up with the wood slice accent flooring, we would have finished in about 2 weeks.

Check out the wood slice accent flooring project here

We love the farmhouse wide plank flooring in both the dining room and the living room. This style was the perfect fit for this house, we couldn’t have imagined a better fit.

Between the two floors, I’d say I’d stick to the steps used on the living room floor.

Sanding between poly coats seems to have been unnecessary, and using the utility knife to expand on the cracks in the wood added sooo much more character to the living room floor – LOVE IT!

Here are a few more pictures of the stained plywood floors on the living room floor.

Let me know what you think, is there something you would have done differently?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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Hi, I'm Steve. My wife Sandy and I have been doing DIY projects for years now and we finally created a blog to help share our projects and ideas. We hope you find these posts useful. :)

View Comments

  • Hi there:

    Beautiful floors. I was wondering how much space is between the planks and how you managed to keep the distance uniformly. I have seen other posts where they have used pennies but yours look wider.

    • Hi Lyn,

      Thanks so much! :)

      The gaps are kinda sorta uniform – they definitely aren’t perfect. Since our floors were so warped it would have been difficult to get the spacing to be the same everywhere. We were going for a rustic look anyway, so the spaces didn’t need to be THAT uniform. :)

      We did something similar for our spacings, we used quarters to do the spacing.

      Hope that helps!

      Take care.

    • Hi Kris!

      We used Minwax Water-based oil-modified Polyurethane with a clear satin finish. Here’s the link to the poly I used on Amazon

      It worked out really well for this project for a few reasons:

      It doesn’t have an odor
      It is a clear finish, with no yellowing
      It’s designed for flooring, so it’s very durable
      They were all important to us, but the most important for us was that it was orderless. If you’ve ever done a project with regular polyurethane there’s a super-strong smell that lingers for weeks! This had no smell at all.

      Hope that helps.


  • We did these floors in our old house and found they were easy to scratch. And not in the cool worn character of use but like scratchy looking. How did you get around this? Thank you!

    • Hi Anna,

      Well so far so good. The floors in the dining room and kitchen are about a year old and there aren't any scratches - yet. :)

      Not sure if it's something we did that made a difference with the scratch resistance. Maybe the poly we used, maybe the number of coats we put on. But I'm sure a scratch will come along someday.

      Like I wrote in the post about the dining room floors, the old me would have never made floors with this much character.

      The old me would have made perfectly smooth flooring with as little imperfection as possible and I would have done everything possible to avoid scratches. The thing is the more perfect your floors are, the easier it is to have a noticeable scratch.

      The new me made these floors with tons of imperfections, on purpose! There are so many I can't imagine a scratch that I wouldn't welcome and chalk up to additional character.

      If there are scratches that come along which are downright unsightly, here's a list of what I think I would do:

      Scratches in the poly
      If the scratches are only in the poly and haven't reached the wood, then I can add a coat of the water-based poly on the pieces that need it. That's something that's great about the water-based poly we used, you can apply a coat on top of an existing coat. You don't have to sand down to the wood to refresh the finish.

      Scratches in the wood
      If a scratch makes it into the wood, meaning that naked wood shows in the scratch, I would try my best to incorporate the scratch into the character.

      Maybe I'd use a sharp to make the scratch dark and apply a couple of coats of water-based poly on that board to protect the wood again.

      I could also apply more stain into the scratch to hide the wood color then apply a couple of coats of water-based poly on that board to protect the wood again.

      Scratches That are So Ugly I Can't Stand It
      Another option if the scratches are really nasty looking, then I could remove the boards that were scratched up and make new boards to replace them. Honestly, the scratches would have to be realllly bad for that to happen.

      I hope that answers your question. If not lemme know and I'll do my best to answer you. :)

      Take care!

  • Have you had any problems with dirt/junk getting into the cracks or did you do something to prevent that.

    • Hi Mark,

      It's kind of surprising but no. I expected that I'd need to dig some dust bunnies out of there every once and a while but we haven't had that happen.

      I think it may have to do with the thickness of the plywood we chose. Because it's only 1/2" thick, the vacuum may be close enough to the bottom of the cracks to suck the dust and stuff out. Just a guess.

      Maybe if something gooey or pasty fell into the cracks, like cake batter. That would probably need more cleaning, but so far so good, no cake baking accidents. :)

  • I am considering a similar distressed floor in a lake cabin, probably painted with a thin white wash of some type.

    1) I worry about dirt, bugs, etc collecting in cracks. Has it been a problem?
    2) How thick must the plywood be if it is going over a preexisting linoleum?
    David - Dallas

    • Hi David,

      We used 1/2" plywood for our floors. The main reason I used 1/2" instead of 3/4" was because our floors were so uneven. The house is made entirely of rough-cut lumber, which has a really unique feel that we love - but the unevenness of it is a pain when you try to lay flooring down. The 1/2" plywood had the perfect amount of give for our project, not to mention it was also cheaper than 3/4" plywood.

      The flooring under our plywood planks is light-colored plywood. To prevent that subfloor from showing between the plank spaces we painted it with a really dark brown paint that had an eggshell finish. The eggshell minimizes the shine if the sunlight happened to hit it.

      We haven't had any problems with stuff collecting in the spaces between the planks. I think because we used 1/2" instead of 3/4" plywood, the vacuum is able to suck out anything that may have otherwise been trapped in the spaces of 3/4" plywood. Just a theory.

      It could also be the smooth finish on the sides of the planks that prevent dust bunnies from clinging to the sides of the planks. Had we finished the floor while it was down instead of pre-finishing each board individually (like we did), the sides of the wood would have been very rough and I think it would have been much harder to get the dust out of there.

      If I were to put this floor down over linoleum I'd use 1/2", 3/4" costs more and honestly I can't think of what benefit it would have over the 1/2". If the linoleum had lost its sheen and was a darker color, I may install the planks directly over it.

      If it was still shiny, had a heavy pattern, or was a really light color then I would put a coat of paint on it. The linoleum may need to be scuffed up with sandpaper to give the paint something to hold on to if the linoleum is still in good shape.

      I hope that helps and best of luck with your plank project!!


  • Hi Steve, thank you so much for this post. I swear your floors make me bite the side of my index finger... Lol. But seriously, I've read both if your post several times and I've just about built up enough courage to get started however, I would like stain the wood planks and grout them, do you think I could use grout and if so what type of grout would you recommend. I noticed that you used sawdust grout for the end grain wood slice floor, which would also be an option if I can paint/ whitewash the end grain slices. Any advice you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your post.

    • Hi Akua!

      That's great! I'm glad these posts are helping you create your own version of these plywood plank floors.

      It sounds like you want to do the same flooring, but add grout between the planks. And you're also doing your version of the end grain wood slice floor with whitewash.

      I think it's gonna look awesome!

      Yeah, you can definitely use grout. I came across a couple of other methods to fill the spaces, but personally, I like the organic-ness of the sawdust grout.

      The Grout
      To fill the spaces between the planks, I think I’d tweak the sawdust grout recipe a little.

      With the end grain wood slices, I used 2 parts sawdust to 1 part poly. It's what I found online as the ratios, so that's what I used.

      That created a pretty thick grout (kinda like really thick oatmeal), which was ok in my application because the gaps between the slices were pretty wide. Grabbing a chunk of sawdust grout and mashing it between the wood slices wasn't a big deal.

      I think to fill the gaps between the planks - I'd want a more liquid grout.

      I'd probably still do a 2 to 1 mixture - then mix in more poly, little by little, until it was more like a pancake batter.

      That would make it easier to fill the spaces.

      Applying the grout
      When applying the grout, make sure to wipe off as much of the grout from the face of the planks while it’s still fresh.

      This isn’t the same as regular grout - you want to wipe the sawdust grout off as soon as you apply it.

      Use a rag to wipe it off the plank face right after you filled the space for that plank.

      The Steps
      These are the steps I’d do (I think you’re on the same page - but just in case):

      • Cut the planks
      • Sand and apply character to the planks
      • Stain and poly the planks
      • Install the planks
      • Grout the planks

      If there are spots where the grout didn't completely wipe off the face of the planks you can sand it off. Then reapply poly if needed.

      That’s it!

      I hope that helps, let me know if you have any other questions.

      I'd love to see how your floors come out. Mark the pics with #opifloors so we can find them!

      Thanks and best of luck with your flooring!



  • Hey Steve! LOVE LOVW LOVE THE FLOORS! I apologize if you’ve already said this but could you share what color stain you used?

    • Hi Wendy! Thank you so much! :)

      Sure not a problem at all, the stain color we used is Cherrywood from Varathane.

      There are other brands that have a Cherrywood color, but they aren't all the same.

      The Varathane Cherrywood stain has a darker color. The darker color gave a more pronounced "wood grain" finish than the other brands.

      This is a link to the same stain we used:


  • Hello! Your floors are absolutely gorgeous! I would love to come as close as possible to yours. With me wanting to be a copycat, I have a couple questions.
    Is this just regular 4x8 sheets of PINE plywood?
    Also, did you use a brush (technique?) for applying the stain?
    Thank you in advance!

    • Hi Tifani! Thank you so much!

      That's right, the 1/2" cheap 4 x 8 pine plywood sheets. Because the cracks and knots add character to the boards, you don't need to be careful about selecting boards that are pristine. In fact, choosing boards with imperfections will give you more character in your floor boards.

      I did use a brush technique. I was trying to prevent, or at least mimimize that zebra pattern that plywood has when you stain it. So, I used the gel stain in stead of regular stain, and by using a dry brush technique the gel stain went on in a wood pattern hiding that zebra pattern I was avoiding.

      The technique was pretty easy. I go over the technique here https://ourprojectideas.com/diy-rustic-wide-plank-plywood-flooring/#staining-the-planks

      It's just a matter of having two brushes, one to apply the stain (the wet brush) and the other to remove excess stain and apply a wood grain type pattern (the dry brush).

      I'm not sure if I answered your brush technique, let me know if you need more clarification. :)

      Best of luck with your floors!!

  • The floors look wonderful! Just wondering did you tongue and groove the planks or just put them down next to each other not connected?

    • Hi Cherie, thank you so much.

      We wanted a farmhouse look with spaces between each plank so we didn't do tongue and groove. Each board is face nailed into the subfloor.

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