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Daverimmer 12-09-2010 06:50 AM

Plywood as flooring
I am intending on using plywood as a finished floor for our remodeling project - an old lake house. I have seen pics and read posts by others who have executed this beautifully.

My issue is that my cheap source of plywood has only 3/8th inch new birch. Normally I expect this to be too thin but there is currently a 5/8th subfloor to which I will add another 22/32nd osd flooring layer and then the 3/8th's final layer. The total flooring thickness will thus be over an inch and a half thick.

Considering thickness I am hoping to hear that the 3/8th inch plywood will work. What do you all think?



oberkc 12-09-2010 08:03 AM

Are you asking from a structural perspective? What is your spacing between joists?

Considering that vinyl over 3/4 OSB subfloor and 1/4" luan is pretty common, I would expect that your proposed method would be more than sufficiently strong. Even more so if you bond them with some form of adhesive (though I would hate to be the sucker that has to replace that floor!)

Daverimmer 12-09-2010 08:08 AM

Not too worried about the structural part ..just the use of 3/8th inch plywood as a finished floor.

gotogregg 12-09-2010 09:51 AM

Hey Dave,
I have never personally seen finished plywood flooring, but I have seen stained OSB used as wall paneling, haha. The thickness of the plywood wouldn’t really be my main concern, but I would use thicker than 3/8” to better prevent warping or flexing. My main concern with finished birch plywood is how thin the birch veneer is. I mean it’s usually 1/16” to 1/8” thick. That seems like it could easily get ruined by any amount of traffic. What are you going to do where two pieces meet? In other words, how will you cover the seams? I am just curious because I have never seen it done:confused1:. Share some pictures or links of this type of flooring for me. Have you considered using a laminate flooring? Thanks-Gregg

rusty baker 12-09-2010 11:36 AM

I'm with Gregg on this one, I would be afraid the "wearlayer" is too thin. Also, even some birch plywood has voids in the plys and that would concern me.

rusty baker 12-09-2010 11:39 AM

What are you planning on doing about the joints in the plywood?

Daverimmer 12-09-2010 09:31 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Yeah, the wear layer is pretty thin...on that basis alone I think I need to rethink the project a bit.

As for edge joints, several folks have cut 1/8th in grooves on all sides of each piece and hammered in 1/8th inch melamine in half inch strips as edge connectors. Others have just set the plywood against another and screwed each piece down.

Here are a few pics of examples done by others....

Anti-wingnut 12-10-2010 08:03 AM

My thoughts:
1) The wear layer is very thin
2) Softwood plywood is very soft, especially in comparison with woods used for flooring. Be ready for dings and scratches
3) I do not think that the product is a zero-void plywood
4) Edges will have to be carefully thought out to avoid these areas from becoming focal areas of warping
5) Often what looks good in a magazine or web page are special examples to tout some designers or architects latest ideas. They are not proof of a good design, or a design that will look good in two weeks.
6) Birch typically takes a finish well when used as a cabinet, panel or furniture. How the finish will adhere to the material when used in the exponentially tougher application of flooring is an unknown to me.

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