Inexpensive wood floor that looks like a million dollars!

Feb 05 2023
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Beginning our whole month throwback series with our very first do it yourselfer post here on Grandma’s house DIY. How to put down an inexpensive wood floor! I can’t believe we hit our 400th blog post not too long ago and this year will mark EIGHT YEARS of my living here and blogging about it. Sharing my life out here with all of you guys and improving Grandma’s house has been such an incredible adventure. This post was first published on Aug 26, 2015 and our inexpensive wood floors are still looking good to this day! Here’s a few of our most recent entryway photos so you can see how nice it still looks before diving into the old post on how I did it.

Before and after of my multi functional entry and dining room that is also now doubling as my office and mudroom too! See how I transformed this space

Before and after of my multi functional entry and dining room that is also now doubling as my office and mudroom too! See how I transformed this space

Before and after of my multi functional entry and dining room that is also now doubling as my office and mudroom too! See how I transformed this space

Its pretty amazing to read back and realize how much has changed here at Grandma’s house! Here is the original post:

How to lay down your own inexpensive wood floor and make it look gorgeous! In a past life I had thought of the idea of buying solid oak plywood or particle board, cutting it into strips and using it as inexpensive solid oak flooring and I was told that I was an idiot and carpet was chosen instead (a far more expensive option when I had already exhausted my budget). As it turns out I was very right and cutting plywood into strips for a wood floor has been done and it is gorgeous!


Just for the record your floor does not need to come out of a box that says “flooring” on it, nope, what makes a floor a floor is the fact that you walk on it! The only reason I did not opt for the plywood-cut-into-strips-option in my grandma’s house was because I didn’t own a table saw at the time and it still would have cost more then what I ended up paying! This inexpensive wood floor cost less then $300!

DIY cheap make your own solid wood floors for a fraction of the cost @GrandmasHousDIY

The idea to just use basic pine 1x4s for the floors in my Dining Room/Entry and Extra Bedroom came about when I found out I could buy what they call “furring strips” from a local lumber yard for less then $1 a board. Note: Furring strips are generally made of very rough material, its not pretty wood, it is the roughest pine that you can buy and its usually only used on something where it will be covered up. However, I have a very old farm house and only about 500 square feet to cover and an extraordinarily limited budget.

During the renovation, when I finally got to putting my new wood floor my local lumber yard was completely out of the furring strips I wanted to buy so, after many calls, I ended up buying 1x4s (of the cheapest pine available) somewhere else for $1.80 a board. Not as cheap as I had thought I would get however, it is much higher quality then it would have been had I went with the furring strips. So this floor cost me less then $300 for 500 square feet and that makes me very happy!

(If you need funding help with your home project, search for things like title loans with no job to what options are available. Or if you are looking for a house with a pre-built wooden floor, get in touch with Loving Phoenix Realty)

DIY cheap make your own solid wood floors for a fraction of the cost @GrandmasHousDIY

Click here for Quality Wood Flooring (that does come in a box lol)

You don’t need much for this installation but there are some things you can do that I chose not to do. Squeaks fit right in around here and I wanted no gaps between the boards because the original floor boards had no space between them. To eliminate squeaks and groans you can put down a pad/underlayment between the sub floor and your new wood floor, you can also glue the floor down as well.

You can also use some kind of spacer between your boards. These are all things that I chose to skip and all things that would eliminate the squeaking, groaning and shifting. For me having the floors look like they’ve been here for 100 years was more important to me then living with squeaks.

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tips

Question I will undoubtedly be asked: Aren’t you supposed to run your new floor the opposite direction the sub floor is run? Yes, that is how you are supposed to do it and no that is not how I did it. In only about 1/4 of the flooring the old sub floor for the screened in porch remained, the rest was plywood so I just went ahead and did wrong. I regret nothing.

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tips

I used a brad nailer and two inch long brad nails for this job. Two brads every few feet in a line down every board was plenty and looks very consistent.

I purchased 12 foot long 1x4s so they spanned the distance of the entire room so I had no seems. 8 foot long 1x4s would have been cheaper and would have made little to no waste but would have created lots of seams. I was attempting to make this inexpensive wood floor look as close to my original hardwoods as I could which has no gaps an no seems.

This is one of those jobs that one person can do but is so much quicker and easier with two people that you really should have two people. I used a jigsaw for the tedious cuts and a skill saw to rip the boards down if necessary.

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tips

I used a pine 1×8 to cover the uneven threshold between my dining room and my kitchen, I did not want my new inexpensive wood floor and my 100 year old hard woods butting up to each other to be compared as they are very different types of wood as well as slightly different in size. The threshold creates the stopping point that makes the two different woods/floors make a lot more sense to the eye.

We sanded the floors together, using a far rougher grit sandpaper (35) on the original wood floor then we used out here (60). From there I applied one coat of stain to all of it by hand with a paint brush, laid it on there thick, let the floor soak up as much as it wanted and then, after about twenty minutes, wiped up the excess with old t shirts. From there I did two coats of a poly acrylic with no sanding between coats, letting it be as rough as I could so they would look like they’ve been here forever. I love them!

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tips

All in this project of 500 square foot of inexpensive wood flooring cost me less then $300!

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tips

UPDATED September 7, 2017: So far the floors are holding up incredible! Like any wood floor you’re going to find yourself dealing with the dreaded scratches and just like any dark wood floor I find myself still at a loss on how to keep them clean! The trick is to just bite the bullet and sweep at least once a week and to put a good rug outside to make sure you get the sand off your feet before you come in! This is the rug I love and this is the broom/sweeper I use on a daily basis: A regular broom is just all kinds of inadequate when it comes to a wood floors. 

Initially I had some squeaks because I chose to put the planks tightly together, a year later there are NO squeaks however now there is a tiny gap between each of the planks which is what I expected. With the changing in seasons (and I’ve got major changes because I live in northern Minnesota) wood is going to swell and move.

Because of the tiny gaps now in a couple of places you can see between the planks and I’ve gone back and added a little stain in those areas. If there ever comes a time that one plank gets irreparably damaged I could always just replace it but, so far, I’ve had no major accidents (knock on wood) and all of the scratches I’ve created have disappeared after being walked on after a few days meaning: they were only superficial and my sealant is doing its job!

After 2 years I would still recommend this wood floor to anyone!

And now, after nearly 8 years, we’re still happy with it too!

How to install an inexpensive wood floor that looks like an expensive hardwood floor for cheap, pine, do it yourself, wood working, diy, tutorial, tipsHow to install an inexpensive wood floor at Grandmas house diy. Tips and tutorials to lay down a pine floor for under $300, wood working do it yourself. Pine 1x4 floor stained with dark walnut by minwax, easy to lay down yourself and looks beautiful!


  1. kddomingue
    March 9, 2016 at 6:47 am

    These look fabulous! We went with a laminated wood plank floor…..and I hate it. It would have saved me a pretty penny to go your route but the husband didn’t want to. Sigh. Wish I had bargued longer.

    • March 9, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      I’m sorry to hear that! It felt like a little bit of an experiment (and they are by no means perfect) but so far we’re really happy with them and we always figured the cost was so little in comparison that if somehow they didn’t work out we wouldn’t be out a lot. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Tessa
    March 25, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    I think i am going to try this in a home we just bought. When you put the floor down did you seal put anything between the boards, like a sealer? Or did you just seal it over the top? I keep thinking of dirt being trapped in-between the boards.

    The floor looks beautiful

    • March 29, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Tessa, with our changes in temperature and climate this far north (MN) we have definitely see the gaps between the boards get bigger with the seasons and, yes, dust definitely gets trapped beneath them. To help minimize this I would have glued them down as well as nailed them down, I think that would have helped a lot when it came to their movement depending on the humidity etc. Also, bring the boards in for a good month before you nail them down. Otherwise there will be movement just because its wood and there isn’t much that can be done about it 🙂 But that kind of adds to their character. I have read that sealing all sides of the boards will help with that too, but we only sealed the top. Great inexpensive floor!

  3. Emily Facio
    April 25, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I love these floors and this idea! I am about to lay some wood floors down on concrete and sub wood flooring. I was wondering how I would put these on the concrete floors? Would I glue them down?


    • April 25, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Well they do make “guns” that shoot nails into concrete, they’re loud but they do work, so that’s something you might want to keep in mind. However, the glues today are pretty hard core and would probably be enough but I would warn you if you are only going to use glue to make sure that those concrete floors are at least clean enough to eat off of!

    • Michelle
      December 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      Hi-I’m in your situation. I love how this project turned out, but have a concrete slab. Did you end up gluing down the boards, if you did this project? Hoping to learn a little more before tackling this project. Thank you!

      • December 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

        Hi Michelle, we just brad nailed the boards down on to the wood sub floor. I think this would work fine gluing the boards over concrete as long as your concrete slab is completely dry. I know they make roll on sealers specifically for concrete that you would put on like paint they also make vapor barrier rolls that you would glue down and then glue your wood over. Good luck with your project!

  4. June 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    This floor looks amazing! I am so impressed! I’m not sure I could do it. 🙂

    • June 22, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you Leigh! It was really simple with the two of us working at it!

  5. Olivia Kundisch
    July 3, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Hello There,
    the floor looks faboulos.I just wanted to ask which exact color & brand of poly acrylic finish you guys have used?
    I am german, so I won’t find the exact same products probatly here anyway but I really don’t know which color to buy
    to have a beuatiful floor liek yours. Thank you so much for this amazing inspiration here.

  6. July 8, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Oh my gosh! They’re too gorgeous! I want to do this sooo bad. We have wood in our kitchen and that’s it. Everywhere else is gross carpeting and unfortunately no wood underneath 🙁 I know we could do it but, still intimidated I guess.

    • July 9, 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Hey Angie! It really wasn’t very hard, pretty simple project all told, but you could always start with one room (maybe an extra bedroom you don’t use often) to start and see how it goes! 🙂

  7. Rebecca
    July 16, 2016 at 1:57 am

    Hi! We have been contemplating the plywood floor route and find ourselves in the same predicament of not having a table saw to cut the plywood. I did a quick search for 6″ pine boards and didn’t find anything for under $4 :(. I know Lowes probably isn’t the cheapest place to look. Any suggestions for other types of outlets? I know there may be regional differences, but figure it can’t hurt to ask!

    • July 16, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      Hi Rebecca! We did the entire floor with 1x4s that we got on sale at a Menards store. We chose to go with the lesser quality 1x4s that we picked through (because they can be really rough!) Hope that helps!

  8. Joanna
    August 14, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    This is in response to Emily Fasio. When laying a wood floor on concrete you must use an underlayment. Concrete never truly dries and depending where you live it could be a real desaster. If you are wanting to nail the floor like they did then you would need to put a wood subfloor down and then nail the floor to that. If you are going to float the floor like engendered wood then you use an underlayment made for that purpose. NEVER glue solid wood to concrete. I hope this is helpful and gets back to Emily.

  9. August 30, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Absolutely gorgeous. What a smarty pants idea.

    Sarah @ Gypsy Girl Revivals

  10. Kathy Puerling
    September 7, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Looks great. Are the brads enough for installing flooring? How well is it holding up now that it has been in use for several months

    • September 7, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Hey Kathy, its been over a year now and we have had no problems at all. It has shrunk at tad, so where there was no gap when we laid it now there is a very tiny gap between the boards, its a little annoying when we sweep but now it actually looks more original to the house 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  11. cristy mcmaster
    September 13, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    I have been planning to do this on my concrete floors. I have done a lot of research. The floor does have to be clean and free of dips from carpet strips etc. I was planning on having lowes cut 4×8 foot plywood into 8 inch strips. My house is almost 3000 sq ft. Whats great Is I can do 1 room at a time.
    The tutorial I watched was wood Directly on concrete flooring with NO subloor. However, they did a test on the concrete to make sure that the concrete was dry enough for this application. They put a good glue down that was for flooring that would also act as a rubber type barrier. They snugged the boards together with one another. I’ve also seen where people will put a quarter between each row to allow for expansion.
    I hadn’t considered a 1×4 but, I may now. I guess it would come down to whats more cost effective. I’m remodeling a 1970s house. So far we’ve scrapped ceilings, painted the whole inside of the house. Turned a dining room into a bedroom. We’re planning on knocking down that 70″s wall that is in the entry. We plan on knocking out a few walls and will need to re route some hvac. I have a workshop behind the kitchen that I’m turning in to a butler pantry. The kitchen is a gut job I plan on doing myself. Even building the cabinets. It’ll be a labor of love. Can wait to finish.

    • September 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Hey Cristy, yup I have seen them glue wood down straight on concrete floors but moisture is always a concern. It seems like a moisture barrier of some kind would be inexpensive enough and guarantee the wood floors stay nice for many years! We got a good deal on the 1×4 and because of the size of the room we got 12 footers so the spanned the entire width so that also helped in keeping them in place etc. I love the look of plywood for a floor too and I think that would have been even prettier (depending on the plywood you chose) though cost wise I think plywood might be more expensive though that would all just depend on where you get it I guess. I wish you so much good luck on your project!!

  12. Dorothy Mushinski
    October 6, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    Is it possible to do this on a concrete foundation?

    • October 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Hi Dorothy I believe it is possible to glue wood down on to a concrete floor but you must first be sure that the concrete is dry enough or the wood will eventually deteriorate. I know they have testers that you can buy and/or rent to find out the moisture of the concrete. I would think if it is a very old concrete floor and if there has never been any flooding you would probably be all right.

    • Kenny Kyle
      October 14, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Dorothy, yes you can put this on a concrete floor but there are some things you need to make sure of. You will need to make sure your floor is level, meaning no dips or high spots in the concrete. If so get some leveling mix and make the floor level. You should use a vapor barrier of some sort which would mean you will have to make your floor a floating floor. You can glue it straight to the concrete but you MUST make sure the moisture level of the floor is at it’s lowest degree. Then you can put it down with a commercial grade glue for flooring. If you put the flooring down with moisture in the concrete your floor will pull away from the concrete and buckle and that’s when it gets real fun having to rip up the floor to lay new, because while the wet area will just pull away the other part of the floor won’t it will splinter some will stay on the concrete. But good luck with that.

  13. Dave
    December 12, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Wow. Looks great and I think I’m going to try it! What colour of stain and what kind of sealant did you use?

    • December 12, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Hi Dave, I used Dark walnut stain by Minwax and a satin Poly acyrlic by minwax (3 coats). Good luck on your own project, over a year later and we are still very happy with our floors! I think I’ll probably plan to do a thorough cleaning and then a fresh coat of poly in a couple more years.

  14. Cheryl
    December 20, 2016 at 2:25 am

    Hey , I have a tip for you that we learned from a person who had put in floors for a leaving. For gaps: he mixes sawdust from the same wood, wood glue and the same stain. I don’t know measurements but it really works!

    • December 20, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      I’ve seen that too! What a great tip!

  15. Kayla
    December 23, 2016 at 1:32 am

    I’m actually about to do this same thing. I was going to use screws, stain, and poly the top to seal it. I’m thinking about just nailing it, but I’m curious if the screws would actually be better and hold the planks down better?

    • December 23, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Hi Kayla! Yes, screws would definitely hold better and, if you use glue too, those planks would never move. The reason we decided on nails was because with their tiny heads they all but disappeared and I didn’t want to have to fill in a thousand screws holes lol.

  16. Leanne
    January 10, 2017 at 4:30 am

    Have an old farm house, built in 1760 with what I affectionately refer to as roller coaster floors. Because of the undulating rises and dips as you walk around the 500 sq ft kitchen. The painted plywood subfloor I walk on now is tragic at best and is beginning to separate a few of its layers now, after who knows how many years of use before hubby and I arrived 5 years ago. And this could be what I have been looking for. I do wonder if you have any thoughts on how my crazy uneven floor would accommodate this. im worried those dips could create a bouncy problem. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

    • January 10, 2017 at 3:59 pm

      Hey Leanne, you could always just go right over top with a lot of glue between the new wood and the uneven floors underneath (and a lot of nails) your floors would still be unlevel, but it would help a lot. If you’re looking for perfection I know they make floor leveling compounds in situations like yours that can now go over wood sub floors – initially they were made to go over concrete (and made out of concrete) but now they make them out of synthetic materials that dry flexible so they won’t crack or break and then you would glue your new wood over that. I would love to see your old home!! (There is always the hard core option too which would be to totally rip out the floor down to the joists which you would then sister with new floors joists that are level, then put your new wood over those.)

  17. Tricia
    January 28, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    The floor is beautiful. I’m just wondering how the new floor looks up against the existing floor? I really want to tear out our ugly blue ceramic tile in the kitchen and replace it with wood. We have old solid hardwood in the hallway leading to the kitchen and I don’t think installing that in the kitchen is going to work in our budget. I’m hoping this is an option.

    • January 30, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Hi Tricia! We have ancient solid hardwood in the kitchen that buts right out to this floor in our entryway/dining room. We sanded this new floor right along with the old hardwoods and then stained and finished them together. Check out the following two links – they’ll give you a much better idea of our everything looks in comparison. (to see the staining process) (to catch a couple of glimpses of the floors side by side)
      There is definitely a difference between them as the wood is a totally different kind and the new floors did end up with tiny gaps between them. There is also a slight color difference which is basically impossible to avoid as the older wood was aged and stained not to mention a different kind. However, because they were stained with the same stain it just isn’t something anyone ever noticed. We have hardwood throughout so it really feels like one just flows to the other. I hope that helps, thanks for coming by!

  18. Kasey
    February 21, 2017 at 2:53 am

    I am remodeling an old house. My concern is how loud is the wood floors. Can you hear everything? We are on pier and beam and I have 2 girls so you know what that means, lots of running and playing.

    • February 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm

      Hey Kasey, well carpet will always be much quieter then anything else you can put down. Many wood floors now are laid over a thin “pad” to help cut down on that noise so that’s something to consider. I will say our wood floors are still MUCH quieter then say tile on concrete as wood is a much softer surface 🙂

  19. Beth
    March 16, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    I have seen this on pinterest a million times and keep going back over it. I have Great Danes and they are rough on the floor. I have 1925 craftsman style home and just being divorced I have finally gotten the house to myself. My ex-husband was an ok guy but always took shortcuts on fixing or repairing things. I have been begging to do the floors for years and now I finally can. I have a couple of main flooring boards on the original floors that need to be replaced first but I want to do this so badly. I’m starting to save now to be able to complete this project by the end of summer! Thank you for reassuring me that I can and will be able to do this and have the look that I am going for.

    • March 16, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Beth, oh I hope it works out for you as well as it did for us! We’ll definitely be getting dogs again – I lost my big Mastiff about a year ago but he happily romped over these floors all the time and never left a mark. Good luck on your project!!

  20. shona
    March 28, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Hey they are beautiful,,I am in process of thinking how to put a cheap wood floor down also..I thought sanded pallet boards..but you said you didn’t use spacers. A contractor did that to ours and it started bulking..hopefully your climate is different than mine lol. I also see you didn’t zig zag the boards…..that is the fastest way and probably how I am going to put some down

    • March 28, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      Hey Shona, we definitely didn’t do this “by-the-book” we wanted the boards to run from one end of the room to the other so we didn’t have to make many cuts and we also didn’t glue it down. In our experience (with our northern MN climate) we’ve always had the issue with our boards shrinking (probably due to our incredible winter dryness) and that is exactly what this floor did. When we laid it we had absolutely no gaps and now we have slight gaps between most of the boards. It doesn’t bother us but some folks might not like that. The best way to avoid that would be to bring your wood into your home and let is acclimate for at least a month or two (I’ve read over a year would be best) before laying the floor. Thanks for commenting!!

  21. April 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks for all the details. Many people who want to install a wood floor look exclusively at oak and other hardwoods, but softwoods such as pine are usually less expensive. It’s true that pine dents more easily than oak, and that’s why it’s not the best choice for every room. But if you believe that a few dents and dings simply add character to a wood floor, then pine flooring is a great option.

    • April 7, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks for coming by and commenting!

  22. Peyton
    May 2, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    Can I do this with a concrete base I have cheap flooring in and it pills up and with kids it’s not holding up and it’s less than a-year-old

    • May 2, 2017 at 4:28 pm

      Hey Peyton, with concrete you always have to watch and be careful with moisture that might damage the wood. I would glue down a vapor barrier and then glue the wood down on top of that. Thanks!

  23. June 20, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I love the hard wood flooring you did. You did a great job on everything. Keep it up.

  24. Amy Stufflebeam
    July 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Your floor is absolutely beautiful!!! I was wondering what brand and color of stain that you used?

    • July 3, 2017 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you so much Amy! The stain is Dark Walnut by Minwax 🙂

  25. Laure
    July 27, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    I am in the process of doing a floor like this with 1×6 pine boards. I stained all the boards and them dry brushed them with white paint. The room in 11×13 so I either have to cut a 12 foot board to make it 11 or add a piece to a 12 footer to make 13. Should the boards run the length of the room or the width? Also, what did you seal yours with? Any problems with splintering over time?

    Thank you.

    • July 27, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      Hi Laure! Our room was 11 by something much longer then that so I chose to cut the 12 foot boards down to 11 so I wouldn’t have to piece it in. Now it really depends on how you want it to look I don’t believe there is any right or wrong way on which direction you run your boards. I chose to run mine like I did so the boards would run the span of the room, figured that would be faster and easier. I finished them with two coats of poly acrylic. No problems with splintering so far but I put mine down unfinished and used a big floor sander over it before staining them. Hope that helps, good luck!

  26. August 23, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    I have begged my husband to do this for a few years now! Your floor is beautiful! I’m showing him this post. Are you still happy with your floor? Any issues that have come up?

    • August 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Connie, its been over 2 years now and we are still happy with our floor 🙂 We’re very glad we didn’t put gaps between the boards because, over time, they did shrink a little, so there are some tiny gaps now which doesn’t bother us. It is wearing really well but in the high traffic areas I wish I had put two coats of poly acrylic down so we’re planning on probably doing a couple more coats next year!

  27. October 14, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    We are thinking of buying a house trailer we have never done work like this and it will have to have a gut job and redone. I am very good with remodel and a fab interior decoratetor however my husband will not be able to help a lot have a son who can help , in your opinion do you think I can get this done? I can pay for some help what would be the best to get help with?

    • October 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Hi Joann, where there is a will there is always a way. 🙂

  28. M
    October 26, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Did you have to sand these before or after installation?

    • October 26, 2017 at 1:35 pm

      Hi M, we sanded them after when we sanded all of the floors in the house! Thanks!

  29. Ginger
    May 8, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Any ideas on how to adhere the wood to a concrete floor? A ton of Liquid nails doesnt seem quite adequate.

    • May 9, 2018 at 8:50 am

      Hi Ginger, I’m thinking what I would do is purchase thin plywood to cover the concrete floor with. Then you could use concrete anchors to “nail” the plywood down. Then you could lay the wood floor over that using brads and glue. Hope that helps!

  30. Paul Johnson
    July 4, 2018 at 10:51 am

    Where did you find wood this inexpensive? I have had no luck here in Indiana getting close to what you did.. Thanks..Looks awesone btw 😉

    • July 5, 2018 at 8:22 am

      Hey Paul, actually it was a local sawmill WAAAAAYYY out in the boonies is where I purchased them. I couldn’t believe both the quality and the price. It is also where I purchased the beams for my home. It is an interesting lesson I learned as I always assumed Home Depot, Menards etc. would always just be a better deal than any of my local places and that is true for just about everything but not timber lol.

  31. judy
    August 14, 2018 at 6:31 am

    starting life over again for the third time, two bad marriages and am now 70 years young and feel like 40. Even though I can no longer work at floor level or run my own power tools this floor is exactly what I have been looking for. Moving from 2,000 sq. ft. home in SC to a 900 sq. ft. old barn with the chance to gut barn completely I expect to have these floors in every room, excluding the bath.
    Doing this in Indiana I have considered heated concrete floor. How would this work? would it be better for the wood and keep everything dry? Less shrinking? envy your talent and hard work.
    You may have just made me the happiest old lady to live in a barn. Primitive home with REAL wood floors I can afford. Truly love your sharing Thank you soooo much.

    • August 14, 2018 at 9:20 am

      Hi Judy, I am so excited about your new home! I have seen people putting down wood floors now over concrete and what they do is put down a vapor barrier first (kinda fabric like thin plastic) and then they tack plywood over that right down to the concrete. And then they lay whatever wood flooring they like over that! Like with any other wood floor that would work great for this wood floor too.
      Good like on your new adventure!

  32. January 15, 2019 at 11:28 am

    These pictures do look like a million dollars! Cannot wait to take care of my own flooring installation at home. I’ve been checking out flooring companies in the bay area but I have also been flirting with the idea of taking care of it myself.

    • January 15, 2019 at 11:39 am

      Hi Billy, that floor is nearly four years old now and I’ll be putting up another post all about how its held up etc. I am still REALLY happy with it!

  33. January 20, 2019 at 9:36 am

    I’m a floor manufacturer and I love your whole approach that A floor is a floor because you walk on it!”. Bravo.
    An even cheaper floor for you: just nail down good air dried lumber from your local sawmill..big wide planks if you like, Ali them down using decorative nails like cheap concrete square head nails, or your nailer: rent a floor sander and sand/fill/sand/ stain/ and then do not poly!! Use good old linseed oil! Cheap as cooking oil and great for your wood. Same as rung oil at the molecular level.
    We sell kiln dried wide plank lumber. We have kiln dried, tribally harvested, REAL SOLID PINE FLOORS for as cheap as $1 per sf for factory seconds or $2.15 for number ones. 5” or 7” planks. Cheap shipping to your door.
    We could get you those plain planks too
    Great site! Down with Foreign job killing floors!! David.

    • January 22, 2019 at 9:43 am

      Thanks David!!! Those were some amazing tips, I never considered an oil for my floors, have a great week!

  34. Charlotte
    March 31, 2019 at 3:12 pm

    what was the floor like prior to installation? I have an old farmhouse and a back porch conversion I want new “old” floors in but don’t feel like ripping it down to bare beams and subfloor

    • April 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

      Hi Charlotte the “sub floor” was 100 year old tongue and groove pine (or at least as close to tongue and groove pine as they had back then which means it was more of a shiplap.) I would have kept it as it was but the step difference between my entry and kitchen was just too much. I just put the new boards right over the old.

  35. Rebecca
    September 15, 2019 at 11:17 pm

    Hello, love this project and seems like something I would like to give a go at. My question is since it is pine wood and is soft do you have problems with dents on your floor? Also I have sub wood floor and would like to put down padding so I’m assuming I just use the nail gun to place wood over the padding? Have u any suggestions to prevent the gapping between boards other than acclimate the wood? Thank you

    • September 17, 2019 at 9:03 am

      Hi Rebecca, I’m sorry to say the dents are what they are and there isn’t a lot that can be done about it simply because pine is just such a soft wood. If you use a polyurethane instead of a polycrylic it would probably provide a harder and more durable surface. Padding would be just fine just tack the wood over top of it but besides acclimating the wood for a few months in the environment before putting it down I don’t know of any way to avoid the gaps. Hope that helps, good luck!

  36. John Platten
    May 12, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    I have a 40-year-old pole barn with really nice smooth concrete floors that are very very dry. Unfortunately they are very very cold and I want to put hardwood on them. It’s a barn, it’s not supposed to be perfect so I love this idea. Anybody, can I just glue and nail down one by six pine boards and then stain or oil them? What kind ofNails does a person use to go through 1 inch boards and straight into concrete?

    Thanks this is a really cool site

    • May 13, 2020 at 11:08 am

      Hi John, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. You can rent a concrete nailer at just about any hardware store, you’ll have to be specific on the strength you want because it will blow a nail right through the wood otherwise. But it should work fine!

  37. Emanuele
    June 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm

    Just questioning why you didn’t refill the original floors? Sorry I’m a lover of all things old and original!

    • June 10, 2020 at 8:32 am

      Hi there, the “original” floors were very water damaged pine. I considered trying to patch them etc. but the plywood that had been nailed to them, once that was up, also did its fair amount of damage. I saved the floors in the rest of the home except here though 🙂

  38. dara
    July 4, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    hey there! this is so cool! im thinking of buying a house with laminate floor and vinyl flooring… do you think this can just go right over it? does everything need to come up first? thanks!

    • July 7, 2020 at 9:31 am

      Hi Dara, as long as your initial flooring is well put down you should be able to go right over it with wood!

  39. September 26, 2020 at 10:32 am

    you are just as pretty as anything i have ever seen in my 80 too! If i were a little younger i would chase you around that farmhouse cause you are a keeper young lady. your ex must have regrets. You keep helping people and it will come back to you in bunches!!! I have hooked my great grand daughter up with this site of yours cause she is remodeling the farm house that I was born in And my mama before me as well. Poor people have poor ways BUT THOSE THAT SHARE ARE REALLY NEVER POOR. GOD BLESS YOU

    • September 28, 2020 at 9:30 am

      Thanks Albert, tell your great grand daughter good luck for me! Its always wonderful to hear the old places getting saved and remodeled!

  40. Charlie Morgan
    October 13, 2020 at 9:49 pm

    Hi… great looking floors. Three questions which I didn’t find answers for(sorry if you’ve answered these already) 1) were these laid perpendicular to the joists or parallel? Does it matter? And 2) did you use an underlayer– what kind. 3) was your subfloor just 3/4″ plywood, and does that matter? (Ours is plywood but I’m not sure of its thickness.

    Many thanks, Charlie

    • October 14, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Hi Charlie, yes I put 3/4″ plywood over the joists/subfloor and then tacked the new wood floor directly down to that using brad nails. I think it would be fine to put the new floor right down onto the joists but, depending on whether there is basement or a pear and beam foundation under that I really wouldn’t recommend it. Plywood will give you sturdiest floor possible. Thanks!

  41. Sherri
    October 22, 2020 at 5:17 pm

    Hey I was wondering what stain brand and color you used – your floors are Gorgeous and we will be putting them down in our home. I will follow up with the results we get : )

    • October 23, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Sherri I used minwax dark walnut stain which is always my go to. Good luck, we’re still happy with our floors five years later!

  42. Jim Rains
    November 29, 2020 at 6:53 pm

    I like it ! did the same thing but I didn’t stain it .

  43. Maggie Vita
    January 24, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    This looks fabulous! I’m going to try it in my kitchen which is currently tile and butts up to wood laminate flooring. Not a huge space so should be very manageable for me and my sig other/helper. Thanks for posting and inspiring me!

    • January 25, 2021 at 9:23 am

      Thanks Maggie, we still love our wood floors we did so long ago!

  44. May 6, 2021 at 9:22 pm

    The floor looks amazing! Did you drive in each nailhead with a nail set before sanding?

    • May 7, 2021 at 9:45 am

      Hi Kevin, thank you! I set our air compressor pretty high so the brads were driven well deep into the wood so they weren’t a problem, thanks!

  45. Gabriel
    September 2, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Hi Tarahlynn, I am so happy I found your site. Have been trying to help a friend whose budget collapsed in the pandemia, and needed to change the flooring at her place. She is thrilled with this idea and will start tomorrow. Many thanks from South America!

    • September 3, 2021 at 9:58 am

      OMG That is awesome, I so hope she likes it as much as we still do!

  46. September 23, 2021 at 10:33 pm

    I realize this is an old article but I just found it and I hope you can answer a question for me. First, I just remodeled my kitchen and used fake hardwood floor, it’s just tile strips with tongue and groove. I wish I had just thought of the simple search that brought me here, “Cheap DIY Hardwood Floors.” Anyway, I knew there had to be a way to make an inexpensive, or relatively inexpensive, hardwood floor, I thought of the oak plywood too but I’ve also thought about buying 3/4″ or 1″ solid oak and using my bandsaw to resaw them into 1/4″ or 3/8″ strips and applying them to pine like you did.

    My problem is that I’m a paraplegic, I use a manual chair but I also use a heavy power wheelchair and I’m concerned with the plywood not standing up to the “abuse” a power chair can do, the weight, spinning tires when I get stuck on sliding door frames, I’ve pealed the surface off linoleum in a few spots in my kitchen and bathrooms. I’m also concerned with the torque applied to the floor breaking the plywood loose as well as the pine strips. Do you think your floor would hold up to something like my power chair.

    I understand you can’t make any guarantees and without knowing anything about power wheelchairs, mine weight about 600lbs, almost 800lbs with my fat butt in it. LOL I’m not really concerned with the weight alone but the weight combined with rubber wheels applying torque could shift the boards especially over time. I own a modular home so they’re made with the cheapest crap you could imagine, crap that, when I was doing new home construction and then remodeling homes, I would NEVER IMAGINE using. The floors have been replaced, at least large portions, due to water damage. For instance, I had a water pipe leak for ONE DAY but it was enough to SERIOUSLY WARP about 10’sq of flooring in my kitchen.

    Luckily I was planning on a remodel before it happened so it wasn’t a big deal. My problem is that it was only leaking for one day and the “wood” soaked up enough water to completely warp, there were rolling spots about 1″ high. The subfloors are made of “wood”, I use that word VERY LOOSLY because it’s closer to cardboard than wood,it’s not particle board or even OSB, it may be considered OSB but it looks like sawdust pressed together, NOT the strips like particle board, this crap is like a sponge. I’ve replaced much of the subfloor with 3/4″ plywood, like it SHOULD have been from the start.

    I had a slider that used to retain moisture between the glass panes, it leaked down into the floor and rotted it completely before the house was 15yrs old. My daughter sat on the toilet one day and the whole thing, with her on it, fell through the floor and it didn’t just “sink in” it fell all the way to the concrete pad the house sits on. My wife bought this with her moron of an ex-husband, I’d NEVER buy a house on land someone else owns like this “trailer park” but the house is paid off so we want to fix it up, sell it and move to a home with a few acres.

    I’m sorry, I know I’m rather “long winded”, my son told me I had to stop texting him at work because he didn’t have time to read them, reply AND eat lunch. LOL Like I said, I’m a paraplegic but I’m also a combat Veteran so I have some help from church groups, Vet help organizations but I’m doing as much of the remodeling work as I can myself. My power chair has a feature that raises me up to eye level so I can reach higher than in my manual chair but still not to the ceiling, between my wife, my son and friends we’ll get the boards to the ceiling.

    I build furniture, do lathe crafts, scroll saw projects, I turned my 12’x12′ shed into a really nice wood shop, I have a 36″ RBI Hawk scroll saw, a 14″ Grizzly bandsaw, a table saw, belt/disc sander, 13″ planer, router tables, drill presses, midi-lathe and all the power tools and hand tools I need……just not all I want…..although I tell my wife I “NEED” ’em. My point is, if you have any suggestions I’m sure I have the ability and the tools to do it. Thanks for this article, it helped give me a whole new perspective and ideas about what I can do to my floor. This modular just isn’t worth paying for an actual hardwood floor but I think it’s worth the $1000 to $2000 it should cost to do a floor like yours. It may even be worth pulling up my brand new kitchen flooring and replacing it with “fake” hardwood flooring.

    • September 24, 2021 at 11:10 am

      Hi Tom! First thank you for your service! As far as our flooring goes I am immediately concerned the pine just won’t hold up very long under the weight of your chair. I think, eventually, because its such a soft wood, you’re going to start seeing grooves in it. That being said though it may last quite a while and look pretty good during that time. I would suggest a satin finish though as a high gloss will wear off really quickly and that would be pretty noticeable. We actually put out a post here on the blog on “updates” on how our floor has held up over the years. You can see it here:
      That will give you a much better idea from your experience on how the floor will hold up for you. We have dining room chairs with “nubin” feet that have left little indents everywhere. Its certainly not noticeable but its totally there. A harder wood (like oak as you mentioned) would stand up MUCH better but with the currently crazy costs of lumber you might go over budget… Calling a sawmill (as opposed to a lumber yard) might be your ticket for getting hardwood at a much better cost though you will probably need to sand it and finish it etc.
      I know exactly the “particle board” you’re talking about and what a COMPLETE nightmare. Whoever decided to cut costs and use that saw dust crap for flooring was completely out of there minds! You’re right, its just like a sponge! I ran into here at our place and in a place I remodeled years ago and had to replace ALL of it.

      Good luck Tom I would love to hear a progress report on what you decide to do!

  47. Chanteal
    September 29, 2022 at 2:17 am

    Looks beautiful!! Would you recommend a water barrier for a crazy busy family, with kids and pets? Also, I love your color choice for the stain. What color and brand of stain did you use?

    • September 29, 2022 at 12:02 pm

      Hi Chanteal, a water barrier is always a good idea and would help cut down on squeaking too! The stain is Dark Walnut by Minwax, here’s a link to it 🙂

  48. October 31, 2023 at 12:36 am

    I am happy how you save money and are resourceful. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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