inexpensive cabin flooring

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Unregistered-1427815803, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Anyone have any suggestions of what a low cost, "homestead" type flooring could be?
  2. jack_c-ville

    jack_c-ville Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    I have seen some pretty nice things done with plain old plywood subfloor. When my wife and I build next year, we are planning on screwing down subfloor then staining it and sealing it with polyurethane. That will look good and hold up just fine for a few years until we have the money to install higher-quality, permanant flooring.

    I've seen a checkerboard pattern with alternating panels of light and dark stain done to good effect.

    This probably makes sense only if you are using tongue and groove plywood subfloor. If you use butted panels, you need to leave 1/8" space between the panels to allow for the natural expansion and movement of the wood. Having those gaps open would not make for a satisfactory floor. The T&G subfloor costs a bit more than butted, but you only need one 3/4" layer of it to meet code (for those who care) as opposed to 2 layers for butted. Around here, one 4x8' panel of T&G subflooring costs about $23. That's less than $0.72 a square foot. Stain and poly will run you another $0.20 per foot at the most.

    Be sure to use plywood and not OSB, as the OSB will tend to unevenly soak up more stain.

  3. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

    May 14, 2002
    I think the answer to your question depends mainly upon what your sub-floor is. There are plenty of ways to dress up concrete, plywood, etc. If you have millable lumber on your place, pine or oak boards are nice, but educate on the proper techniques first. But if you don't have a sub-floor, you should probably get one.
  4. Saw a picture of a gorgeous floor made from sheets of masonite. It was sealed with polyurethane and looked like a cross between cork and stained concrete. Would depend on if you liked deep brown.
  5. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

    Oct 30, 2003
  6. The Earthship books have a description of how to make a dirt floor like a tile floor using linseed oil. You can mop it. Very inexpensive but more labor intensive.
  7. daeve

    daeve Well-Known Member

    Jan 24, 2003
    East Central Alabama
    The floor i am resting my tired feet on right now is nothing but dirt covered with 2 layers of 6 mill black plastic and then a layer of carpet (found that in front of an apartment complex where it was being thrown away) on top. The entire area to be covered needs to be dug up slightly (rototiller works fine if you have ample ventilation) and any rocks, roots, sticks and other objects that may puncture the plastic raked out. Level the area, then tamp with a 2x4 or 4x4 or 3 to 5 inch diameter pole untill it is all firm to walk on with no soft or springy spots. Fill in any low spots and tamp again. After it looks and walks level, lay down the plastic and then the carpet and move on in.
    More information on this can be found in "The $50 & Up Underground House" which you can get info and read reviews about at .

  8. Hughes

    Hughes Well-Known Member

    Dec 16, 2003
    My mom had plywood for a LONG time and it held up well.....some Amish friends have some sort of wood sheets coated with the urethane and it's very tidy looking (they keep their house extremely tidy), and looks easy to clean.

    Good luck!
  9. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    I saw a floor that used chipboard cut into about 4 foot squares and then each corner screwed into the base floor using countersunk screws. They were laid out like tile. Then the whole thing was polyurethaned/stained. Looked really nice.
  10. One friend of mine has a brick floor laid on sand and another friend used concrete pavers on sand. I prefer the brick one but both work.
  11. Pops Black

    Pops Black Member

    Feb 16, 2004
    I was a carpet layer in a previous life. This might be in order of cost, I’m guessing. These all presume you have a subfloor.

    I’ve seen carpets made from carpet samples seamed (or sewn) together. Ask the carpet store, they probably have a pile in the warehouse for free.

    Buy a few gallons of floor paint and then do a stenciled boarder, my wife did that to our service porch and it looked great.

    Go to the ritzy carpet store and tell the installation manager you’ll give a $100 reward (or whatever you can afford) to the installer who brings you the best carpet pulled from an existing house, you’d be amazed what people pull out. And by the way you’ll slip him a $20 too.

    I’ve also seem masonite, this one had the sheets cut in 4’ x 4’ squares the 2’’ strips laid between in a contrasting shade. (Not for slab on grade)

    I used wide #2 sugar pine in my first house, the soft kind that you use for shelves on the west coast, really pretty but not very rugged. (Not for slab on grade)

    Saltio Tile (sp) is fired clay with a rugged surface but cheap. Ditto for red clay tiles but a smooth finish

    The big home stores have really cheap faux-hardwood flooring nowadays - >$2sf. It’s never been near a forest (at least since the dinosaurs roamed) but its stable and passes for wood to most peoples eye. (I’m not sure if you can use this for slab on grade)

  12. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    i can get waste end pieces from a sawmill for 7 bucks a truckload.. not slabwood, rough sawn plank and board ends, a lot are 3' or more.
    invest in a surfacer, smooth of one side and joint the edges, and nail down like hardwood (which it is, oak maple and walnut) then coat it with urathane or just a ton of wax.

    I am going to do this on an outside deck I will post a pic when I finish it.
  13. simpleman

    simpleman Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2002
    Orlando the friendliest place on Earth
    If you take a dried tree trunk and remove all the branches and then slice it up like one would slice a stick of pepperoni, you could make a really attractive floor by laying the slices end to end. Fill in around them with quikcrete. Let is all cure and then sand it all smooth and cover it with a varnish or polyurethene paint. I know someone that made a beautiful patio in their back yard this way and it lasted for a long long time.