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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just read a really neat article about someone putting 1/4" plywood down on their subfloor, routing "boards" into it, and painting/varnishing the heck out of it and it looked like a really cool old plank floor. Until I can afford REAL flooring, I'd like to do something like that. I have OSB subfloors, or I'd just rout my subfloor.

I just priced it at my local big-box store. 1/4" ply is $13 a sheet right now. Luaun is $9. The luaun says "sanded hardwood top". Does that mean the luaun is hardwood and will hold up longer?? I'd like to rout the board outlines, and then used different hues of stains on each board to make it appear more like planking. Then clear poly over the top - several times.

Do you think the luaun would work????
 

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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
http://davesgarden.com/community/forums/t/699875/

But also google "faux plank floors" and you'll get more. This was the article that showed routing the lines.

Ronbre, not according to the store. And they don't look the same. The luan (I spelled it wrong evidently...and so did the store!) looks a lot thinner and very smooth and slick. The plywood looks like pine ...plywood. Odd...
 

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Luan is an laminate underlayment product designed to be very stable (read little expansion/contraction) with a minimum of one side smooth and sanded to lay vinyl or other flooring material over. It has no structural strength like plywood does. IIRC luan is usually made of mahogany and tends to splinter easily when you are working with it (like routing your board lines). I would probably not use it for this project.
 

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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ah. And this particular luan said NOT to be used as underlayment, so probably isn't much good. Actually, what WOULD you use it for?

I suppose I can use pine plywood. Was just thinking that the luan was prettier and possibly stronger (if it was a hardwood). Thanks for your input!
 

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I think this sounds like a great idea for people on a budget! I may steal your idea, lol. :)

If I remember correctly, luan is what they use to face cabinets and/or furniture. You use cheap plywood or even 2 x 4's and build the basic unit, then cover it with the nicer looking luan that takes a stain really well and makes it look like a higher-end product than just the cheap plywood. However, as T-Bone said, it's very thin and usually mahogany (or at least that's what I was told) and will splinter very easily. The woodworker who told me all this said when he cuts luan he tapes over the cutting line and then cuts through the tape to keep it from splitting, then peels the tape off afterwards.

Hopefully, some real woodworkers will post on this and give you more information.
 

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Luan is not made to be used for the application you are describing, it is only an 1/8 in thick, it is very brittle & will almost certainly not hold up to routing, it is good for such things as under a kitchen floor which is going to be covered with linoleum
It is very smooth & will work good for cabinet's but it will leave corners that need attention as it is a form of plywood,
stick with the 1/4 inch plywood even though it is a few dollars more in price it will do the job much better.
 

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I've got a plywood floor, they don't hold up well. Even with epoxy on them they don't hold up well. I'm going to have to replace it soon.

Luann is a 3 ply plywood. The outer layers are thin veneres. The inner layer is low grade wood, often times with hollow sections. Luann is often times used as an underlayment for laminate flooring. It is quite usefull for non-critical or non-structural applications. Biggest claim to faim is its cheap.
 

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You can buy plywood that is "good one side". It won't have the knot holes in ,if there are/were there is a ovalish peice put it's place. Have to go thru the stack and pick out the ones you like. I guess if in time you hate it , it could just be considered subfloor.
 

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Would there be enough wood to route with 1/4" plywood? I'd think to put any kind of grove into it you'd have to cut almost all the way through.
 

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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wondered about that, too. If I use a "V" router bit, I probably won't have to go too far. I was thinking I'd glue down the plywood, so if I DO rout too far, the board will still be fastened to the floor? I just didn't want a bunch of nail holes in the plywood -- defeats the purpose of looking like planks. I thought I'd take some sort of "punch" (maybe 3/8 or 1/2" pipe??) and make indentations at the end of each plank to look like dowel plugs, and puddle a little extra stain in those areas. Hopefully make it look more like planks.

Do you think glueing down the plywood rather than nailing it would work?? What kind of glue?
 

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I saw this post and the forever floor post. If what you really want is hardwood floors, I think I'd just paint the OSB and live with that for a while until you can afford what you want. All these cheapo floor ideas seem like they involve huge amounts of time and labor for something that's not what you really want anyway.
 

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Baroness of TisaWee Farm
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That's probably true. I'm just afraid that if I have to wait until I can afford hardwood, it might be a couple-three years. Do I want to live with painted OSB that long? My OSB is looking crappy now, too, because it got rained on so many times last summer before I got the roof on. I think it rained 5 days out of 7 the entire summer! I'll probably have to nail it down better and sand where it got feathery. I'm not too worried about the upstairs -- that was plywood and doesn't look bad, but the downstairs is about 900 square foot -- expensive to floor no matter how you look at it.
 

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Just so we're all on the same page- luan is a type of wood. The stuff they call luan at the big box stores is luan plywood. Plywood is laminated wood- it can be made from any species of wood, icluding luan. They do make thicker luan plywood, and better quality than the big box stores carry. I wouldn'y use the cheap stuff- it's too thin, and the face veneer is very very thin. If you ever sanded it, it would be gone in a flash.
 

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That's probably true. I'm just afraid that if I have to wait until I can afford hardwood, it might be a couple-three years. Do I want to live with painted OSB that long? My OSB is looking crappy now, too, because it got rained on so many times last summer before I got the roof on. I think it rained 5 days out of 7 the entire summer! I'll probably have to nail it down better and sand where it got feathery. I'm not too worried about the upstairs -- that was plywood and doesn't look bad, but the downstairs is about 900 square foot -- expensive to floor no matter how you look at it.
I think the asphault 'floor' would just be a mess to clean up & put something good back on. I can't see it standing up to one chair sliding across it, but maybe I don't understand. Just doesn't sound like it's doable. Lot of money wasted. You have to be careful walking on a roof to not hurt the shingles. I can't see a few coats of paint making it much different.

1/4 inch plywood is pretty flimsy, any routing on it will get into the middle layers, which often are full of knot holes. Or all the way through the 1/4 inch, and then what? You'd have to buy a good quality plywood, or it will have problems. The adhesive should work. I think again you are spending money on something you don't want, so seems a waste to me - save the money, buy a good floor when you can.

Luan - forget it.

I can see doing one room if you don't want to live on particle board, but why do the whole level?

Save your money for what you want - you will get there a lot quicker. Buying stuff for now, to replace later - seems a waste of money & time. You want a good house 5 years from now, best way by far is to focus on doing whatever you do best & right & finished the fist time you do it.

--->Paul
 

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I have always seen it spelled "Luaun".
This is where things get a little silly: Luaun is a species of tropical hardwood, but luan is the generic term for 3-ply plywood made from almost any species of tropical hardwood.

If luan plywood is rated as underlayment, it isn't supposed to have any voids in its core. But, the only way to be sure is to buy from a reputable supplier and pay the going rate for that quality or rip a sheet into strips to make sure it is solid.

Luan is no longer recommended by some laminate sheet flooring (aka vinyl) companies because the edges of the sheets can show through the finished floor.

As others have written, the finish layer of luan is thin. It's also fairly porous. It might need to be filled/sealed before you try to put a finish on it.

Also, luan sheets can be fairly soft, depending on what type of wood is used for the core.
 

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What ever you do, if you decide to use luan, wear a dust mask. It can be VERY toxic to some individuals. Some kinds of wood dust can make some people very sick. (Walnut dust can also make some people sick.)

Just a thought,
Dan
 
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