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Hey all,

SWMBO and I have a space in our house that we're looking to turn into a fun bar/entertaining/game room, and we're planning on going with some cheap, nontraditional flooring. Something unique, that we can have fun with, and rip up in a few years when we turn it into a more formal dining room.

I'm trying to sell her on the idea of using plywood, cut into wide planks, or perhaps some unique shape, and painted/stained in a fun way. The resources I've found online typically say that I need to space the planks by ~1/16" for when the wood expands. This makes sense on the surface, but after thinking about it, I'd like your advice.

Plywood subfloor is not typically spaced between the sheets, and they are tightly fitted with tongue and groove joints, nailed and glued down. Plywood is typically very stable. Furthermore, standard hardwood is not gapped, and I would think it would be much more susceptible to warping.

Is it necessary to space the plywood by 1/16" between each plank? Would it be advantageous to route tongue and groove fittings in the plank, much like what you see with prefab hardwood floors? Has anyone played with plywood as a flooring option?
 

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I think the problem you will have with your plan is the flooring wouldn't be tongue and grooved. Then if you use a Chinese made plywood it may start delaminating on you before you get done with it. The plywood idea isn't so bad because a lot of flooring made today is essentially plywood anyway. Its just the outer layer of veneer is thicker than sheet plywood. If you could use 1/2" plywood and you have the means of running a tongue and groove joint it might work but machining it I don't know how you could make it accurate enough without a molder. Even a 1/32" off on the tongue and groove would look really bad.
 

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I've had plywood flooring in my workshop for 12 years now and have seen no problem. I didn't want cement. I dug out my workshop from under my barn so I have 3 layers of heavy plastic with a 2X4 pt frame under the tongue and groove plywood flooring. It's holding up fine.

I didn't need the plank look nor did I want to paint or finish it. The area can get very damp at times so I wanted the floor to breath.

You're correct about the movement - I have seen none of it. That doesn't mean there is no movement. I have open space on the perimeter. My living space have beautiful hardwood floors with no gaps between the boards. Understand that the t&g joints allow room for movement. Another point to be made is that all around the room walls, a comfortable space has been provided for wood movement. Although 1/16th inch might be OK around the outside perimeter, if you could allow yourself a bit more room (1/8 or 3/8), I'm sure you'll be OK.

I'm no expert here so if some one needs to disagree with my input - there will be no hard feelings. Please correct me and DRoyLenz. I'm still learning... yea! :thumbsup:
 

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I'd say about 15 years?....maybe 20?

That's how long floor grade plywood(subfloor) has been stamped,"sized for spacing".


Oh my goodness the fun the kids would have on the job when I'd get on a lecture about how this had not a GD thing to do with movement(well it did/does but what fun is that).......it had to do with plant managers turning up the speeds/feeds on their plywood making machines.

And how,when cranking up the feet per minute,their tolerances were headed out the window.......which "was" their criteria for the last 75 or so years.And how,folks think that moisture and it's effect was some how a modern problem?And we,as endusers will just have to put up with,out of sq plywood.

And once I had all them laughing at how duped the buying public is for buying into their(APA) "industry",B*****IT...would then provide a valuable lesson on how back in the day builders had to use handsaws to install subfloor.......you would then hear a pindrop.

The APA does a very good job......have used their technical services on more than one occasion.If you go to their website you should find some info,good luck.And for those still reading....Chinese ply is gone.Duties went from 8% to 73%.Anyone taking bets on what happens now?
 

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If it don't have APA stamped on it, don't buy it. APA regulates plywood specifications with their stamp on it. But sadly even this plywood is not up to plywood years ago.
A few thousandths of an inch difference in veneer thickness adds up to a lot more profit in plywood production. It does take a lot of trees to make plywood of quality. Quality grades means quality trees have to be used. This equals higher prices. And they never go down. Worked in a plywood plant for 30 years. Seen a lot of changes.
Few changes were for quality but most were for production. This is sad
 

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first thoughts, no. the edges of plywood tend to splinter too easily, not good on bare feet. but, with a few coats of a varnish it may be ok. as i was building my house, we had plywood (subfloor) floors for years until i got all the finished floors installed. had a few splinters. good luck, send a pic.
 

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I was just reading an article about shop floors in the new ShopNotes magazine #132. It's very informative and features dri-core flooring that has a button pattern plastic face to keep it dry when put over cement. Another product is Playton underlayment which comes in rolls you can layout under your plywood. Check it out... it might be your answer.

As a footnote - check out page 6 to see my submitted and published tip. It won me the router :yes:
 
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