Creating a DIY Pallet Wood Floor With Free Wood

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About: Undoing everything a house flipper did.

It took some effort, it took some time, but in the end, we're super thrilled with it.

Step 1: Getting Started

Our pantry floor was a disaster. Or, the tiny scary purposeless room we turned into a pantry had this horrible cheap carpet in it. Hardly up to task. Stopping by a pallet recycler for another project, I discovered these cut block pieces. Slowly over time I amassed enough for the whole floor.

Step 2: Start of Installation

I picked up a roll of foam underlayment to add a layer of insulation as I'm 95% sure there is nothing but air under this floor. In hindsight, I could have rolled more than one layer, but, so it is.

Step 3: Re-placing Blocks

Next I moved the blocks back over the foam. Once all the blocks were back down, I borrowed a friend's compressor and nail gun, tacked all the blocks down.

Step 4: Figuring Out the Step

We have one small step leading into this room so I used some thinner smaller pieces I had collected to cover it.

Step 5: "Grouting"

Once everything was tacked down, it was time to "grout" the floor. I mixed up a creation of fine saw dust, gloss oil based polyurethane, and mineral spirits to thin. I won't lie, it was challenge getting it between the joints.

Step 6: Scraping, Unfortunately

The next day, the floor was a mess. I hadn't been as tidy with the grout as I had hoped and I ended up having to scrape the excess off the blocks. Sad face.

Step 7: Time to Polyurethane

The last step was two coats of the same oil based gloss polyurethane. I'll add a few more but at the time, it was all I had time for.

Step 8: Another View

The floor has held up very well. The temperature in this room doesn't fluctuate much so the wood hasn't gone all kitty-wampus. The majority of the wood was already well aged when I got it too, so it's been all good.

Step 9: Last Step: Enjoy

We're really enjoying this floor and it's perfect for our pantry. In the end, this project cost less than $100 for an approximately 100 sq. ft. room with all the wood being free.

If you're intrigued, come read all the details in my blog post here: http://humboldtartdept.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pantry-floor-is-done-done-done.html

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    86 Discussions

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    DADDYC.

    2 years ago

    Hi, can you/anyone tell me what the wood was nailed/secured down to besides the foam underlayment, I guess I'm asking foundation? My mother added a den (WITHOUT city permit) about 30 yrs ago (yes 30 yrs) & currently floor is rolls of fake tile look, so I'm not sure what's under. And any special screws or nails I would need? Thank you for any & all help.

    2 replies
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    HumboldtartdeptDADDYC.

    Reply 2 years ago

    Your best bet is to peel up some of the fake look tile and explore a bit to see what's under. There's likely either a wood subfloor or concrete but you'll need to find out for sure. If it's concrete, you'll have to put in a floating wood subfloor. In my case it was old porch floor boards and particle board so I was able to nail into it.

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    JeffA2

    2 years ago

    Pretty cool... And you've mentioned multiple times that you like the texture as-is. I think people need to respect that and stop suggesting that you sand it.

    For the sake of anyone else that does this though, I wanted to point out that you took a big chance by not removing the baseboards first, especially with this being an uninsulated floor (as you stated that you suspect it is...). By placing the wood right up against the baseboards, any expansion and contraction will result in the floor buckling. I know, I know, you already mentioned that it hasn't yet, and that's great. Basically though, you've gotten lucky so far... (Or, in this particular case, it's possible that the softer woods are actually absorbing the pressure from the harder ones expanding. I don't know...).

    Again, this is just for the sake of anyone else, and/or your own future reference. Removing the baseboards and re-installing them later is easy. And if you're gentle, you won't even need to do any touch-up paint. That would have allowed you to lay the floor with at least 1/4" gap all around, to allow for expansion/contraction.

    Having said that, back to the compliments... It looks cool. And, personally, I agree with you about the texture. I like it too... Cheers! :-)

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    HumboldtartdeptJeffA2

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks for the comment and the compliments!

    I know it's hard to see but there is a slight gap between the wood and baseboard; not 1/4" but there is a slight one. And some of the "grout" lines are over 1/4". To your point though, I probably did luck out with this room not changing temperature much over the course of a year.

    No worries -- I understand where the suggestions to sand it down come from. Everyone has different tastes and ideas and that's a-ok. But thank you, I'm glad you like the texture too!

    Thanks!

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    bubbabassman

    2 years ago

    Excellent idea of re-purposed materials to create a beautiful looking durable floor.

    I want one.

    1 reply
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    dcady

    2 years ago

    What an awesome idea, a great use of scraps that normally have to be tossed, burned, etc. I applaud you for this creative idea. And the floor is very pretty.

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    Humboldtartdeptdcady

    Reply 2 years ago

    What an awesome bunch of compliments, thank you very much!

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    DonnaL34

    3 years ago

    We are going to do this in our house too. Have several ideas for pallet projects throughout the house and yard.

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    DonnaL34Humboldtartdept

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you me too. I work in a auto factory so I get lots of free pallets all the time. My hubby has made a couple really nice coops for his chickens and pigeons already.

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    Surcease

    3 years ago on Introduction

    pretty cool. To make it the best awesome, I'd go back when I had time and sand it. After sanding and repoly it will be massively beautiful. You laid it all out very pretty.

    :D

    3 replies

    Thanks! We liked each individual piece so much as-is, we opted not to sand. But it can be done. Thank you!

    You already worked so hard with the grouting, it will sand fine too, if you ever decide you are feeling froggy and want to up the class one level.
    I agree it is nice like it is tho. I like a smooth floor. Lol :)

    I did work hard on the grouting, you're right. We'll see how it goes but for now we really love how the floor turned out, flaws, quirks and all. Everyone is different so I understand where you're coming from. Thanks!

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    SRDsPoppa

    3 years ago

    Skimming over the comments I'm curious if it would have been easier to have finished out your floor, use the sawdust from sanding it with a drum sander so it's smooth as well as the rest of the sawdust you had on hand from cutting the pieces and basically sweep the sawdust into the cracks to make the mortar, or at least keep everything level, and then apply an. Industrial flooring type polyurethane or epoxy resin over your floor. You definitely wouldn't have to worry about splinters at that point because you could literally put as much thickness as you wanted this way with just one pour. It's tricky to work with, mostly because if air bubbles arising in it but if you get it right, mixing the resin with the hardener as well as most times pros will use a thinner like Xylenol, and of course ventilation and protecting your airway this floor would last a lifetime. This system is typically used on garage floors and I randomly grabbed a link off Google to illustrate http://www.vanguardconcretecoating.com/resins.htm

    2 replies
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    HumboldtartdeptSRDsPoppa

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks for the helpful information. I hadn't sanded the floors, the pallet wood, as I wanted all the patina to remain as-is. But brushing sawdust in is a good idea. I suppose I couldn't have brushed on the poly after that though as the pad would have pulled the sawdust out.

    Resin would have been great -- unfortunately my wallet couldn't handle that option.

    Thanks for your ideas!

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    SRDsPoppaHumboldtartdept

    Reply 3 years ago

    You'd be surprised at how cheap you can obtain it. The best way to buy it is scour Google and set up your searches for "the past 7 days". You'll find that it's rather plentiful via auction if you're not on a time frame. It would detract from the natural wear of the wood obviously and if you've got kiddos they'd have to learn not to run in with wet feet but the sawdust would work because this is poured on. I guess if you poured it thin enough you could maybe keep some of the beauty of the natural wood.

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    GoGmaGo

    3 years ago on Introduction

    What kind of wood is this made from? I'm wondering if it would be hard enough to hold up to a commercial application?

    Cheers