What I learned in the process is that plywood floors are perfectly O.K. They are wood and once you paint them and put down a rug you will literally not notice it’s plywood.
I painted the kids room floor in Benjamin Moore’s Floor and Patio paint. The color is a color match to Farrow & Ball’s Babouche. The difference in price is about $54 a galloon vs. $137 for the Farrow & Ball. I know the Farrow & Ball color is probably a bit more outstanding and multi dimensional but I was unsure about the color and couldn’t commit. In hindsight I wish I would have just gone for the Farrow & Ball but this looks great too.
I prepped the floor by doing two coats of primer. I did not sand. After the primer had dried overnight I rolled on the yellow. Be warned: yellow is a hard paint color. It takes 4-5 thin layers to get the paint to completely cover. I did this using a small roller but also filled in spots with a brush.
I ran into a little trouble when I pulled up a the rug that was under the kids beds. It had a large worn spot from an office chair. I decided I needed to sand it.
I sanded it just enough to take off the top where the wood was hanging. I did not sand it to a full hand smooth finish. If I would have kept going I think I would have ended up down a road of me sanding the entire floor. The floor is dented and dinged but overall it’s smooth. I then mixed a cup of epoxy and poured over the damaged spot and spread with a roller. I added an added an additional coat about an hour later. I let dry overnight. The epoxy is like glue sticking everything together and down. I can still see divots but none of the wood is pulling up. The next day I primed and painted.
The floors have a beach house vibe and since plywood is laid in large sheets it’s a sea of flat color with very few seams. It looks cohesive. The amount of money I saved from not laying new hardwood and painting would probably be thousands. I feel like this is a compromise I can live with and does not have me thinking I am waiting to gut it. I think unpainted plywood could be really slick too with a poly to seal. I think plywood is totally overlooked and can be seen as low brow. But it has so many brilliant uses that feel modern and smart.