How To Whitewash Wood

Wood PlanksWe purchased Style Selections Luxury Plank Vinyl Flooring from Lowes…We purchased gun stock oak, but this flooring comes in a large selection of colors. Aside from how amazing the walls have turned out (and hiding that weird plant shelf area with the planks was brilliant!) what I actually might love the most is how the floor turned out! I have been thinking a lot about walls like this ever since Remodlista did a great post on shiplap. So I headed to the lumber section at my local Home Depot and found just the right plywood.

We borrowed a truck from my kind brother in law and he and the Home Depot guys helped us load up the 25 sheets of cut wood. These amazing gloves practically never left my hands during the two or so days I was installing the planks and moving them around. Once we had all the carpet removed and all the wood planks upstairs to the back porch, it was time to start the only tedious part of this project: all the sanding. I think this step made a huge difference in helping the planks look like they’re not just cut down plywood pieces.

I bought a couple packages of the bulk 50-count course/removal sanding pads and they really worked fast on any rough parts or spray painted markings or splinters on the plywood planks. If you start your installation on a long, straight wall and just focus on maintaining even spacing, the planks will look great. It’s so worth buying an air compressor, or even just renting one and a nailer for the day from Home Depot or Lowes.

To lay the wood down, I first squiggled on to the back side of the planks a line of Subfloor Liquid Nails (in the big contractor size, using the oversized caulking gun). I didn’t fill the nail holes either in the end to help the wood look more like old planks. I found a miter saw was the easiest and most exact way to cut down the planks shorter. Just like with other flooring, you’ll want to stagger the seams and throw in some shortened planks for every two or three full-length planks, just for variation.

When the wood was all installed, I wanted to get everything painted and sealed asap, so the raw, freshly sanded plywood wouldn’t get dingy. I painted a few sample planks and I decided I wanted to be able to see a lot of the graining and knots in the planks, so I went for a more white-washed look over an opaque, painted look. You can be really sloppy with this first coat, too, so that the paint drips down the sides of the planks. I tried to paint plank by plank to minimize roller marks (the roller was about the same width as the wood). The poly I used to seal the planks ended up changing the color a little too, even though it said it was a clear formula.

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