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Friday, May 9, 2014

Reclaimed Wood Kitchen Floor

As I have mentioned before, when we bought this house there were many things we knew we would want to change at some point.  One of the biggest disappointments to us was our kitchen floor.  Not that it was awful - the previous owners had recently re-tiled it - but it wasn't really our style.  And even worse, after about a year or so the tiles started breaking.  Especially in the frequently traveled path to the back door.  One day after being frustrated at replacing these tiles for the 100th time, we decided to make this our next DIY project!  And where did our inspiration come from this time - in a place we least expected - pallet wood!


At the time, pallet wood DIY projects were just starting to become a big thing and I thought why couldn't we use pallet wood for a floor.  First of all you can't beat the price - free - and second of all if it is sturdy enough to hold all the big loads that these pallets are used to then I felt it should be sturdy enough for people.  Of course my contractor Dad thought I was crazy - but I think I couldn't of asked for something better - What do you think?


This project was done in a weekend.  When we started pulling up the tiles we realized why they were breaking so frequently - the previous owners laid the tiles over the original linoleum floor!!  Big no no people!! So not only did we have to rip up the tile but then we needed to rip up the linoleum as well.


 One of the hardest parts of this project was the first step, which was pulling the boards apart as the nails are steel spiral nails and not so easy to take out without damaging the wood pieces.  The second difficult part of this DIY is making sure you have planks that are in the same width.  Matching them up is very important as they need to be able to rest up against each other with no gaps.  This can mean frequent trips to the dump or whatever place you may find your pallets.  Important tip here - not good to use pallets from a grocery store as if they carried produce they will have been sprayed with pesticide and not something you want to have in your home.  The ones you want to look for should have a stamp or brand with an HT which means they have been heat treated.


 After we found the planks we wanted and pulled them apart, we did a really good sanding on them.  Since they are going to be walked on by bare feet, they need to have no splinters or rough edges.  We spent a bit of time making sure they were sanded as smooth as possible.  Then came the process of lying them down.  As we did want a vintage look to the floor we were OK with the fact that each row may not be of the same width.  Some rows were wider then others but the mismatched widths made the floor look like it had been there for 100's of years.  Also, made it easier on us as we didn't have to worry about finding pallets all in one width - which is not easy!


To finish off the aged look we were going for, we used vintage flooring nails to really give it that antiqued look.  You can try to find orignal ones or you can buy them new at any hardware store.


After all the boards were secured in place, the final touch was the staining.  We used Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  We used two rags - one to apply the stain to the wood, the other to wipe the stain off as we moved along.  Because pallets are often made of different types of wood, it created the stain to pick the color up in various ways.  This added to the aged look.  Make sure you like this look as it will be pretty hard to get all pieces to look the same exact color!  Once we let this dry overnight the final step was applying a protector.  We used Polyurethane to protect the wood.  When using this realize there are many different Polyurethane finishes you can use - matte, gloss, semi-gloss - it really depends on what look you are going for.  We used a semi-gloss.


Two and a half years later and thousands of foot steps after and the floor still looks amazing - not to mention it is often a topic of discussion when we have guests over!  We are so happy to not have those breaking tiles to walk upon any longer.


One tip to keep in mind when doing this - have plenty of pallet wood as you will need it!!! And if you have furry friends like we do, you may need to restain again at some point as these two have worn a path from running outside through the doggie door! Happy pallet hunting!!

23 comments:

  1. Wow! The floors are awesome! I've wondered about using pallets for flooring before, but the extra rough texture on them kept me from ever trying. How did you sand them down? Did you run them through a planer or sand each plank by hand with a palm sander?

    We recently did plywood plank flooring in our house, and I sanded the sheets with a rented flooring sander, cut them into planks, and then rounded the edges a bit with a hand sander. Labor intensive, but worth the work.

    After seeing this, I'm thinking if we ever get another place, we'll try out this pallet idea. Very, very cool.

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    1. Thanks Kevin, glad you liked what we did with the floors. Once we separated out all of the planks of pallet wood that we wanted to use we thoroughly sanded each piece with a palm sander which was a lot of work, but as you said, well worth it! We are lucky enough to be able to get free pallets, so the price can't be beat. After 2 and a half years, we are still thrilled with the way the floor looks so I would recommend it to anyone. One word of caution is that this may not be suited to do in a large room as it is very labor intensive. Hope you continue to enjoy our blog!

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  2. Hi Erin! We are going to do our living room and kitchen in this flooring. Can you tell me if you laid a sub floor down...maybe with plywood? Or did you attached the boards directly to the concrete? And if it is directly onto the concrete, are there boards that give a little as you walk over them where they don't lay completely flush with the concrete below or even the plywood if you used that? Just want to make sure we do this right! Thank you for any advice!

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    1. HI Kendra,

      Thanks for visiting Barnwood and Bangles! That is great that you are going to do your floors with pallets! It really is a great way to get inexpensive but quality hard wood floors! When we did our flooring we had pulled up tile that had already been laid in our kitchen. So there was already a subfloor for us to put the hardwood on. So yes we did use a sub floor. I don't think you could do it directly to concrete as it would never lie properly and most importantly there would be nothing for you to nail the boards into and with this type of wood you would need to nail it. Keep in mind with using pallet wood for a floor you are not going to have it be perfect. There may be some gaps (we used wood filler in those cases) and the boards will be in different sizes but these inconsistencies are what gives it so much character and makes it look old and rustic! You will need to have a lot of pallets as some boards may not come off as easily as others. And also you will notice that not all pallets are in the same width. So you will have boards that don't match some wider than others. When you lie the boards down they will have to be in the same width in each row. So this may mean pulling some extras to keep that consistency in the rows. I won't lie it is a lot of work but trust me in the end it will be worth it!!! I wish you the best of luck in this project and if you have any questions or need any more advice along the way please don't hesitate to reach out to me!!! Erin

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  3. One day after being frustrated at replacing these tiles for the 100th time, we decided to make this our next DIY project! And where did our inspiration come from this time - in a place we least expected - pallet wood!How to seal chalk paint

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  4. Can you give an estimate as to how many pallets you used per sq foot of flooring?

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  5. You can put pallet wood on concrete! Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive works great for gluing wood flooring to concrete. I've been using pallet wood for remodeling my basement and the Liquid Nails has worked great and I have not had any problems with it! I've also glued down 1/2" OSB on top of the concrete and nailed the wood to that. And OSB sheets are only about $7 for a 4'x8' sheet. So you have a couple options for pallet on concrete!

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  6. Are there certain boards that stick up more than others?

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  7. Are there certain boards that stick up more than others?

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  8. Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information. i like with express my support of your ideas in your article, and looking forward to your next article.

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  9. Wow, awesome idea! Would it work to nail the boards first and then sand with a floor sander? I would love to do this but not sure if I want to sand each board by hand since I would like to lay a floor in a really large space.

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  10. Thank you for sharing! I {adore} that rustic floor! I'm swooning over here... <3

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  12. Erin Scimeca Just want to say I'm totally impressed with the Awesomely Fabulous results and your abilities to figure it out! I want exactly this look but for my bedroom but the job would be all my baby as my husband it's into DYI. Ill be lucky to get him to help me search and find let alone transport and dismantle. Lol but he does love the results.So my question is: how long did it take you start to finish in hours. Just a guesstimate is fine. Thanks for sharing this valuable resource of information.

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  13. Erin Scimeca Just want to say I'm totally impressed with the Awesomely Fabulous results and your abilities to figure it out! I want exactly this look but for my bedroom but the job would be all my baby as my husband it's into DYI. Ill be lucky to get him to help me search and find let alone transport and dismantle. Lol but he does love the results.So my question is: how long did it take you start to finish in hours. Just a guesstimate is fine. Thanks for sharing this valuable resource of information.

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