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How to Stain a Plywood Floor

R.L. Cultrona

A floor made out of plywood can be very durable, but in order to keep it looking nice, you will need to stain it. By its nature, wood is susceptible to wear and tear and can be damaged easily. Staining a plywood floor is a project you can do yourself. Sanding equipment can be rented at a home improvement store.

While the project isn't the easiest to tackle, if you plan ahead and take care it can be done in an afternoon.

  1. Completely clear the room of any furniture to give yourself a good working space. If you will be replacing the baseboards, you should remove them as well. Hang plastic sheets over any doors and vents to seal off the room you are working in.

  2. Place the 50- to 60-grit sandpaper on the floor sander. Start in one corner of the room and push the sander across the floor toward the opposite wall. Then turn around and sand the next row, overlapping the first row by about an inch. Continue this to finish as much of the room as you can.

  3. Place the sander two feet from the walls and push it toward them to finish off the floor. You may need to manually sand the floor edges to complete this step.

  4. Leave the room for an hour to let the dust completely settle, and then return to clean it. Make sure you get all the dust up with a vacuum before adding the stain to the wood.

  5. Apply the floor finish in one corner with a paint roller and move out along the same path you used in the sanding. Allow the stain to penetrate the wood. Wipe away any excess stain with a rag. Let the stain dry, and place a coat of wood varnish over the stain.

  6. Tip

    Although a floor sander is the traditional tool for this job, you may find it a bit unwieldy. If this is the case, use a belt sander instead.


    Plywood is softer than traditional hardwood floors. You must be careful when you are sanding to make sure you don't sand too much in one area and that you don't scratch the floor up too much.