Cottage plywood floor - stain or paint?

Old 03-09-07, 08:48 AM
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Question Cottage plywood floor - stain or paint?

We have a small summer cottage in northern Vt. that has a plywood floor.... we'd like to give it a better look and was thinking maybe of staining or painting it ? or other ideas?
It gets a lot of traffic so would like some durability and is unheated so goes from Vt. winter cold (-18 today :-) to summer heat. Any suggestions... proper product/method?
we appreciate the help, thxs. scooter
Old 03-09-07, 11:22 AM
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Welcome to the diy forums!

Plywood doesn't always stain well so if you stain it should be a light color stain - dark stains might have blotchy areas. You could also just poly it.

Another option is to decoratively paint the floor and then coat with poly. Oil base poly tends to yellow paints so it might be wise to use waterbased poly if going this route.

I've never run across interior paints/polys that were subjected to extreme cold but would think it would be ok since it is out of the weather and I doubt it gets much traffic when it's real cold inside.
Old 03-11-07, 03:29 PM
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Hi Scooterw,

I'm very familiar with the area of Vermont around the Township of Sharon around White River Junction. Indeed, the winters do get VERY cold. If your building is without heat during these times I'd recommend either staining the plywood with a heavily pigmented waterbased stain or dyeing the plywood and sealing it with wax. The perimeter of the room can be colored with the country patterns popular in the region and the center of the area can be covered with an area rug.

If there was some type of heat in your cottage year round I'd recommend the waterbased poly route, but the extremes of temperature and dryness of the air that exist in the winter can (and does) cause significant warping of woodwork. The more brittle the finish, the more damage that will be done by the cold.

Now, by wax, I don't mean necessarily the old paste wax for floors we used to apply and buff and buff and buff!! Although that wouldn't be bad at all. What I'm referring to are some of the acrylic waxes available quite readily at our hardware and grocery stores. The quality of these is far superior to what they were twenty years ago. They are now non-yellowing, stable finishes that are not readily affected by a little moisture.

I'm sure your cottage will be fantastic whatever you choose to do..
Best of luck,


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