Painted Plywood Floors
Checkered Tile Floor
Preparing the Subfloor
Sanding and Filling
Applying the Primer
Surveying Your Results
Building Raised Garden Beds
Plywood Floors - Sanding and Filling
Not All Fillers Are Created Equally
Makes sense, right? There's a different tool for every job, so it only stands to reason that there's not a one-size fits all approach to choosing the correct filler for your subfloor. In our early attempts, we found some wood filler from Elmer's, thinking "we've got seams in our wood, we need to fill them...let's get wood filler!" Well, I have absolutely nothing against this brand, in fact I think they're great, but I can tell you from experience that being any old 'wood filler' is not going to give you the results you want in a plywood subfloor.
The answer, as we discovered, was to get a filler solution that's speficially made for subfloors. Why didn't the Elmer's filler work? In short, it get very hard...so hard in fact that it slowly began cracking along the seams. It filled the nail holes just fine, and helped level off a few imperfections, so for that we're thankful, but in those places where you need a little give, a hard, unforgiving filler is not the solution.
By the time we made it to my younger daughter's floor and the hallway, we had figured out that we were doubling our workload and not even getting the best results. That's where the sandwich came in. You've probably heard of the 'sir sandwich', basically implying that anything spoken would have a sir before and after..."Sir, yes sir!" Well, the sandwich I'm referring to is to sand first, fill second, then sand again. So in our case, Sand, fill, sand.
Although the difference is fairly subtle, the results were MILES improved over our previous attempts. By sanding first, we hit all the imperfections in the seams, nails, etc, and gave ourselves time to hit the rest of the floor with the sander before even attempting to fill. This gave our floor a nice, smooth, even surface to work with, allowing our filler to settle where it was supposed to, instead of just sanding it all off realizing we had an uneven corner. Once filled, we would go back over the filled areas again with a light sanding, giving us the best results.
The Next Step
Your floor is now prepared and ready. Follow the next article in our plywood floors series to learn all the subtle things you can do before you apply primer to make a huge difference in your end-results!
Here's a few videos that go through the process of preparing our subfloor, sanding, and filling. Or, you can check out the entire series at the bottom of this article.
Painted Plywood Subfloor Series - Playlist