Airstream Remodel: DIY Plywood Plank Flooring

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So, we’ve made it to the floors! We have been working furiously on the Airstream renovation (we took some time off during the holidays) and are so excited to announce that the floors are finally done! This interior renovation really took some thinking, but we can honestly say we could not be more pleased with how these floors turned out for us.

It took some time to figure out what we wanted to do. We didn’t want any carpet, so that all got ripped out. We tried the snap-together vinyl flooring, but that ended up buckling up and looking horrible. So, we took that out. Before spending a bunch of money on something else and having it not work out, we started doing heavy research. We saw a ton of people doing things like Pergo, but that just wasn’t as appealing to us. The whole Airstream design has/will have a very unique, farmhouse feel to it and the floors are definitely key to that. If you have a vintage camper or are in the Airstream life at all, you know how important every single detail is — so between social media and Google searches, we were excited to come up with some ideas of our own that would truly make this remodel ours.

So, after weeks of research of what we would do for our new flooring, we decided to go with plank flooring….real wood. Not hardwood- that would be too expensive. We chose plywood for our small space. But, how would we do it? That took more research but, thankfully, there were others that had done it before, so we just needed to work off the concept for this Airstream project.

Here’s what we did:

First, we water sealed the subfloor. We want to make absolutely sure that no mildew grows between the plywood and the subfloor. We used Thompson’s Water Seal on the entire subfloor. We also got roofing tar paper (like this) to go between the plywood and the subfloor. We feel confident that the combination of these two things will prevent any moisture from getting trapped.

For the planks, we decided to go with 3/4″ sanded pine plywood. We got it from Home Depot and they were awesome enough to cut 6 sheets into 8 inch strips for us…that was a HUGE blessing for us!

We also decided to screw in the boards. We wanted to be sure they stayed in place and, while nails probably would work too, we just felt safer with decking screws. We got gold decking screws and, after the stain and poly, you really don’t notice them too much.

Then, we came home and started working!

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We made sure that we cut the boards at different lengths to give it a good, random layout. We also sanded down all the edges before we screwed them in to make sure everything was smooth. Doing that also gives it a good rustic feel, which is just what we want.

Then, we stained it with Minwax Early American! We did one good coat. Once that dried, we started applying Polyurethane. We used Minwax Fast-Drying Semi-Gloss Polyurethane for floors. We did two coats of this, without any sanding between these two coats (that’s one of the benefits of this particular poly!)

After the second coat, we decided to do another. This time, we sanded the entire floor with 220 grit sandpaper.

After we sanded the floor, we went over it with a wet cloth to get up all the excess dust….trust me, there was a lot of it!

One more time, we did another coat of Poly.

And that was it! We’ll probably do one more coat once we build all the cabinets and furniture, right before we move in. It really turned out beautifully and we couldn’t be happier! If you’re in the process of renovating a vintage Airstream trailer, you definitely want to look into options to save money in those tiny spaces. We have since completed a complete remodel on this airstream, with new appliances, a full bathroom, new kitchen sink, new tires, and have made use of every inch of our limited square feet. Just goes to show, when you think outside the box what amazing things can happen for your tiny home!

Read Next: Must-Have’s When Traveling In An RV (From Experienced Full-Timers)

See our Airstream Remodel Reveal here!

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