We recently discussed Eleven Earth Floor Methods. Here’s another low cost floor method to consider. The drawing above is pretty much self explanatory, but here are the basic steps and a few options. First, create a level, stable base with tamped road base, subsoil or crusher fines. You could use scoria or pumice in cold climates or sand/gravel in rainy climates. Add 6 mil plastic sheeting on top as a moisture barrier and 1” or so of sand that is carefully leveled. Set one pallet at a time, screwing or nail gunning each pallet to previous pallets. Use pallets that are all the same size. This will naturally take extra time and care when you select the pallets. Also, don’t use pallets that are badly broken since they will be supporting your floor.
Flooring options include rough sawn wood from a local saw mill, recycled wood or ‘barn wood’ from old buildings or gymnasium floors (excellent source of hard maple flooring), manufactured bamboo flooring or even split bamboo if you want a really rustic look, or tongue and groove flooring (T&G). You could mill your own wood with a bandsaw sawmill. Milling your own wood enables you to use unusual woods that are not commercially available and/or cut to special dimensions – wide planks, for instance. If money is really tight, you could use pieces of pallets for the floor itself. This would definitely require a floor sander to smooth and level the floor, and a nail set to pound the nails below the surface. The drawing shows trim screws that have small, inconspicuous heads, which would work well in most instances. T&G flooring can be toe-nailed with a toe-nail gun so the nail is not visible. (This is what most pros use.) Another beautiful flooring method – although much more time consuming – is achieved by using screws and dowel plugs.