MDO as a Painted Floor

      Yes, you can make a "distressed" floor with medium density overlay (MDO) panels. June 11, 2014

I am building a raised floor for a kid's room. They want a painted floor which is distressed. I was at a friend's houseboat recently and he had such a floor. He routed in micro bevels to simulate wide plank flooring. He then beat it with chains and hammer, etc. Looked great. Just wondering how it will look in 5 years.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor B:
What difference does it make? It will be more beat up than now. Go for it.

From the original questioner:
MDO being plywood with a paper face, I thought it might tear or splinter. But your logic seems right.

From contributor B:
Fine Homebuilding did an article some years back where they used Masonite and power waxed it. Looked okay. The reasoning was the client didn't have enough money for flooring. Suppose the labor was free. I'd think your painted floor might be a bit slick to walk on.

From contributor V

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Yes... I've done that. On my own historic school house building that is now my shop I have two approximately 5'x5' roof covered porches on the ends of the building. Below the porch floors are the bulkhead entrances to the basement, so I needed a water proof floor.

The solution was MDO with beveled slots just like your friend used. The floors are now 6 or 7 years old and have fared well. I did band the edges with solid wood. The only downside was that MDO can have voids in the core. In my case I had two voids in the surface layer right below the paper. As such I had to repair these spots when they were discovered.

Regular 3/4" AC ply might be a better choice based on the experience with voids. I think I went with the MDO at the time because it was readily available in 60" width.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. This project is now starting. Good to know about the voids. Didn't realize that. AC ply sounds good I reckon.

From contributor U:
AC has voids. You can get an underlayment grade that does not.

From the original questioner:
Okay, so I have 3 hardwood lumber and sheet good suppliers and 2 local lumberyards (that carry the usual builder type stuff). Where do I get underlayment type AC ply? Is this a special order type thing or a standard grade?

From contributor V

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While it is true that AC ply is likely to have internal voids, they have that upper layer of solid wood on them versus only a layer of paper for MDO. I wouldn't be too concerned about using AC ply for this application. Nothing wrong with getting a higher grade though. Ask your suppliers - they should know the status of various products.

From the original questioner:
Thanks all. AC ply with routed V grooves 8" on center it is.

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