Saturday, July 27, 2013

Can You Stain Luan Plywood?


Every Question about Luan Wood Answered. 


Can You stain Luan Plywood? 

Yes you certainly can stain Luan Plywood to give it a more finished appearance. How do you do this you ask? Well here is a quick guide for you:


 When Staining Luan Plywood your first step should include taking a look at the surface of the plywood for any scratches or defects.

1. When applying the wood putty to fill unsightly scratches or gouges or voids in the plywood edges. Let putty material set and then follow application using to manufacturer's directions.
Smooth the surface of the plywood, and sand if necessary to complete the polished look of the material.

2. Second you should focus on sanding the luan plywood and applying a veneer coat on the wood. You can use a machine sander to assist with the job. If you are not able to use a machine sander or an orbital sander you can use sanding paper to prepare the plywood for the staining solutions. You can apply a primer to the luan wood, using steady coats. Once the main primer has dried, you are ready to begin the next step. 

3. When this has been completed, your next step should be to wipe any residual stain off your plywood so that the finish is even. Then wipe parallel to the grain to ensure a nice look. It will also help to stop any streaking from appearing on the wood. Allow the plywood to dry. Then go to the next step.  If there is any unevenness, apply another coat, and then sealer of lacquer or finish to give it a quality and professional look.

4. Give it a day or so and then if you want to deepen the colour of the plywood you can apply a second coat before moving forward, or beginning the process again. Allow the polyurethane to dry for at least 8 hours or more before moving forward with additional coats.


How is Luan Plywood Manufactured? 

Luan Plywood is usually manufactured in 4 x 8 foot sheets. And Luan panels are good subfloors for Hardwood flooring, as long as they are the proper thickness.

You should remember that for mechanically fastened floors, as well as plywood, you need to use a thicker material to get the same holding power. In general, the minimum thickness for Luan plywood is 1/8 inch and sometimes 1/4 of an inch.

  However, as the joist spacing increases, the subfloors needs to be thicker. For joist spacing of more than 16+ inches to 19.2 inches on center, the minimum thickness for both Plywood is 3/4 inch.




For joists spaced more than 19.2 inches on center, the minimum thickness for Luan Plywood is 7/8 inch.



How Do I ensure that my Luan Subflooring is Even?


1. Have a List Before Installation:

  Once you get the subfloor into the proper thickness, you must check that the subfloor is properly installed. It must be installed with no issues that could affect your installation. Subfloor panels and fasteners should also be properly placed according to the panel manufacturer's specifications.

If there are protruding fasteners, squeaks or loose panels, you should refasten the subfloor to the joists. The subfloor should also be cleaned and free of contaminants such as paint, sealer or drywall compound.


2. Check Around the Subfloor:

  Now, check from below the subflooring and note the direction of the joists. With the above notes, the flooring should be installed perpendicular to the floor joists.

The subflooring can be laid parallel to floor joists, but you may need to add a 1/2-inch layer of plywood diagonally or perpendicularly to the joists, or install a brace between the joists.


3. Make Sure your Subfloor is Even:

   Ensure the subfloor is even to the recommended strength for the flooring that you are installing. For installations using mechanical fasteners that is 1+1/2 inches and longer, your subfloors should be within 1/4 inch in 10 feet or 3/16 inch in 6 feet.   Installations of those with mechanical fasteners on the Luan plywood using less than 1 1/2 inches, the subfloor should be within 3/16 inch in 10 feet or 1/8 in 6 feet. The subfloor can be flattened by sanding down the high areas or by installing shims such as roofing shingles or various thicknesses of plywood. 


4. Moisturizing:

   Another critical part of the subfloor inspection is to check the moisture content (MC) of the subfloor and the joists. Luan Plywood is not especially well suited to moisture exposure


What is Luan Structural Plywood?

Structural Plywood

Structural Plywood is manufactured to AS/NZS 2269 from softwood veneers. It is available in grades based on face and back veneer quality from A to D, with a minimum F8 stress grade. Structural Plywood is a very stable and workable type of plywood, with numerous applications for the building, shopfitting and cabinet making industries. The most common grades of structural plywood available are CD and DD




Plywood Types (Luan Wood)





Types of Plywood

There are many different types of plywood ? Which will of course depend on what types of wood you are talking about, as there are many variety of wood products. Really it comes down to it as plywood (luan) there is different from different grades and uses of woods depending on the specific application you may be working with or constructing. Here is a rundown of some different names of wood that you might find usesful when working on projects around the home or big renovations in the future.

Luan Wood Video Series



Mahogany Wood - Products

Mahogany Woods is different from many different kinds of tropical hardwood, most of which are reddish-brown wood that is widely used in furniture-making, boat building, and other high specification uses. It is also used in the wood panelling for plywood.

Luan Wood- which can be discribed as a tropical type of plywood from the South American and Asian Regions actually began manufacturing began over 40 years ago in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. In the Home Renovation and Construction Industry, plywood in general from a select few tropical countries such as Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia is classified as Luan Plywood.

The species of wood which is used is from the Phillippines and the traditional name is Lauan, however it is commonly called Luan Plywood. It can also go by the name Meranti, or also


How Do I Choosing the Right Brand of Plywood Underlayment?

Brands of Plywood to Choose:

How do you go about choosing the right brand of plywood for you home renovation project. For buying plywood as underlayment, I find that brand choice does not matter much.

If concern about water damage and moisture is a big issue for you then, you may want to consider Dry Ply, a brand of coated plywood from Georgia-Pacific that works well as flooring underlayment.

If your project involves vinyl flooring, then you can buy brand-specific plywood. Halex plywood underlayment is tooled specifically to Armstrong, Mannington, Congoleum, and Domco/Tarkett floors. These specific plywood underlayment sheets made just for a particular brand of flooring, but you have brand-specific warranties for each.


How Do I use Luan Plywood is Subflooring or Underlayment for my Project? 


If you are looking at an inexpesive way to do flooring, you can use Plywood Underlayment, as Finished Flooring. The trick here is to cut the plywood sheets into tiles, about 4x4. You can also do it in 2x2' or 2x4'. This way it doesn't look like you just cheapened out and painted the subfloor. Make sure to properly sketch the layout of the room you plan to floor so you can make the proper adjust with regards to full plywood sheets, and those that you will have to specialty cut to create a uniform look around the room.


You don't need to pad between the subloor and the plywood, although I wouldn't recommend against it. (An acoustical foam underlay will help reduce noise). Lay the plywood sheets on top of the foam padding underlayment. Use glue and then use screws at the corners, as you lay the plywood. You can also use glue alone with no screws, however that might result in some curling of the plywood flooring, and of course you don't want that. For the screws, you can spend a little bit of money, and get something different.

You can use flat face screws, with 2 dimples. They are called tamper resistant screws, to be honest, I don't think the wood species matters. Once you have finished installing and screwing the plywood in, using wood putty or filler to fill the holes ad the sand it smooth. Using plywood (luan/birch) as a top flooring is a unique and cost effective method for home improvement.


Of course the cost cannot be beat, and you can throw down a mat or carpeting in high traffic areas, for example outside the kitchen or hallways. Things to Remember when it comes to Plywood Flooring There isn't going to be an isle in the home hardware or improvement store dedicated to Plywood Flooring, so you may have to think out of the box.


Checking Underlayment and Plywood Subfloor Thickness

Flatness: Checking the subfloor is flat to the recommended tolerances for the flooring you are laying. For installations using mechanical fasteners 1 1/2 inches and longer, underlayment and subfloors should be within 1/4 inch in 10 feet or 3/16 inch in 6 feet. For gluedown installations and those using mechanical fasteners less than 1 1/2 inches, the subfloor should be within 3/16 inch in 10 feet or 1/8 in 6 feet. The subfloor can be flattened by sanding down the high areas or by installing shims such as roofing shingles or various thicknesses of plywood.



Filling Knot Holes in Plywood

Removing Luan Underlayment Luan can be removed fairly easily. Just cut it into strips as long as there is no vinyl backing left. Getting all the staples removed or beat down is by far the hardest part. If it's ran underneath the cabinets use a sharp razor knife and score it several times and it should break off pretty clean. A lot of staples will have slivers of luan caught underneath you should either pull out or use needle nose pliers to remove the sliver then hammer then down flush. When you remove the luan don't want anything sticking up. It's a good idea to refasten the subfloor onto the joist with screws or screw shank underlayment nails. You should see how flat it is too... may have to belt sand some seams.

Bending Luan Wood Video 
Installing Luan Wood Video
Cutting and Installing Vinyl Over Luan 
Installing Luan Over Subfloor 
Laying laminate over Subfloor
Making Tile Flush With Subfloor 
Attaching Luan To Subfloor
Working With Luan For Do It Yourselfers


Installing Luan Under Sheet Vinyl Floor (Flooring)


Many Times people have asked me how best to install luan plywood under sheet vinyl Floor as a subflooring material. Here is a quick rundown of steps you can follow for best results:

Step 1.
Wipe clean the subfloor which will be covered with the luan plywood panels, and ensure that any dirt or residue has been cleaned throughly and that any splinters which pop up have been cleared and removed. Once this first step has been completed properly, you can then determine the amount of luan wood which will be required to cover the floor. Luan plywood as a rule comes in sheets which measure 4 X 8 feet.

Start your work from the corner of the space you intend to cover, and apply adhesive stick on the floors as you place the luan wood. The adheasive will help maintain a smooth surface once your topfloor has been laid.

Step 2
Begin to set the luan plywood into place, leaving a space of 1/8 inch around the edge by the walls. Use screws or staples with a gun, to fasten the luan wood into place. Place staples or screws at every 6 inches around the outside of the sheet, and every 8 inches inside the sheet.
Offset the seams of the plywood board (luan) as you lay the material, this will ensure all the corners of the wood do not line up, and this will make your work appear seamless. Make sure the connections are random and they don't line up with the connectors in the subflooring.

Step 3

Mark the sheets as a measure so that they are staggered when laid, and fit into smaller area. Use a mechanical saw to cut edges which will be placed near the wall. Mak sure the cuts are clean to give a tight fit at the corners and wall
Ensure the laun which has been laid is smooth in all areas, and doesnt have any raised staples or screws. Sand the surface if required before laying top flooring (vinyl or laminate)





Does Luan Work for Underlayment?


Luan wood is considered to be one of the better materials to use for your flooring. Or at the very least, it is the most cost-effective. This is when it comes to dealing with sticky or vinyl (Laminate) flooring products. Because it is a higher quality plywood, which is very durable and smooth, it can be used as a subfloor for most laminate finishes. This wood can then have very little warping capabilities, which may intend to happen under most vinyl or laminate flooring.


Filling Knot Holes in Plywood


When Luan wood is used as underlayment for laminate or vinyl flooring finishes, you must ensure that the Luan wood is secured so that there is no movement at all. Once it has been secured, you will need to put in one other foam underlayment. This will allow the laminate to expand and contract as normal. If your laminate has the backing on it, (which some usually do) then, of course, you won't need it. Some laminate floorings may come pre-installed with the foam backing already attached.


How to Install Vinyl Tiles Over Existing Vinyl Tile Hallway


Installing Vinyl Tiles Over an Existing vinyl Tile Hallway

When installing vinyl tiles over an existing vinyl tile hallway. It is better to attach luan plywood over the sub floor with ring shank nails. Depending on the existing floor if has 1/4" Masonite+1/8" vinyl tile on top of that I will add 1/4" laun plywood + 1/8" vinyl tiles. The best option is to use ring shank nails which are made exclusively for this purpose. Of course, as I mentioned, it depends on the existing floor and subfloors in your project. 

Some people that prefer to use vinyl have used 7/8” staples. When you install thin plywood it is best to have a staple gun made just for installing ¼” and also luan which has been pre-coated for 7/8”

With all underlayments, the fastener should penetrate the underfloor by ¾” (1.9cm), but not protrude through the underfloor by more than 1/8” which is about 3.2mm. If you have an underlayment which is replacing or being placed over an old floor covering like vinyl then the thickness of the existing flooring should be taken into consideration as well when you decide on which nail and the length of the staples used. 

Scrubbing the Floor before Installing Luan/Vinyl


Scrub the floor to remove any debris from the floor before applying a very fine layer of motor or cement to the vinyl flooring this will serve as the base to apply the new top floor. Make sure to use a proper backing cement backing applied with screws works best for these types of renovation projects. 

The reason we clean the floor first before applying new top floor is to ensure there is a proper seal between the vinyl and top floor. 





1 comment:

  1. One note on staining Luan. I found that it is very porous and will absorb oil based stains very quickly, if you are staining it dark then a dark walnut will end up almost black. You can pre-stain with a gel stain which keeps the darker stain from being absorbed too much. I have prestained with a maple gel stain then applied a thin coat of dark walnut oil stain that gives a good, deep brown color, then polished with fine steel wool, or you can poly coat. This was over 1/4" red luan. As with anything always run a sample to see what happens.

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