DIY on a Dime: Taking a Builder’s grade Island to the next level with Planking


Okay guys, so I have been feeling very antsy for some type of project lately. Lucky for me I had a little VACAY time this month (thank the Lord!), so my Dad drove to Charlotte for what I like to call, “construction boot camp.” My poor Dad… thank goodness he loves me because I work him to the bone sometimes. I have had this little island dream floating around in my head full of house plans for some time, and that was one of the many projects that we completed this week. How many of you guys loathe the phrase, “builder’s grade?” I am right with ya. I don’t know, there’s just something about that phrase makes me wrinkle my nose like I have just smelled a rotten onion. “Builder’s grade,” just sounds so BASIC. And WE are not basic – said as I drink my PSL, in ugg boots and a messy bun. Actually, I am lying lol no pumpkin spice latte for this diva who is currently snowed in and still in pajamas. Ain’t no reason to get dressed when there are six full inches of cold, wet white stuff on the ground.


Well, I suppose while I am snowed in being a total laze, I can let you all in on a little well – kept secret… There is beauty in the builder’s grade. Yep. I said it. Even builder’s grade can be made beautiful with a little TLC and I am going to show you how.

Do you remember the BEFORE kitchen?? I try not to.

A82CC6CA-4783-4555-8450-089227087BD5Let’s first take a little walk down memory lane and remember what my little “babe cave” kitchen looked like before it got its prima donna makeover. Paint is a wonder y’all. I am 99 percent sure they will put that on my tombstone one day. Paint has the power to transform on a tiny budget – and that is why I love it so darn much. If you want to go back in time and see my full painted kitchen remodel click the photo below.

11D964D0-E4A9-46F5-BC53-5519E07D909DAbove is the photo of my island before. I loved it just the way it was, but my sister had some leftover floor planks from her new house and an idea had hatched that just wouldn’t leave me alone, so I went for it. I think with every project there is a risk of you disliking the end result, and with this one, it was the same. I was very nervous that I would end up hating what it looked like but I went with my gut and I am very glad that I did.


DSCN0935The very first thing that I did was start lining up my planks. This is kind of sporadic project, you have to plan as you go because it is a puzzle getting the planks together where you want them.  I wanted a variety of lengths because I wanted it to look very unplanned and random, so I would pick my planks out and then send them outside to have my dad cut them down to length.

DSCN0952While he was cutting I was inside with the caulk gun, lining the backside of each plank with builders grade project glue, which you can find at any home improvement store. You have to glue as you go because the glue does dry fairly fast. DSCN0948

DSCN0943Plank flooring has a lip on it like you see above. As a secondary measure to secure the planks onto the front of the island, we drilled a few screw holes in EACH plank (They would probably kill me in wood shop for calling them screw holes). Then we rounded the screw holes out with a rounding drill bit. That was just so the screws would fit nicely under the next plank when it was installed.

DSCN0939I ended up whitewashing the island planks in the same teal that I had painted the island with. Whitewashing is just a method where you water down your paint. Most people do it with white, but you can do it with any color. You mix two parts of your paint with one part water. I wanted to whitewash the planks because if you are whitewashing over wood it allows some of the natural wood grain to shine through, and it also gives it a more rustic feel. I painted one test piece before I painted the whole island. This is always a good idea when you are doing a big project with paint because you want to know that you will like it before you sell your soul.


After all the planks were installed it looked like this. And then the fun part began. I whitewashed all the planks with a regular paint brush. Whitewash paint is very thin so it is easily damaged until you seal it with a sealant. I used this to my advantage, and after the paint dried a bit I took a soft clean rag and just distressed the paint a bit in several areas. When I was happy with the look I took another clean cloth and wiped the whole face of the island down with Wipe on Poly by Minwax. Wipe on Poly is just polyurethane sealant, which seals the paint so that it can no longer be easily damaged. It really is a miracle in a bottle, and it has saved my butt on many a project.





E50FA8A8-BB31-4A49-AA89-D6074C836100The very last thing that we did was add the trim, and presto: one island that could pass for custom-built on any day of the week. DIY can definitely be scary, but it can also pay off. This is a project that can give a lot of bang for its buck. I spent a whopping $16 on the oak for the trim pieces. I got the planking for free because my sister was throwing it out, and I used paint and sealant that I already had. If you are planning on doing a project similar and need cheap wood flooring try a Habitat Restore. They always have boxes upon boxes of discounted plank flooring and the money you spend goes to a good place! And for less than fifty bucks and a little elbow grease, your island can go from blah to bam in a matter of hours. And that guys, is what I like to call a good days work!


Megan Marie

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