When we moved to our apartment, there was a Saudi Arabian tent taking a huge part of the outdoor terrace. It was almost 3m height. آot only it blocked the view in front of our large window but it was also an old dirty tent full of sand. We managed to have a company taking out the tent. We were left with the cracked and broken concrete base.
This had to be covered so we bought an artificial lawn to cover it but it wasn’t a sustainable solution because the lawn, made of plastic was so damaged after the summer because of Riyadh weather.
We needed a solution which was resistant to the heat, dry weather and heavy rains in winter. We decided to cover the concrete base with wood and there are so many inspiration of DIY wood pallet project that found on the internet.
Almost every project we found was based on dismantling all the wood of the pallet and creating from scratch the flood. We wanted something easier to do. What we wanted is to keep the structure of the pallet but to dismantle only some of the wood to create a pallet without gaps.
The makeover turned out great! I would like to share our experience with you and how we have prepared the flooring step by step with pictures. We have had many difficulties but honestly, it turned out better than expected!
It took us four week-ends to work on installing the pallet flooring. We didn’t want to disturb the neighbors so we have worked on Fridays and Saturdays from the morning to 6 pm.
- Pry Bar (For dismantling the pallet wood)
- Metal brackets
Please note that pallets have different sizes, even the depth of planks can differ. We used the most clean pallets and the pallets with the same dimensions to get a regular final shape.
First thing we did was the planning of floor. We have calculated the dimensions of the concrete base and the pallets. We needed 9 pallets to cover the area. There would be 50 cm from each side. We thought about covering it with gravel! We bought 18 pallets to have extra wood.
1- Clean the area
We cleaned the area from the old artificial lawn, sand, leaves to have a clean base easy to work on.
2- Dismantling the pallet wood
This was the most difficult task because we didn’t have a pallet breaker to separate the planks from the pallet.
We wedge a pry bar between the layers of wood to dismantle next to the nails.We moved the pry bar to lift the piece of wood and loosen the nails and repeated the process to loosen the nail further. This requires strength and time because we used only hammers and Pry Bars. We had to be careful not to break the wood. This has to be done slowly and by rocking the pry bar around the nail. We used a hammer to hit the top to help wedge the pry bar between the wood planks as far as we could and then we pulled up the planks.
3 – Taking out the nails
We removed the nails from all the wood planks dismantled to fix them again in functional shapes. We have done this by flipping the wood over and hammer the nails out backwards.
This happens when you buy Made in China hammers! They break so easily. Hammers from Ikea were so much better.
4- Cover the pallet de-nailed frames
We filled the de-nailed frames pallets with the stripped wood that we dismantled earlier to have a surface without gaps on the pallets.
5 – Clean pallets
We cleaned the wood by applying a stain remover with a brush. we brushed it gently to avoid removing the existing finish from the wood then we washed everything with water using a sponge. We let the wood dry for a day as it was warm enough.
We did not sand the pallets because we had a flat surface and clean pallets. If you think it is necessary, you can do it with sandpaper to remove any remaining stain from the wood. Be careful as too much sanding can damage your pallets.
6 – Paint with Lacquer
We decided not to paint every assembled pallet but to place them on the “porch” and paint them with lacquer together. It’s so easy to apply and trust me, you don’t need to know how to paint!
We let the pallets dry for few days.
7 – Leveling
While filling the area with the pallets, we checked the level of the floor because there were some pallets which was less height than others. So we added planks under the pallets frames until we had a leveled floor.
8 – Attach the pallets
We have placed the pallets one by one and get them firmly intermingled with metal brackets to get them immovable and rooted together.
9 – Cover surrounding area with wood
We drilled into the concrete through the wood with a masonry bit and a drill. We blew the dust out of the hole then placed a plastic sleeve anchor and then the screws to attache the wood to the concrete.
10 – Fill with Gravel
An area of 50×50 cm was empty so we bought gravel to fill it with. We have paid a construction worker to bring some and place it.
If you want to do the same process at home, please wear rubber gloves, protective safety glasses an work clothes.