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Because nearly all houses feature a plywood subfloor, creative DIYers may want to take a page from historical homes: skip additional flooring and simply paint the subfloor. Painted or stenciled designs have been used to add interest to flooring since the 1700s, and often patterns were designed to emulate wood grains or marble textures in a process called trompe l'oeil. Keep in mind that plywood is susceptible to water damage, so if you decide to go with this classic flooring alternative, you'll have to apply a waterproof sealer.
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