After spending the night tearing up several layers of flooring to reveal hardwood floors, I was a bit in awe at their good condition and then bewildered as to what I should do next.
I'm trying to be economical, but I also want something that looks cool.
Any suggestions would be appreciated!...
Here is the background to the floors:
First, there was a hideous green faux marble ceramic tile that was shaking loose due to shoddy installation.
Under that, there was 3/4-inch plywood both screwed and nailed down. Under that, the same blue-green linoleum tile inflicted throughout the house. White linoleum was next. Checkerboard roll linoleum after that.
A thin piece of plywood and then what was probably the original 1901 flooring with a paper backing. Finally, relatively intact hardwood floors.
The fact that you have good, solid hardwood floors is awesome, but to really make them shine you have to go a bit further. What you should do next is sand them with a floor sander and then seal them with polyurethane. You can also consider staining them once you have sanded them.
Sanding and sealing is really best done by a professional, as they will come in with equipment, work quickly and be gone. They charge by the square foot, so getting a quote for your clear hall is easy.
If you want to do it by yourself it will take a little longer, but you CAN rent equipment and do it yourself if you are careful, patient and use good common sense.
Sanding is quick (but messy) and you can typically sand and put on one coat of poly on day one. You want at least three coats of poly and each one really should dry for one day or 12-24 hours depending on whether you use oil or water based. Water based dries quicker and is generally better for the environment.