Originally we placed laminate from lumber liquidators but we found out later that they released cancer-causing chemicals at higher than approved levels so we decided to throw them out. Initially we thought that sanding our floors would be too hard but at this point it was the cheaper option and after doing it, I wish we had done it from the beginning and not bothered with laminate woods.
We rented a sander from Home Depot and got to work doing three passes with the sander. For each room we start with a coarse sanding and move our way down to a fine sanding. We then make sure to clean all dust in the area by vacuuming and mopping with a slightly damp rag. We then had to wait for everything to dry completely before staining.
We tested our color selection in a closet corner so that we wouldn’t have to regret our color choices somewhere someone else might see it. You basically just rub in the stain and don’t actually have to glob it on. Once that is complete and dry we just applied a couple coats of the polyurethane to protect the wood. We did learn that it is better to have multiple thin layers than one large layer of polyurethane. This process took a couple of days and during that time we lived in a tent in our backyard but we were so happy with the results. Again, not a professional job, and I definitely can see the flaws but I can live with them.
I always felt that molding added to the elegance of a house so we planned to have crown molding, chair molding, and new baseboards. Baseboards are pretty simple to install, just measure twice and cut once. Chair molding is also just as easy. Molding around doors and windows is also pretty easy to do.
The only trick I learned halfway through was to cut everything and make sure it is properly sized and then paint everything before installing it. This made it easier than having to paint all the pieces in place. You do end up having to touch up some spots where you use the brad nails to hold the boards in place but that is much easier than having to run painters tape.
Crown molding though is a lot harder and confusing to properly do. I basically found some guides online for inside and outside corners and practiced a bit. In the living room where I knew I didn’t want to make mistakes because of how large the pieces involved are I used corner pieces. Since the vendors know you are buying this because you don’t know how to do corners, they are pretty expensive but end up looking very nice.