This is what my living room floor looks like right now after I ripped out the carpet (God-awful mauve). There were many, many staples and nails. The old finish is very dark and there are a lot of chips and dings in the floor. I don't mind the chips and dings, though. I think they add character to the house.
I've started the sanding, but it is taking quite some time to get through the old paint splatters and the old varnish, so it's getting done a little at a time.
The dust! Ugh! I didn't think to cover the furniture or anything the first day I sanded. I thought the little bag on the back end of the sander would catch all the dust. It only catches a fraction of it. So, now I cover the furniture and stuff. Now, I just have to vacuum off the walls, wood stove and ceiling fan after each sanding session.
The wood has this beautiful golden glow with a pinkish-orangish tint to it. I'm not sure if this floor is red oak or if that's the color that oak turns after 140 years. When we gutted our bedroom to put insulation in the walls, we found the entire house is built with true 1x10 and 1x12 pine planks (inside and outside) and we decided to leave the wood exposed rather than cover it with drywall again. When we sanded it down (it was rough sawn) we found that it also had a beautiful golden glow that new pine lumber does not have. So the color of the flooring could just be due to it's age. In either case, I absolutely love it.
I was doing the sanding on Fridays (my day off from work) because nobody was home to get in the way or bother with the dust. I've had to put the sanding on hold until after Christmas because I just can't cover the tree with out knocking all the ornaments off and my daughter is home on Christmas Vacation. I can't fill the living room with sawdust when she's here (asthma). So, I will resume after New Year's. I can hardly wait to see it all done. It's going to be so pretty.