Hardwood floors provide a rich look in any home and in any room. They are naturally durable, so you will be able to enjoy the beauty of that wood floor for many years — generations, even.
For do-it-yourselfers, the very first thing to do after you buy the wood and bring it home is to let the wood adjust to the site. Don't do anything with it for the first 24 hours.
Next, prepare the room in which you intend to install the wood. Try to keep dust to a minimum and keep a stable level of temperature during the installation process. You might want to seal doorways with plastic film and mask off any surfaces you feel need to be protected.
Solid hardwoods must be sealed on all sides, not just the top, because moisture can pass through the back, edges or ends as easily as from the exposed top. Pay particular attention to the sealing of any ends that will be exposed to moisture, such as areas near an exterior door or a ceramic or marble floor that will be mopped. Now lay the floor as directed by the manufacturer.
Sanding is next. For wood flooring, it is recommended that you sand it three times with successively finer grades of paper. Be sure to sweep and vacuum the floor thoroughly after each sanding.
Now it is time to stain the floor. Apply stain generously with a brush and follow the manufacturer's recommendations and directions.
Once the stain is dry, apply the first finish coat and let it dry. Once it is dry, sanding is in order again. Sweep and vacuum when finished. Finish by wiping with a lightly dampened, lint-free cloth to clean the surface completely.
Sand, clean and coat once again. The second or third finish coat will be what gives you the desired result. Sanding between each coat is required.
You're done. Yes, it is a lot of work, but just think of how proud you will be of your finished product. Then again, you can hire someone to do it for you. Either way, you will have a beautiful floor that will be enjoyed for many, many years.