Refinishing your own floors isn't that hard to do, it's just tedious. You need to rent a floor sander and use a hand sander for the edges. Ear protection is a must as the sanders are very noisy. You should also wear a respirator or at the very least a mask because the wood dust is very fine. We rented the floor sander from the hardware store (Orchard Supply, or "OSH" for those of you in northern California). In the past we've rented floor sanders from that "orange" big box home improvement center and found them to be pretty beat up. Plus, the last time we rented one from them we saw they'd removed the skirt at the bottom that helps keep the dust contained (all of the sanders had it removed, why we don't know). Without that skirt there was A LOT of wood dust. I had to constantly use the shop vac while my husband ran the sander. The sander we rented from OSH is an orbital sander from Varathane and it works pretty well to sand and vacuum at the same time. It's really easy to push and you just have to move it around the floor...back and forth, back and forth. It takes a while and uses up lots of heavy grit sandpaper to get through the tough varnish, especially the oil-based stuff they used in the late 60's when our house was built. But eventually you can switch to a finer grit sandpaper and then finish it off with the finest grit. The next step is staining and varnishing. We use water-based polyurethane and put on about 4-5 coats.