||04-16-2006 03:52 PM
Let me say this, if you sand the floor, the exposed and unprotected wood will take stains easily, and be less resistive to climatic changes. It'll also get more easily damaged. For a short period of time, that might not be a big deal.
Sanding your floor will throw up a lot of dust but this will occur whether you do it now, or do it later. In any case, the walls will need to be cleaned. Sawdust will cling to painted AND unpainted walls. It will also find its way into other parts of the house if you don't take precautions. Seal off the entire area with plastic (doorways or hallways). Finish the floor entirely (sand, stain, clear coat). Clean the walls with a vacuum. Cover the floor and then paint.
On the other hand, paint the walls. You might be tempted not to worry about the floor since you're going to refinish it anyway. If you get too much paint on the floor though, you'll use a lot of sand paper (which isn't cheap for those machines). After the paint completely cures, refinish the floor and then vaccum the walls. Either way, you will do each of the steps and get the same results.
The only way to eliminate a vacuum on the walls would be to plastic off the walls. This isn't such a bad idea, but you'd have to seal it off completely with a good quality painters tape and some plastic. It would be tough to do.
If it were me, I'd do the walls first just because I wouldn't have to be so particular about painting on a newly refinished wood floor.