Ralph's Blog

Community…It’s Everyone’s Responsibility

Posted on Thu, May 31, 2012 @ 14:05 PM

Community 2000 Golf Sign Up2A few years ago, my dad approached me about golfing in a local charity event to help support Community 2000.  I thought it would be fun to golf with dad some of my other relatives, so I said yes.    To be honest, at that point I really didn’t know much about the organization.  At the time, they were located in the town where I grew up and just a few blocks from where our business is located.  I golfed in the event year after year, and as I did, I learned more about this organization and what they do.    

We All Need a Little Help Sometime

Sharing success stories was something they did every year.  We were able to hear, first hand, about the people we were helping in our local community.   One of the stories that stands out in my memory is about a couple who had both been diagnosed with cancer.   They had health insurance when they were diagnosed, but as their illnesses progressed they could no longer work, and thus lost their health insurance.   In addition to trying to cover their normal living expenses, they now had mounting health bills on top of this.  Community 2000 was able to help provide them assistance with finding a job and also connected them with other financial resources to help with their living expenses and medical bills.

The common theme in the stories they share is that people who are being helped have a really hard time asking for assistance. They have always been able to pay their bills and make their own way in life, but due to unfortunate circumstances they just can’t right now. They just need a little help to get back on their feet.

Recently I spoke with the director of Community 2000.  I was trying to gain a better understanding of how their program worked and what their standards were.  I discovered that there really were no standards, as every situation is so different.   One person may just need help paying their bills as they are short of money and payday isn’t until the end of the month.   Sometimes a person may be in a domestic abuse situation that requires helping them make a life-changing decision.  The counselors work hard to gain trust so they can address the entire problem and help people more fully.   The goal of Community 2000 is to give the short-term assistance needed, with the end result of helping people become self sustaining once again. A big part of what they do is networking with other area resources, such as domestic abuse and crisis centers, mental health organizations, and organizations that help provide financial assistance and/or job training programs.

They Need Help ~ Here's What You Can Do

With the stagnant economy over the last few years, two things have happened.  First, the demand for their services is greater.   Second, there are fewer people who can help with events such as the golf outing.   If you are golfer and would like to participate in this event, you may still do so.  If you are not a golfer and simply want to help, you could consider sponsoring a hole.  You may also attend the after-golf dinner for small fee.  Contact Juli at Community 2000 for more information.  Their phone number is 920-833-0277.


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Tags: Ralph's news & events

Ralph's Hardwood Floors Congratulates Another Winner!

Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 @ 08:05 AM

Congratulations to Tom Walters, winner of our recent Kindle Fire promotion. Tom visited the Ralph's Hardwood Floor booth at the WBAY Home and Garden Expo in March and entered the drawing through our website. We are very pleased Tom took the time to stop and say "hi" at the show and visited our website to enter.

One day last week, Tom took a drive out to the showroom. Taking advantage of the beautiful weather, he put the top down on the convertible to enjoy the country air and sunshine. Which explains the big smile he wore when he came through the door...or was it the Kindle Fire he just won, it's hard to tell.  

There is just something about making someone's day. It feels so good to give someone such a great prize, especially when that person is as nice as Tom and as appreciative of a really fun and useful product. 

I can't wait to see what our next promotion is going to be. Keep checking back at the website and anywhere you find the team from Ralph's Hardwood Floors. We want to make you our next winner!!!

Thanks again to Tom for participating in our contest. Tom (Left) is pictured below with Rod Lorenz, President and second-generation owner of Ralph's Hardwood Floors. 


Kindle Drawing Winner 005

Tags: Ralph's news & events

Exotic hardwood floors from A to Z

Posted on Tue, May 22, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

From Australian Spotted Gum to Zimbabwean Bamboo, exotic hardwoods come from all over the globe.

wood globe

Not as common as traditional maple or oak flooring, exotics are gaining in popularity in the United States and given the number of varieties, an option can be found for any interior design style. 

Here is an overview of some exotics you should consider for your next floor project.

Spotted Gum

Boasting a high hardness rating, Australian Spotted Gum hardwood floors are ideal for high-traffic environments. Spotted Gum’s grain has a beautiful fiddle-back effect, and its color variation ranges from chocolate brown to soft cream. 


Also called Brazilian Teak, Cumaru is a dense wood from Brazil that has a unique, interlocking grain. Medium brown and beige tones make any room with Cumaru flooring warm and inviting.

Santos Mahogany

One of the most coveted hardwood floors, Santos Mahogany has the enviable quality of being as resplendent as it is durable. Deep red and brown tones make a striking impression, and an astounding hardness rating makes it incredibly durable.

Brazilian Walnut

Brazilian Walnut has a unique color range, from light to dark olive brown with contrasting grey-brown tones, creating a veritable symphony of color that softens over time. It also has a fantastic hardness rating, making this exotic wood a tremendous value.

Brazilian Cherry

Brazilian Cherry is extremely popular and makes for an exquisite exotic hardwood floor. Varying shades of reds and browns with occasional strokes of black create depth and contrast that is truly stunning. It’s a heavy wood and hard to cut, making it one of the most durable options.


Bamboo has only recently been utilized as flooring, but it's a trend that is quickly catching on. Because of its unique aesthetic appeal, Bamboo is best suited for kitchens, bathrooms, laundry and recreation rooms. Versatile, durable, and environmentally beneficial, this exotic floor makes a lasting impression.


Amendoim has a lustrous quality with deep tan and reddish-brown hues that darken over time. Also called Brazilian Oak, Amendoim hardwood has a distinctive wavy grain.

Make an impression by installing an exotic wood floor in your home. The superior quality and aesthetic appeal of these woods will not only increase the beauty of your home, but the value as well.


Photo by alex.ch. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, types of hardwood used in flooring

Understanding the benefits of dustless sanding.

Posted on Mon, May 14, 2012 @ 10:05 AM

The idea of dustless sanding sounds like a fantasy but it is real and has real benefits.

sawdust floor

Don't let fear of dust prevent you from reviving a beautiful floor.

Older hardwood floors can reclaim their past glory with a professional sanding treatment. Many homeowners, however, are reluctant to commit to such a project because of the mess and hassle from all the dust generated in the process. Not looking forward to dust in light fixtures, drapes, or inside every cabinet, the dream of  reviving those beautiful floors easily becomes abandoned due to the daunting after-project clean up. Keep reading...the solution is here. 

Dust can be dangerous.

Even for homeowners who are prepared for the mess, the health risks of breathing in dust should  be minimized. OSHA guidelines for wood dust suggest it is “a potential health problem when wood particles from processes such as sanding and cutting become airborne. Breathing these particles may cause allergic respiratory symptoms, mucoul and non-allergic respiratory symptoms, and cancer.” 

The answer is simple - eliminate the dust before it gets into the air.

Dustless sanding is a highly beneficial option of which many homeowners are not aware. A state-of-the-art Atomic Dust Containment System is a vacuum that continually extracts dust and stores it outside your home in an self-contained unit. Dust is removed as it is created, helping maintain a healthy, breathable environment during and after the sanding process.

Be proactive, save yourself the frustration and preserve your health, and let the Atomic Dust Containment System work hard so you don’t have to. Your lungs and your sanity will thank you for it.

Photo by Jazz Guy. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Tags: restoring hardwood floors, dustless sanding, remodeling

More than maple - hardwood floors for any style.

Posted on Wed, May 02, 2012 @ 16:05 PM

When replacing old flooring or installing a new floor, it's important to look for woods that suit the size of rooms and style of furnishings. The right wood can transform a room and when maple doesn't fit the plan, it's easy to find a suitable alternative.


Most consumers are familiar with traditional hardwoods for flooring, but there is a broad variety of alternative woods available, each with their own advantages. Depending on the style and decor of the home, different types of hardwood floors can offer an almost infinite variety of shades, grains, hardness and texture.

Red Oak, with a darker hue than maple, is a beautiful wood that adds class and distinction to any home. A polished oak floor hints at the luxury of an old English country house. It is more stable than maple, resilient, with a lightly textured surface that is great for disguising dents and scratches

Ash floors are also more stable than maple, with a more distinctive grain. It's a tough and very practical choice for floors that get a lot of use. Available in select and rustic grades, ash creates a relaxed and casual look that is attactive in almost any home.

American Cherry floors, though softer than maple, have a soft pleasing grain and an attractive red-brown color that, like fine wine, matures to become rich and mellow. Select boards look very elegant, but even the rustic grade can be a stunning addition to any home.

For something a little more exotic, Brazilian Walnut flooring can deliver show-stopping results. This is a seriously hard wood compared to maple, with a striking color, varying between light to dark olive brown, flecked with hints of golden-brown or gray-brown. The polished boards can give a home a really luxurious feel. The beauty does not come at the expense of practicality. The toughness is reflected in its characteristic smooth finish.

The wide variety of hardwood floors available can offer solutions to every situation. The key is to look at the practical requirements of your home, consider the degree of wear the floor will undergo, and the amount of natural light in the rooms.

A hardwood floor appeals for practical and aesthetic reasons. Nothing looks as stylish and elegant as polished hardwood flooring.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, types of hardwood used in flooring

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