Ralph's Blog

Dimensions of Hardwood Flooring: One Size Doesn’t’ Fit All

Posted on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

One very effective way of adding personality to your custom hardwood floors is by adjusting the dimensions of the boards used.

Hardwood floor width typically varies from 1 ½ inches to a foot, while length generally ranges from one foot to seven feet. You can choose the dimensions within those ranges that please you, and your choices will play a key role in creating the character of your hardwood flooring.

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The trends in hardwood flooring widths are constantly shifting. Currently, wider planks are extremely popular. Wider boards allow more of the grain characteristics to show, and they are ideal for wide, open spaces. Wider boards generally create a casual feel, while narrow boards fit great in a formal room—which is one reason they continue to be the choice of many. We have also seen a rise in demand for random-width flooring.

A random width offers great performance, an interesting look, and excellent value for the cost. One consideration to keep in mind when choosing width is that the wider the boards, the shorter the room will look, while thinner boards will make a room look larger. It’s also important to talk with your hardwood floor company about the best width—based on the humidity conditions in a room—to prevent cupping, crowing, or gapping.


The most common choice regarding length is to use random-length boards. Not only is this less-expensive, it creates visual interest. Generally speaking, longer boards tend to create a formal, elegant feel, while shorter boards are more casual.

Takeaway Point

When selecting hardwood floors, choosing the dimensions of the boards is an important aspect of achieving the feel you want. We’ll be happy to work with you to help you decide on the best dimensions for your interior design goals.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, about hardwood floors

The Appeal of Dark Hardwood Floors

Posted on Wed, Sep 25, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

Many people fall in love with dark hardwood colors. Rich, dark finished hardwood flooring can:

  • Help create a classic, formal look.
  • Make a room seem cozier.
  • Be used to create a pleasing contrast with lighter colored furnishings, drapery, rugs, etc.
  • Be paired with dark furnishings, drapery, rugs, etc. to unify a room.

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If you’re considering dark finished hardwood flooring in your home, you can get it in three ways.

1. Natural color

Many woods are naturally dark, so you can simply select a dark-colored species, such as black walnut. A natural dark color is what many people are after when they install exotic wood floors, using woods such as Brazilian teak or Jarrah.

2. Stain

Stain allows you to choose from a wide variety of hardwood floors, and common hardwood choices such as oak flooring usually stains very easily.

There are some limitations based on the type of wood, but generally speaking you can stain floors as dark as you want, all the way up to practically black.

3. Stain accenting natural color

Working with a hardwood flooring specialists, you can enhance the color of natural woods with stain—not significantly altering the color, but adding warmth to its tone. Using stain to emphasize a natural color, many woods can be darkened in a way that brings out their natural beauty.

What About Dust, Dirt, and Scratches?

Dark hardwood flooring has a reputation for showing dust, dirt and scratches, and there’s truth in that perception. Compared to lighter colors, dark hardwood colors do contrast more with light-colored things that end up on the floor, making those things stand out, just as dirt is more obvious on a dark car than a light one.

With dust and dirt, there’s little that can be done other than to keep the floors swept or vacuumed regularly. You can minimize the look of scratching by choosing a grainier wood.

If you expect your floors to receive a lot of wear and tear—from children or pets, for example—you should be somewhat wary of dark hardwood colors.

Explore Your Options

If you think dark hardwood colors might be just the right fit for your taste and interior design goals, start investigating your choices by talking with a hardwood floor expert. You’ll learn what will work, how much it will cost, and what alternatives you have.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, hardwood floor colors

I searched the world over and thought I found…

Posted on Sat, Sep 21, 2013 @ 08:09 AM

the perfect coffee table

A few years ago, my wife, Rhonda, decided it was time for a new coffee table. We knew what we wanted—we just had to find it.

Sounds simple, right? Well, it didn’t turn out that way.

As in the song from the old Hee Haw show, we “searched the world over” for our “true love”—in this case, the coffee table we envisioned.

But all we found were a bunch of tables that essentially looked the same. Most were similar pieces of Chinese-manufactured furniture simply “dressed up” differently in a mass-produced style. None of them was what we wanted for our home.

“You see what we have; that’s it” was the attitude we encountered from salespeople.

Finally, we sought out a furniture store that created custom coffee tables, and so—at last—we found the table we’d been searching for.

We wasted a lot of time by not going immediately to a company that does custom work. We knew what we wanted—we should have just gone out and gotten it!

The lesson I took from this experience is that if you’re okay with a stock product with little distinction, then you can just go out and pick it up in no time at all. But if you have a unique look and style in mind, then you’re going to need customization from a company that knows how to make your vision a reality.

Don’t waste your time searching in the wrong places!

Without a doubt, that’s true with hardwood floors. If you go to the stores where you’ll find bargain-price hardwood flooring, your options are going to be limited. And good luck finding someone who has the interest and expertise to truly help you.

You won’t have those problems at Ralph’s Hardwoods Floors. You’ll get better-installed, longer-lasting floors that make you happy—rather than generic floors that leave you feeling uninspired. You definitely won’t be wanting to replace them again in a few years.

When it comes to hardwood floors, you don’t have to “search the world over” to find your “true love.” You just need to stop by our showroom or give us a call.


Photo courtesy of Wickerfurniture. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Tags: stories, custom hardwood flooring, about Ralph's

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