Ralph's Blog

Winning The Christmas Lottery!

Posted on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 @ 09:11 AM

Winning The Christmas Lottery!There’s nothing I enjoy more than settling in for Christmas at home with my family. It’s a time for good times with the people I love, gathered around the Christmas tree, sharing moments we’ll always cherish.

I remember one such moment with my wife’s side of the family—a moment we’re sure to talk about again this Christmas, like we do every year.

In addition to regular gifts, it’s a tradition in Rhonda’s family to have a $10 Secret Santa gift exchange every Christmas, just for fun. It’s a game where we pick gifts and “steal” them from each other, all trying to end up with a gift we want.

Some of the gifts are silly, meant to get laughs, which they do—but nobody wants them. Some of them are actually things worth having, but that gets laughs too as everyone angles to end up with one of those gifts. 

When Rhonda’s Uncle Curt put a $10 lottery ticket into the pile one year, that was the gift everyone wanted. That lottery ticket changed hands many times, but Rhonda finally ended up with it, and we all watched as she scratched off the ticket with a big smile. Of course, she didn’t expect to win anything but…

It was a $10,000 winner!

Needless to say, everyone went bonkers—screaming, jumping up and down, running around the room.

Everyone, that is, except for Uncle Curt, who—looking back on it—was curiously quite in his chair. He waited for us all to settle down, then with a knowing grin, he quietly said, “Did you read the back of it?”

Turns out it was a joke ticket. First there was a stunned silence, then we all broke out in crazy laughter. Some of us were literally rolling on the floor. Uncle Curt sure enjoyed it! I can guarantee that prank will come up again this year as we continue the Secret Santa tradition.

I’m very happy that memories like that are now happening in my home. I take great pleasure in being able to host family and friends every Christmas. Everyone happy together in the same room, with all the presents around the tree, is a beautiful sight. It’s what Christmas is all about.

Being a hardwood floor guy, I pay a lot of attention to flooring, and Christmas just wouldn’t seem right on anything other than a beautiful hardwood floor. Christmas is a time for traditions, and hardwood flooring is as traditional as you can get.

One Christmas when I was a kid, my family put off buying a Christmas tree until the last minute and ended up with a scraggly looking tree whose needles fell all over the hardwood floor. We still laugh about that memory, too.

My family now puts a tree in early, so we can be sure to get a great tree and begin to enjoy it sooner. But one thing hasn’t changed—the floors our Christmases happen on are beautiful hardwoods.

If you’d like your home to be a place where Christmas memories are made, but you’re not happy with how it looks, installing hardwood floors (or refinishing existing ones) can make you proud to open your door to guests again.  And like a Christmas tree, there’s no sense in putting it off—hardwood floors can last a lifetime, so why not go ahead and start enjoying them?

I know my family will be enjoying our hardwood floors this Christmas, as we make memories that we’ll still be telling our grandchildren years from now on the same floors. And we’ll be carefully watching Uncle Curt! No telling what he’ll pull.

Making memories is “Christmas Present.” In my next email, I’ll talk about “Christmas Future.” If you’d like to read about that scraggly Christmas tree in my “Christmas Past,” click here.

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

Ralph's Essential Guide to Selecting the Perfect Hardwood Floor

Tags: stories, why choose hardwood floors?

Lasting Beauty: Six Ways to Maintain Finished Hardwood Flooring

Posted on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 @ 13:11 PM

If you have new finished hardwood flooring in your home—congratulations! It’s impossible to beat the beauty and character of quality hardwood flooring.

Hardwood floors are easy! In fact, if you have hardwood floors, you have probably found them to be the easiest floors you have ever had to clean and maintain. 

Here are six useful tips that we’ve picked up in our decades of installing and refurbishing hardwood floors.

1. Realize that rugs, mats, and furniture pads are your friends.

To collect dirt and grime, it’s a good idea to place rugs or mats by entryways—as long as the coverings aren’t backed by rubber or other material that will harm finished hardwood flooring.

Rugs or mats can also be placed where water is likely to be spilled, such as around sinks in kitchens or bathrooms. Throughout the home, rugs can be used to protect flooring in high-traffic areas. Rugs also work beautifully to integrate the hardwood flooring into your overall interior design.

Furniture that is moved on a regular basis should have felt glides on all legs to protect your hardwood floors. You won't have to worry about a fidgety guest scooting around your floor if all of your chairs are equiped with felt glides. 

2. Consider leaving shoes at the door.

Shoes are one of the primary causes of wear and tear on finished hardwood flooring. Pebbles and grit can get lodged in the treads and can dent and scratch the floors. Spikey high heels can also dent almost any hardwood floor. Slippers and socks will be much more forgiving, but if you must wear shoes, make a habit of using a rough welcome mat or shoe brush/scraper outside the door before entering. Your hardwood floors are easy to live on, and with just a little precaution, you can have them looking great for years and years. 

high heels hardwood floors

3. We love our pets, don't bannish them from your home. 

It is no secret pet nails scratch or dent hardwood flooring. Dogs love to run and chase, it is all part of what makes us love them! Choosing the right floor is critical. A floor with a little grain or texture in the surface will be much easier to take care of if a dog is part of your family. 

White Oak Chevron With Dog Close Up

If your pet doesn't always make it outside to relieve himself, you may have problems with permanent damage. That being said, simply being mindful of their habits and watching out for accidents before they become a problem is the key. Hardwood floor finishes today are very tough and can hold up to the occasional accident as long as it is cleaned up quickly. When an accident is discovered, clean it up right away. 

4. Follow instructions for using cleaning products.

Manufacturers of prefinished hardwood flooring will provide guidance about what cleaners work best with their finish. If your hardwood floors were sanded and finished on site, the provider of your floor can recommend the right cleaner for your new flooring.

5. Clean spills immediately.

Even with modern water-resistant finishes, spills left sitting on a hardwood floor can result in damage. Large spills can soak between planks, warping the wood. Remember to wipe up spills as soon as you find them. If you have a large spill, call your hardwood floor specialist. They can help guide you on how to deal with the spill and hopefully avoid a lot of unnecessary expense. 

6. Routinely sweep or vacuum.

Even if you’re careful about what you track inside, finished hardwood flooring will inevitably collect some dirt and debris. Dusting, sweeping, or vacuuming regularly can help scratching and scuffing. If you choose to vacuum, remember to either use a non-rotating floor attachment or turn off the rotating beater bar on the unit.  

Tags: caring for your hardwood floors

Charlie Brown had nothing on us!

Posted on Sat, Nov 09, 2013 @ 08:11 AM

ChristmasChristmas is right around the corner, and like most people this time of year, my thoughts drift back to memories of when I was a kid. Getting our Christmas shopping done early, decorating the perfect Christmas tree, preparing food for days in anticipation of the big day. Okay, I’m not sure whose Christmas that was, but I know it wasn’t mine.

My family was a little unconventional when it came to Christmas. To say we procrastinated was putting it mildly. Nearly every year we would run out around noon on Christmas Eve to pick up a tree. We would run home, quickly decorate it, and get ready to head out for the church service that evening.

Have you ever been on a tree lot on the Eve of the biggest day of the year? Slim pickin’s doesn’t even begin to describe it. But we always had a tree, never mind how scrawny and dried up it may have been.

I laugh to myself when I think back on a particular Christmas party. It was our usual rush to get a tree, get it decorated, and get everything ready before company showed up.

My dad had a group of friends who always razzed him, and this year they were in prime form. When they walked across the floor and heard needles falling from our scrawny little tree, they couldn’t resist. Almost in unison, a clever idea came to them, and they all started jumping up and down trying to make as many needles fall as possible. Needless to say, by the time they were done jumping up and down (and then some of them rolling on the floor in laughter), there was nary a needle left on our pathetic little tree.

Dad thought this was incredibly funny, but I’m not sure my mom felt the same way. Looking back, I am sure she felt a little embarrassed.

My Christmas’s have changed quite a lot as I have grown and have a family of my own. Waiting to the last minute wasn’t a good idea then, and it isn’t a good idea now. I try to remember this in my business as well as my home life. When something causes my wife or myself embarrassment, we tend to take care of it sooner rather than later.

I think maybe there is a lesson here. Maybe you have a floor that is causing you embarrassment. The carpet is worn out and you can no longer get it clean, or you have a hardwood floor that no longer has any finish on it. The time to start is now. Feel proud of your home at your next party, rather than embarrassed.  Start the process now by visiting our showroom or giving us a call. Remember, next Christmas will be here sooner than you think.

Rushing around to find a tree was my Christmas past. In next month’s email, I’ll discuss my Christmas present, in which my family buys a beautiful tree early so we can settle in and enjoy it—just like your family and visitors to your home can sit back, relax, and enjoy your new hardwood floors once they’re installed. 

Photo courtesy of p u n t o. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Tags: stories, remodeling

The Personality of Hardwood Floors and Their Owners

Posted on Tue, Nov 05, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

Do you like to express your personality?

Most people do, especially when it comes to creative undertakings like planning their home and its interior design. That’s why one of the great appeals of custom hardwood floors is that there’s literally a world of options, so you can always find a look that fits in with your personal design and decorating preferences.

Actually, custom hardwood floors can do more than “fit in.” They can be the foundation of your home’s personality and uniqueness.

Going Exotic

When choosing the species of the wood for your finished hardwood flooring, you can widely expand your range of choices by looking beyond domestic species to the rest of the world. Asian Walnut, Brazilian Cherry, Brazilian Walnut, Santos Mahogany, and Spotted Gum are among the many exotic species available through quality hardwood flooring companies.

Your custom hardwood floors will definitely stand out if you have exotic wood flooring installed. And because of the huge range of exotic species available—each with a different color and grain pattern—you can be sure to make them stand out in a way that reflects your style.

Taking the Extra Step

Another way to give your custom hardwood floors a distinct personality is by adding finishing touches such as hardwood borders or medallions.

Hardwood borders range from feature stripes in doorways or passageways to elaborate, elegant borders that frame entire rooms.

Hardwood medallions can really let you make a personal statement, serving as your “signature.” Working with a hardwood flooring company, you can find a wide selection of quality hardwood medallions in countless designs.

Another nice finishing touch is to have wood vents that match the flooring—or risers and treads on staircases that match the floors.

Hardwood Treads Stairs

Being Colorful

Color and personality seem to go together. A person’s favorite color often says a lot about them, and your choice of hardwood colors will say a lot about the “feel” you want your floors to have. With custom hardwood floors, you can get about any color you want, so you can choose specific colors that appeal to you and convey your distinct personality and style.

Some people like a natural look and prefer not to stain, and there are many wood species that have remarkably beautiful natural color. But if you have a certain color in mind that you can’t find naturally—or if you just like stain—then your color choices are virtually unlimited.


Don’t underestimate the opportunity you have to express your personality when making decisions about custom hardwood floors. You have so many options of species, color, and special touches that you can be as creative and unique as you want. 

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, why choose hardwood floors?

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