Ralph's Blog

Sleds, Xbox….Jetpacks?

Posted on Sat, Dec 21, 2013 @ 08:12 AM

Christmas gift, Fantastic sledChristmas gifts for kids sure have changed—nowadays it seems they all need batteries or power cords.

It wasn’t like that when I was growing up. We powered our own toys! 

I love to remember one of my all-time favorite Christmas presents, which needed absolutely no electricity to enjoy.

In the days leading up to Christmas, I had an inkling something special was coming because my Dad kept disappearing into his workshop, and he wouldn’t let me follow him as he usually did. “What was he up to?” I kept wondering, hoping and hoping it had something to do with a present for me.

On Christmas morning, I finally got my answer. Dad had in fact been working on something for me—a really fantastic sled!

I was thrilled. Dad had built the sled entirely himself, and as usual he had done an excellent job with the craftsmanship. And a sled was just what I wanted.  There was a hill behind the barn on the farm where I grew up, and every time I saw it, it made me want a sled. This present was perfect.

My family, friends, and I took turns sliding my new sled down that hill all Christmas Day. It’s a great time I’ll always remember.

Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the way toys used to be. They seemed to require more creativity and effort to enjoy, and I think that made them special. It’s hard for me to imagine a video game being more fun than my sled was.

When I start feeling that way, I remind myself that it’s not the gifts that matter at Christmas—it’s togetherness with family. Whether it’s Dad and me trying out my new sled or my kids and me playing Xbox, the important thing is that we’re doing it together.

I bet my kids will feel the same way years from now when they’re giving gifts to their children—although who knows what they’ll be asking Santa Claus for 20 years from now!

I can’t picture the futuristic toys my grandchildren will be opening, but one thing I can clearly envision about future Christmases is all generations of our family gathered together in a cozy room—with hardwood floors.

Why do I see hardwood floors in that scene? For one thing, hardwood floors are the best flooring for bringing out the beauty of a Christmas tree and other holiday decorations. Hardwood floors have a time-honored charm that sets the perfect mood for the season.

But it’s also because, unlike today’s most-popular toys, hardwood floors are here to stay. They last a lifetime and don’t go out of style. On the same hardwood floors where iPads are now waiting wrapped under the Christmas tree, toy jetpacks (or whatever) will lie wrapped for the next generation.

It’s reassuring to me to know that some things about Christmas never change, and the traditional character of hardwood floors remind me of that. This year as my kids are opening toys that didn’t even exist when I was a kid, I’ll take comfort in the floor beneath my feet. Unlike those toys, I know it will last.

I completely expect hardwood floors to be part of my “Christmas Future." To read about their role in my “Christmas Past” click here. To get my thoughts on hardwoods and "Christmas Present," click here.

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

Tags: stories, why choose hardwood floors?

To Refinish or Replace Hardwood Flooring? 3 Key Issues to Consider

Posted on Tue, Dec 10, 2013 @ 16:12 PM

Even the best finished hardwood flooring starts to look worn out over time. When this happens, you have several options to get immaculate flooring again:

  • Recoating (A fresh coat of finish with no sanding).
  • Sanding and refinishing.
  • Replacement.

When you’re deciding between these choices, you should consider three fundamental issues.

1. Cost

By far, the most expensive option is replacing your finished wood flooring, while the least expensive is recoating. Your decision may be limited at the outset by what you can afford, but working with an expert hardwood flooring company, you might be surprised at how inexpensive new or re-sanded floors can be.

You can try to lower cost by doing the sanding, finishing, or installation yourself, but unless you really know what you’re doing, this can easily end up wasting money and time. Even if you get the project done, will it look as good as a professional job? Ask yourself if you can live with the results before deciding on DIY.

2. Age & Damage

Solid plank finished hardwood flooring can be sanded more often than engineered wood flooring, but even solid plank gets to the point where it doesn’t have enough thickness to be sanded anymore. If you can see the tongue and groove where the boards join, it’s time for replacement.

However, if you have enough wood for sanding, dustless sanding works great to remove signs of normal wear and tear before refinishing.

In fact, sanding might not even be necessary. If your floors aren’t scratched, stained, or dented, a simple recoating can restore their luster.

Sometimes a particular section may show extreme damage—such as warping due to water damage, pet stains, exposure to sun, or gouging—but the rest of the floor is relatively fine. In that case, you might be able to get by with replacing only that section. Talk to a finished hardwood flooring expert to find out what’s feasible.

3. Appearance

When it’s time to refurbish or replace their hardwood flooring, it’s also an opportunity to change the look and feel of your floors.

Keep in mind that staining after sanding can dramatically alter appearance. Staining can produce countless hardwood colors to create the new mood you want.

But sometimes replacement is the only way to get the look you envision. For example, if you have oak flooring but you want an exotic wood floor, you’re obviously going to need an entirely new floor! Likewise, if you want to change the width or length of boards, or their direction, you’ll have to rip up the old floor and replace it.

For many people, however, this cost is well worth it—it buys them the finished wood flooring that will truly make them happy.

Tags: restoring hardwood floors, dustless sanding, about hardwood floors, remodeling

Hardwood Floors Bring Beauty to Kitchens

Posted on Wed, Dec 04, 2013 @ 17:12 PM

If you love the character and style of hardwood floors, why not have them in your kitchen?

In most homes, the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms, where people often gather. That’s why they’re a perfect place to show off gorgeous hardwood floors.

And because hardwood floors are durable and easy to maintain, they’re perfect for the heavy use most kitchens experience.

Why Hardwoods Look Great in Kitchens

A hardwood floor can make a kitchen feel more cozy, comfortable, and inviting. It brings warmth to the room.

Putting hardwood floors in the kitchen can also help pull together your interior design if you have hardwood floors in other parts of your home, creating a seamless appearance. Finished hardwood flooring can draw the kitchen into the “flow” of the rest of the home.

Because of the central role a kitchen has in most homes, hardwood floors can make it a showpiece room that gets plenty of “oohs and aahs.”

Easy Care

Hardwood floors are also easy to keep clean. Spills can easily be wiped up, and the floor is no problem to sweep.

In potentially high-moisture areas of the kitchen, such as around the sink and dishwasher, you might want to use rugs to protect the floor.

And because hardwood floors are so long-lasting, you won’t have to worry about replacing the floor any time soon due to the kitchen’s heavy use.

Once hardwood floors are installed in a kitchen, you’ve just got to enjoy them.


Whether you’re selecting flooring for a new home or planning a kitchen remodel, hardwood floors in a kitchen not only look gorgeous and classy, they perform wonderfully and are easy to care for. Come by our showroom or give us a call to discuss how you can make your kitchen look stunning with hardwood floors.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, caring for your hardwood floors

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