Ralph's Blog

Hardwood Floors in The Sanctuary of Your Home

Posted on Sat, Jul 26, 2014 @ 08:07 AM

Hardwood floors in the sanctuary of your homeWe’ve got an upcoming project that we’re very pleased to do—helping the Grace Lutheran Church in Green Bay get the look they want in their sanctuary.

The sanctuary’s hardwood altar and step area are curved, and the church needs curved hardwood nosing to match. We’re going to make it happen for them. 

We’ve been helping churches install and maintain hardwood floors for decades, and we love doing it. We consider it a privilege, and it’s a pleasure to see how tasteful, beautiful, and appropriate hardwood floors look in churches. They have just the right warm, comfy, inviting tone.

Plus, it’s a special feeling to work on floors that are going to be shared by so many in the community. 

As much as we value working on churches, we don’t do anything different for them than we do for homeowners. Whether it’s a floor to be used by two people or 200, we approach all jobs with the same passion—to give the client the look and performance they want.

Curved Hardwood Staircase

This is a sample picture of a curved hardwood staircase

There’s virtually nothing you’ll see in the hardwood floors in a church (or any other nonresidential building) that you can’t get in your home.

Consider these recent church projects we’ve done and how they relate to residential options:

Zion Methodist Church in Forest Junction, Wisc.—Because we used an ultraviolet (UV) finishing technique, the church had a completely cured floor as soon as we left. (We use the same UV finishing technique for homeowners all the time. It’s a great solution for anyone who wants to be able to use the floor right away with no disruption.)

Stella Maris Churches in Egg Harbor, Wisc., and Bailey’s Harbor, Wisc. —Both of these churches were worried about people slipping on the hardwood floors, so we finished them with an anti-slip finish. (This anti-slip finish is available to any homeowner worried about falling, such as an elderly person.)

Saint Thomas Church in Newton, Wisc. —To make sure people could see a raised section and not trip over it, we made the bull nosing (i.e., step down) of the platform- section a different color. (Similarly, we often help homeowners create raised areas- in their homes, with customized bull nosing.

The scale of the job may be bigger in churches and other nonresidential projects—but our attention to detail, insistence on superior craftsmanship, use of innovative technology, and focus on outstanding customer service always stays the same. 

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


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

Hardwood Floors in a Masterpiece...Come and Be Inspired

Posted on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 15:07 PM

It's almost that time again, and everyone in the building trade is getting pumped!

So what’s all the buzz about? The 2014 Summer Parade of New Homes, which is put on by the Valley Home Builders Association in August. And then in September, the 2014 Showcase of New Homes, put on by the Brown County Home Builders Association.

C & C Showcase Home 2012

If you have never been to a Parade or Showcase, my only question is why not? Twice a year, builders and their subcontractors get the opportunity to show off their work. Walking through these beautiful homes is a lot of fun for the whole family, and I always get a lot of great ideas for my own home, just by browsing what is new and cool this year. 

We all need to update our homes on occasion, or maybe building your dream home is in your future. The Parade and Showcase are the very best way to see what home innovations, decorating styles, and materials will best suit your lifestyle.

And if you are looking for a contractor, this is the perfect place to find someone who thinks like you think, and would build like you would build if you had the time and expertise. 

There is so much to look at: creative architecture, a wide range of decorating styles, elegant furniture, lovely landscaping, really cool hardwood floors, and the latest in windows, cabinets, countertops, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures,  appliances, sound systems, security systems, and so much more. Visitors to the Parade and Showcase are often astounded when they see what’s available to them in their own home.

So don't miss out. Even if you’re not looking to build a new home or remodel, the Parade and Showcase are entertaining ways to spend a few hours for anyone who loves seeing beautiful homes and is curious.

The Parade is Aug. 16-17 and Aug. 21-24 (remodeling/landscape projects open Aug. 22-24); the Showcase is Sept. 20-21 and Sept. 25-28. Visit our Events page to check out where to see the fine craftsmanship found with a Ralph's Hardwood floor. The project addresses will be posted over the next few weeks.

Hope to see you there!!!

Tags: about Ralph's

The Driftwood…You’ll be tempted to vacation at home.

Posted on Sat, Jul 12, 2014 @ 08:07 AM

The Driftwood…You’ll be tempted to vacation at home. One of the things that helped me get through this particularly long, brutal winter was the thought of visiting my friends’ beach house when the weather warmed. 

Their home was new—located on the shores of Lake Michigan—and they had invited us to come spend a few days. During all those months shoveling snow, I was dreaming of warm summer breezes and sipping lemonade by the water.

When we arrived a few weeks ago, their place was amazing—even more picturesque and relaxing than I had imagined. They had a nice lot near the beach, with a breathtaking view of the water.

wide-plank white oak with a wire-brushed surface

The home itself had a distinctive “beach” feel. It was light and airy, and I felt the weight of the world lift from my shoulders as soon as I walked in.

As a hardwood floor professional, I was particularly impressed with the flooring choice they had made. The floors were wide-plank white oak with a wire-brushed surface, finished with a soft-linen look. They instantly reminded me of the waterfront.

I loved the carefree appearance they achieved. It’s a perfect look for a vacation home. Actually, it’s a great look for anyone who wants a casual, relaxed atmosphere. With a house like my friends’, I’d be tempted to vacation at home—no matter where I lived!

I’m really grateful that our friends invited us to share a few days with them at their new dream getaway. We had a great time. Neighbors came over for ice cream. We played on the beach.

The Driftwood…You’ll be tempted to vacation at home.

And we spent hours just taking it easy and talking, gazing out over the sand-worn boardwalk (which made me think of their flooring!).

The whole time, my worry-free feeling was enhanced by the great job they had done with the house. It was warm, inviting, uncomplicated, and completely charming.

I still can’t get over how well their hardwood floors complimented and added to that feel.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Kramer and Kiwi Flickr. Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, picking the right floor for your lifestyle

New Hardwood Flooring Cost: The Future Matters

Posted on Tue, Jul 08, 2014 @ 14:07 PM

When you’re selecting the type of flooring you want in your home, you’ll of course consider the cost of materials and installation.

But as you tally up the expense of each option, you’ll also need to take into account the ongoing costs of owning the flooring.

How Long Do You Plan to Be in Your Home?

The first question to answer is how you long you plan to own your home. Your beautiful new floors not only have value to you, in that you get to enjoy them, but certain flooring can actually increase the value of your home. A highly sought after type of flooring, such as hardwood floors, can be a selling feature many home buyers expect to pay extra for. 

Maintenance Costs

Flooring maintenance costs vary greatly. Carpet needs cleaning at least annually. Tile grout will need some serious cleaning over the years and some need resealing. Laminate floors will eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Hardwood floors will need to be recoated on occasion, and possibly completely refinished. 

dirty carpet

Replacement Costs

If your floors are solid plank, you can generally expect them to last as long as you’ll be living in your home, even if you live there the rest of your life. If you tire of the color, they can be sanded to bare wood and refinished for a whole new look.

A really good engineered floor (with a nice thick wear layer) can also be a great option and can also remain in place for the life of your home. A word of caution when looking at a less expensive option, you will be replacing it if the wear layer is too thin to be resanded. 

According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders: Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components, the average life expectancy of flooring is as follows:

  • Hardwood ~ Lifetime
  • Carpet ~ 8 to 10 years
  • Laminate ~ 15-25 years
  • Linoleum ~ 25 years
  • Tile ~ 75-100 years



To make a truly informed decision about which type of floors to buy, you need to consider each option's initial costs, maintenance, and complete replacement that will need to be done while you still own the home. Increase in home value should also be factored in. 

Easy to Maintain Hardwood Floors

Tags: the value of hardwood floors

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