Ralph's Blog

The Magic of Hardwood Floor Medallions

Posted on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 @ 11:04 AM

Ships and Sea Serpent Hardwood Floor MedallionA great way you can accent your hardwood flooring to reflect your tastes and personality is to use hardwood inlay medallions. They add a design flair that commands attention and enhances the visual interest of wood floors.

Whatever your floor style—traditional, contemporary, romantic, art deco, old world, eclectic, etc.—Ralph’s has a medallion design to complement your flooring. Medallions can be wood or stone, or they can combine wood, stone, and even metals such as copper. They are typically circular, but they can be any shape, and many homeowners are choosing long medallions.

What all medallions have in common is that they provide innumerable creative possibilities for you to design your dream floor, the floor that makes you personally go “wow.”

They aren’t about showing off. They are about celebrating who you are.

Some homeowners use their family crest as a medallion. Others choose a design inspired by their personal interests, such as a love of boating or golf. We’ve even seen medallions created with the design of a favorite sports team!Compass themes are a popular choice for hardwood floor medallions.

Parquet medallion are a popular choice. So are medallions with a compass theme. Asian-influenced medallions are a recent trend.

Ralph’s Hardwoods works closely with Oshkosh Designs, and we proudly use their extensive selection of prefabricated medallions. There are lots of prefabricated choices available to help you create a highly personalized floor.

We also offer our own specialized medallion designs, and we have years of experience working with customers helping to develop their individual custom designs. We can help you accomplish almost any vision for hardwood medallions that you have.

If you can dream it…we can create it.

To see samples of our medallions and talk with us about the possibilities, please visit our showroom.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, about hardwood floors, finishing touches

Ralph’s is hiring! Do you know someone who’s the right fit for a great job?

Posted on Sat, Apr 23, 2016 @ 10:04 AM


I’m happy to say that Ralph’s is busier than ever.

However, new business makes it a challenge to maintain our high-quality standards. We need enough hardwood floor technicians to do the work, and those technicians must all be able to deliver the Ralph’s experience we’ve become known for.

That presents a challenge because—when we hire technicians (or any other position) to help us handle more work—we’re looking for a very particular type of person to join the Ralph’s family. And that type of person isn’t easy to find.

It’s great if they have hardwood floor experience, but it’s not necessary. We can train the right person in the trade of installing and finishing hardwood floors. The difficulty is finding someone with the right character, who reflects the values Ralph’s has always held as a company.

We’re searching now. Below are the specific qualities we’re looking for. If this description fits you, or someone you know, we’d love to hear from you (or them).

Mechanically inclined

While specific technical hardwood floor knowledge isn’t necessary to be hired, you do need to like to work with your hands, use tools, and put things together.

Driven to always do their best

If you’re satisfied with “so-so” as long as you get paid, Ralph’s isn’t the place for you. We want people who consider the quality of their work a point of personal pride.

Loves to please customers

We want the type of person who is not only willing to go the extra mile to give a customer a great experience, but who truly enjoys doing it. At Ralph’s, we take pleasure in serving customers.


This doesn’t mean forced politeness. We look for team members who genuinely enjoy interacting with people—and show it.  Customers and colleagues notice!


This covers a lot, including being honest with customers and Ralph’s team members, being punctual, and being consistent with your work. We count on our team members to the right thing in all areas of the job.


Our team members are self-starters. We don’t have to prod them to get going or stay on task. They don’t mind sweating and enjoy the feel of a “good tired.” They take satisfaction in getting things done.

Eager to learn

We have a ton of experience and accumulated knowledge at Ralph’s that we make a point of passing down. We want team members who enthusiastically take advantage of every opportunity to improve their skills.

Team player

At Ralph’s, we don’t care who gets the credit, we respect each other, and we help each other out however we can. To work at Ralph’s, you must be able to function well as part of a team.

I realize this isn’t exactly a unique list. A fast-food joint might list many of these same traits as important. But at Ralph’s these aren’t just “like-to-haves.” They are qualities we absolutely insist upon in the people we hire.

Ralph’s doesn’t have much turnover at all, and many of our team members have been here for decades. I think that’s because we’ve learned it’s best to be patient until we find the right person, no matter how much we need immediate help.

They’re usually well worth the wait!

If you are interested in joining the Ralph’s family, please call us at 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902. If you know someone you think might be a good fit for us, please share this with them. They may be thanking you for years to come!

Tags: Ralph's news & events

Don’t Stress About Cleaning Your Hardwood Floors

Posted on Thu, Apr 21, 2016 @ 15:04 PM

Keeping hardwood floors clean makes them look more attractive and can be important in preventing damage such as scratching or staining.

But you don’t have to be obsessive about cleaning. In fact, if you clean too much, you can expose your hardwood flooring to excessive water and chemicals that can have a cumulative damaging effect over time.

Cleaning hardwood floors is easy.There’s nothing wrong with sweeping, dust-mopping, and using squirt cleaners as much as you want. However, if you’re putting lots of water on your floor to mop and/or using chemical cleaners on it every day, you might be doing more harm than good. That’s particularly true if you’re using cleaners not approved by the flooring manufacturer.

Our advice is to relax. It’s pretty easy to keep hardwood floors clean.

Set a reasonable cleaning schedule based on your lifestyle, the type of flooring and finish, and the foot traffic the flooring receives. You may decide to clean monthly or weekly, or even more frequently, but under most circumstances you don’t need to clean every day!

We’re certainly not suggesting that you put up with floors that look like they need to be cleaned. By all means, if a floor gets dirty between scheduled cleanings, go ahead and clean it.

All we’re saying is there’s no need to overdo it. You don’t have to work that hard to keep your hardwood floors looking great.

To discuss the right cleaning products and cleaning methods—as well as an ideal cleaning frequency—please visit our showroom or call 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902. We’ll be glad to talk with you about how to best clean your hardwood flooring.

The Beauty of Hardwood Floor Borders

Posted on Tue, Apr 05, 2016 @ 16:04 PM

Hardwood floor borders can be created by placing boards at diagnoal angles to the rest of the hardwood flooring.If you want to add a little extra visual excitement to your hardwood flooring, borders might be just what you’re looking for.

Hardwood floor borders can be simple or elaborate, or anywhere in between. But even the simplest border can have a great effect.

Hardwood floor borders typically are used to highlight a particular section of a room, such as a living area in a great room, the space near a fireplace, or around a dining room table. The border frames the area you want to highlight.

You can even use borders to frame an entire room, such as a foyer or kitchen.

Hardwood floor borders are also very effective in helping to transition between rooms or areas with non-matching flooring. The border clearly separates the differing styles and makes it clear that a match wasn’t intended.

The simplest borders are created by applying a different color of stain to the same type of wood used for the rest of the flooring. Usually, the border is stained darker, but it can be stained lighter if that’s a look that appeals to you.

The most common way that borders are created is by using a different species of wood for the border than that used for rest of the flooring. This creates a natural contrast in color, grain, texture, etc. that makes the border stand out. Using more than one differing species inside the border adds even more visual interest.

Another way to emphasize the borders is to lay the wood inside the border in a different direction than the rest of the flooring (e.g., at a diagonal angle).

Hardwood floor borders can be used to frame an area within a room.The most-elaborate borders feature intricate patterns such as parquet, made from inlaid wood. A century ago, this would have required many, many hours of work by a skilled and highly compensated artisan. However, these days, with modern laser-cutting technology, these patterned borders can be created off-site at a reasonable price.

For example, a manufacturer we trust and recommend, Oshkosh Designs, offers a wide selection of beautifully patterned borders that we’ve installed in many homes.

That doesn’t mean that skilled craftsmanship isn’t required! Even with laser cutting, the manufacturer still has to lay the pieces down by hand to create the pattern. And once onsite, the boards for the border should be installed by installers intimately familiar with creating borders, like we have at Ralph’s.

With any border installation, from the simplest to the most-complex, the installers must be skilled enough to do the precise measuring and centering required, and they must be willing to take the time to do it right.

Want to talk about borders for your hardwood flooring? We’ll be glad to share our experience and advice with you. Just visit our showroom or call 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902.


Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring

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