Ralph's Blog

A few of our favorites

Posted on Sat, Sep 24, 2016 @ 09:09 AM


Our_Story.pngI am consistently amazed how many people come to Ralph’s and tell me they love the stories we share on our blog. I would never have guessed that they would resonate with so many people. These are the stories of my life and my work and it is an honor to know that in their busy lives they find a little time to read about mine.

We are always working new stories but in the meantime, here are a few of our favorites:

When Ralph’s Began

The woman behind our success

How far will Ralph’s go to please customers? All the way to Alaska

Getting the job done on a snowmobile

You want me to grab the what?

Ralph's celebrates bittersweet 50th anniversary

Free shipping from the North Pole

The Romance of Hardwood Floors

What’s on my mind this holiday season? Family, friends … and hardwood floors

We’re all in this together


Tags: about hardwood floors

Time to Renovate our Showroom

Posted on Wed, Sep 21, 2016 @ 15:09 PM


Showroom-2.jpgWe really love our hardwood floor showroom. Not only is it a great place to see amazing hardwood, it also is the place where many of our best customer relationships have started. We understand it isn't always easy to visualize how your dream floor is going to come together and sometimes you need to see the colors and feel the textures to really make the right choice.

It is because we believe so strongly in our showroom that we are going to change it. It has been over 11 years since our last major overhaul of the showroom and we think the timing is just right. While hardwood has a timelessness to it, when I think about interior design trends, furniture styles and innovations in our industry, it is amazing the change we have seen over the past decade.

We have been thinking about this for a while and after six months of planning we are ready to get started. Our plan is to showcase both products you have asked for and to highlight some you may not know so well. Our new showroom will include:

More widths and lengths

Most buyers are looking for wider and longer planks to create more spacious visuals and dramatic looks. However, we still do many standard floors which are usually matching up to existing floors.

More colors

Natural browns still top the list of popular colors but not as much as they used to. We want to showcase some of the latest color trends from unique browns and beiges to eye catching whites and greys.

Lower glosses

Less-shiny, low-gloss flooring is continuing to gain popularity. They are excellent for high traffic areas and really highlight the color and texture of the wood.

Prefinished options

While we are known at Ralph's as site finished experts, the world of prefinished hardwood has dramatically expanded in the past decade. We want to raise awareness of some amazing new products that consumers are asking for.

Hand-picked alternatives

We love wood and want to showcase select “wood like” products that have specific applications. A great example is vinyl wood flooring. It provides a beautiful wood look but has all the easy maintenance and water-resistance benefits of vinyl.

Over the coming months we will continue to update you on our plans and progress with the new showroom. We will blog about the process and post pictures. In a way it is a chance for us to show you how we approach our own flooring projects and given you a real sense of how we approach yours.

The showroom will be open while we do our updates and so you can come and check on us any time.

Tags: remodeling, about Ralph's, Ralph's news & events

From the forest to the floor – Part Two

Posted on Sat, Sep 10, 2016 @ 09:09 AM



In this two-part blog we explain how a beautiful tree in the forest becomes a beautiful floor in your home. Part one focused on turning a tree into floor boards and this part starts once the floor boards are sent to us. The process of turning milled planks into an amazing floor in your home starts unsurprisingly with you.

1. Style Selection

Selecting a hardwood floor often starts with either a species or a color. While this seems straightforward enough, it is important to remember that it’s not easy to look at piece of raw oak or maple and see the beautiful floor you want. Raw hardwood often doesn’t showcase the grain or highlight the texture you have in your mind. Color can be tough to visualize too. We are color specialists and proud of it and as such we can create thousands (literally!) of custom shades.

So to make the selection process easier and to help you really understand how amazing your floor could look we spend some time together to understand your style, functional needs and preferences and create a sample.

2. Samples

Samples are exactly what they sound like. We take a small piece of hardwood flooring and sand it, stain it, etc. to create an example of the floor you think you want. We create a couple of different samples for you to look at, for instance using a slightly darker finish or a more rugged finish, so you can see how some of your decisions play out.

Once the samples are ready, we bring them to you and review to see what you like. The sample process can go through a few rounds but the outcome is always the same - you find your dream floor.

3. Laying the floor

On the day of an install, we come to your home, inspect the job site, measure the flooring area and set up our dust containment equipment outside. If there is an old floor which is pretty much every job except new construction or a large renovation, we tear it out and make sure the sub-floor is level. Then we lay the raw flooring you selected.

4. Sanding the floor

The sanding stage is where your floor really starts to come to life. As we sand, the wood’s true beauty beings to come through. The size of your floor will dictate how long this takes but for a typical floor we sand for 1 or 2 days. We sand the floor to ensure it is flat and smooth, removing the bevels and getting that superb flat modern look.

To help control mess, we use dust free sanding equipment with charcoal and Hepa filters. We have the capability to accommodate several pieces of sanding equipment at a time, leaving very little dust behind.

5. Staining and Finishing

The final step of the hardwood floor installation process is stain and finish. The process causes fumes and takes some time to cure so we recommend you leave home and spend with friends, enjoy a hotel getaway or head up to the lake. As a very last step we apply a clear finish to protect, preserve, and enhance the natural beauty of your wood.

At this point all that is left is for you to move back in and enjoy your hardwood.  From beginning to end the process takes about 5 days.

When we break it down like this, the journey from a tree in the forest to a stunning floor in your home is truly an amazing one. Don’t just take our word for it though. Come and visit us in our showroom and we would be pleased to take you through the whole process for yourself.

 Photo courtesy of Oyvind Hope

Tags: about hardwood floors

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