Ralph's Blog

The Importance of Stability in Hardwood Floors

Posted on Thu, Nov 29, 2018 @ 12:11 PM


floor stability graph-1

Because wood is an organic material, hardwood flooring will react to its environment. If the environment in your home is humid, the flooring will absorb moisture and swell. If the environment is dry, the wood will lose moisture and shrink.

A hardwood floor’s stability is the degree to which it can resist this swelling and shrinking. The higher the stability, the greater the resistance

Generally, the higher the stability, the better. That’s because hardwood floors with greater stability are less likely to cup and gap.

Hardwood floors that gain too much moisture can cup, with the centers of the planks becoming lower than the edges of the planks.

Wood flooring that loses too much moisture can have excessive gaps. Small gaps between planks are normal if they appear during cold (drier) months and disappear during warm (more humid) months, but if gaps persist throughout the year or a larger than normal, it’s a problem.

Both cupping and gapping can be minimized by always keeping the temperature between 60- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity between 30 percent and 50 percent.

But the type of wood you select will also determine how susceptible your flooring is too cupping and gapping. That’s why stability is an important consideration when choosing the species of wood for your flooring.

Species with relatively high stability include Red Oak, White Oak, and Ash. Species with relatively low stability include Maple, Hickory, and Cumaru. Regardless of the species, engineered hardwood flooring will almost always have higher stability than solid-plank floors.

For some species, low stability isn’t something to worry about if the flooring will be in an area where you know you can control the level of humidity. But in areas where that’s difficult or not feasible, stability should be a consideration when deciding the species of wood for your flooring or when deciding on whether to use solid planks or engineered hardwood.

To learn more about how to determine dimensional stability check out this great post.

We’re glad to provide our expert advice on how important stability is in your project. And we can help you select the flooring with the best stability. Stop by our showroom any time during business hours to consult with one of our hardwood flooring professionals.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, Wisconsin, remodeling, caring for your hardwood floors, types of hardwood used in flooring, about hardwood floors

See a Need, Fill a Need

Posted on Fri, Nov 23, 2018 @ 23:11 PM


see a need

“See a need, fill a need.”

That well-known saying was uttered by Bigweld, one of the robots in the 2005 film, Robots. Since then it has become something of a business mantra.

I will always remember driving to visit my in-laws, with my young daughters watching Robots on the DVD player in the back seat. I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it, and when I heard that phrase, I smiled.  I felt like Ralph’s had aced a test.

Ralph’s has always understood that common-sense advice. It fits with how my father, Ralph Lorenz, operated the company when he started it 53 years ago. A hardwood floor company in the region at the time had left the market, but homeowners and contractors  still needed hardwood floors. Dad saw the need, and he instinctively filled it.

Dad never lost that instinct, even after he “retired” and I took over as president of Ralph’s. For example, in 2008 he decided to begin selling space heaters out of Ralph’s. That’s not the business we’re in, so why did he do that? Because he understood what Bigweld meant, long before Robots.

With the economy in the tank at the time, many people thought they could cut their heating bills by using space heaters instead of central heating. Dad saw a way to help the people in our community get space heaters at a good price. Of course, he also saw a business  opportunity! He was fulfilling a demand.

I learned the lesson well. Over the years, I’ve insisted that we pay attention to all of our customers’ needs and how we can more than satisfy those needs.

For one thing, that means staying on top of hardwood floor trends (e.g., prefinished flooring and luxury vinyl tile and planks) so that we can best serve our customers who want to follow those trends. It’s also means taking the time to understand what our customers want.

We get Bigweld! If you have a flooring need, we’ll fill it.

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

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