Ralph's Blog

Gray Hardwood Flooring Remains Popular

Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2019 @ 15:01 PM

Gray hardwood flooring looks great with modern interior design styles.

Homeowners who look at interior design trends for inspiration when remodeling their home often end up choosing to follow a few.

Of course, no one wants to incorporate a trend that will be overused and fall from grace as soon as designers stop creating hype around it. When choosing, tread carefully and go with something you know you’ll like even years in the future.

When it comes to hardwood flooring trends, a popular option—gray hardwood flooring—isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, and lighter gray floors, almost tan in color, are now leading the way. Once you see how gray hardwood flooring looks and how versatile it is, you might fall in love with it, too. Let’s have a closer look at this trend to understand why it’s so popular.

It's a Neutral Tone

Even though a lot depends on the finish and type of hardwood, most hardwood options are warm-toned, which can limit the color palette you can use for each room. However, opting for gray hardwood flooring means you have a neutral tone to work with—opening up the possibilities and complementing multiple styles of design, including  both warm and cool color palettes.

For a gray color with a brown undertone, hickory is a great choice, as you can combine it with almost any style.

It Looks Great in Modern Homes

Gray is a favorite color in modern design and a staple of the color palette that’s used often in modern homes. Being able to pair the color of hardwood floors with other elements in a room can create a great design effect and truly tie everything together. Cool-toned modern designs benefit from gray hardwood floors, although it’s always possible to add some warmth to the design if that’s what you prefer.

It's Unexpected and Unique

Despite its popularity, gray hardwood floors are still a rare sight, in the sense that people don’t expect hardwood to be gray. What’s more, a gray finish enhances the grain of the wood and makes it more visible, providing a beautiful and unique effect that people will undoubtedly notice and compliment.

You Can Go Light or Dark

In the eternal debate of light vs. dark flooring, gray hardwood floors can join either side. With a light gray floor, you’ll benefit from making the room appear more prominent and brighter, as well as ensure that dust and pet hair are less visible. However, for a more dramatic effect, you could go with dark gray. It might take a little more upkeep to keep clean, but it certainly looks impressive.

Gray hardwood flooring isn’t going out of fashion any time soon considering its versatility and unique appeal. If you’re intrigued, visit our showroom. We might have the perfect gray hardwood floor for you!

Tags: hardwood floor options, hardwood floor trends, hardwood floors and interior design, hardwood floor colors

“If ... Then ... Else” Until the Hardwood Floors of Your Dreams

Posted on Sat, Jan 26, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

What does computer logic have to do with hardwood floors? More than you might think.

When I went to college, I decided to major in computer science. I had been working with my father at Ralph’s since I was a young boy, but I didn’t think hardwood flooring was the career for me. And I was pretty interested in computers.

It didn’t take me long to switch my major to business. But with an emphasis in management of information systems (MIS), I kept learning about computers.

Once I graduated, I was able to combine my business and computer knowledge to find computer-related jobs in business settings for a few years. But I soon felt the call of hardwood floors and went back to work with Ralph’s, full-time, taking it over from my Dad.

I’ve never stopped liking computers, though, and sometimes I think of providing customers with their ideal hardwood floors as similar to programming a computer.

I don’t mean it’s impersonal in the way a computer is. What I’m talking about is “conditional” programming, also known as “if, then, else” programming. It’s basic logic that says that if one thing is true (the “if’), then there are two options: to select the first possibility presented (“then”) or to look for other possibilities (“else.”)

If “then” happens, no other choices need to be made (the “end.”) But If it’s “else,” then the process of “if, then, else” starts over again and continues until all the necessary choices have been made.

That’s the way we work with our customers when they visit our showroom looking to find the hardwood floors of their dreams.

The “if” is your vision—the true look, feel, and performance that will make you happy.  The “then” happens when we’re able to give you a first choice that matches what’s in your heart. If it’s “else” then we move past the first option and keep giving you choices until you’ve chosen, the hardwood floor characteristics that are just right for you.

There are many hardwood floor options—site-finished or prefinished, solid plank or engineered, type of species, color, texture, and more—and we’ll gladly and patiently repeat the “if, then, else” process for you until you’re more-than-satisfied with the selections you’ve made.

Of course, choosing among hardwood floor options is a much different proposition than choosing between 1’s and 0’s when writing computer code.  But the principle is the same—keep drilling down and making choices until the desired result is found.

To see what I mean, I invite you to give us a visit. We’ll learn your “if,” listen to your “then,” and continue with your “else” for as long as you need until your hardwood floor decision-making is at an end you’re thrilled about.

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

Each Hardwood Floor Feels Different

Posted on Fri, Jan 25, 2019 @ 15:01 PM

Picking the right floor for your lifestyle and tastes is very important process a top hardwood floor company can help you navigate.

One of the best things about hardwood floors is their versatility. Whatever the look or feel you want to accomplish in your home design, the odds are that there’s a perfect hardwood floor option to complement it. Because many different factors affect the final look of the area, each hardwood floor feels different.

But why is it so important to choose the right flooring, from a design standpoint? As the base of each room, flooring is one of the design essentials that you can’t overlook. In most cases, you’ll fit it into your basic design idea and model everything else around it. To make the right choice for your design, you should be aware of the factors that affect the feel of each hardwood floor.

What Affects the Appearance of Hardwood Floors?

There’s a multitude of wood species, types of finish, and other factors that play a crucial role in determining what the final product looks and feels like.

Grain can be more or less prominent. Texture can be added by hand scraping, wire brushing, or hand distressing floors. The natural color and sheen of the hardwood can be further enhanced or changed by different stains and finishes. It’s possible to create any feel for a hardwood floor and the room it’s in.

How Different Floors Can Complement a Design

You can create a unique feel for each room design with different types of hardwood floors. A traditional, well-lived-in look will incorporate a hardwood floor with prominent grain and other “imperfections” that provide the necessary character and charm. On the other hand, in a modern design, you might want to go with a dark, smooth, and high-gloss hardwood floor instead.

While there are specific design rules to adhere to depending on the look you want to accomplish, the majority of the design will be up to your preferences. Having plenty of options will help you decide what kind of look is right for your home.

Ralph’s Floors

Here at Ralph’s, our extensive experience has taught us how to achieve the desired mood and feel for a room. We recommend visiting our showroom to find the floor that’s perfect for you.

Tags: hardwood floors and interior design, picking the right floor for your lifestyle, hardwood floor options

The Artist’s Eye of a Hardwood Floor Installer

Posted on Sat, Jan 05, 2019 @ 08:01 AM

artist's eye2

It was the end of the day for our crew, and it could have been the end of the entire hardwood floor installation. The floor seemed done.

But our installer in charge of the job looked at that floor like an artist combing over a painting before declaring it completed. When he discovered an imperfection, he told the homeowner that he and his crew would be back the very next day to fix it.

It wasn’t an obvious flaw, except to a trained eye. The homeowners might never have noticed it until we were long gone and paid—or never.

But our installer couldn’t live with it.

He was probably thinking about how it’s good business to give customers the best floor possible. But I know there was more to it than that. He also was unwilling to declare a job done until it totally fulfilled his vision of how a beautiful floor should look.

All our installers are like that. When a Ralph’s  installer works a job, the result is their responsibility. We give them the authority to run the job as they see fit. It’s their “baby,” and they look at it with an artist’s eye.

Good hardwood floor installers must be able to envision—and deeply care about—how a hardwood floor should look (always taking into account the customer’s tastes.) A good installer uses listening, judgment, skill, and an artist’s instinct to give customers what they want.

Our installers  meet with your salesperson before and during your project to understand everything that’s important to you in terms of appearance, and scheduling.

And while you don’t need to be in your home if you don’t want to be, our installers will gladly speak with you about anything on your mind if you are. They’ll ask the right questions to help them understand what you desire, and they’ll use their experience and knowledge to answer your questions.

They welcome the opportunity to make you happy. And it makes them happy to install a gorgeous floor that meets their high standards.

They’re ready to put their talents to work for you.

To begin a discussion with us about your hardwood floor project and how our team will go the extra mile for you, visit our showroom or give us a call at 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902.

Image courtesy of Neil Tackaberry, Creative Commons.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, about Ralph's, installation, Ralph's Hardwood

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