Ralph's Blog

Bringing "New Dublin" Into Your Home

Posted on Sat, Mar 16, 2019 @ 06:03 AM

An Irish pub is a fun place to visit. You can have that fun in your home.

Every year in New London, the Shamrock Club of New Dublin holds a Grand Parade and Irish Fest on St. Patrick’s Day. Those events follow a week of festivities, beginning when “leprechauns” from the Shamrock Club temporarily change the name “New London” to “New Dublin.”

But you don’t have to set aside a special day or week to think Irish. You can bring a bit of Ireland into your own home, giving you a daily reminder of Irish culture.

Specifically, I’m talking about the “Irish pub” look— a room or space with the cozy, welcoming feel of an old pub, like those throughout Ireland. This look is “old” but not worn out. It suggests informality, comfort, and relaxed moments with family and friends.

The choice of hardwood flooring is essential to getting that look. As with any room or space, the hardwood floor sets the tone.

For example, when a customer came to us wanting the pub feel, we helped them decide on a reclaimed hardwood floor. What better way to achieve the old-but-not-worn-out look they were seeking?

Distressed, wire-brushed, or hand-scraped hardwood floors are also ideal to create the rustic atmosphere of a pub. But any flooring that’s dark can work to create the warm, inviting feel that’s desired.

Ralph’s has learned how to use hardwood floors to help create that Irish pub feel. If that’s the look you want, we have the expertise to provide the flooring and installation to make that happen.

Just stop by our showroom to talk about the Irish pub look (or any other style).

And don’t forget to wear green tomorrow!

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, finishes, stains & textures, hardwood floors and interior design, hardwood floor options

Carpet Is Harder to Keep Clean and Sanitary Than Hardwood Floors

Posted on Fri, Mar 15, 2019 @ 12:03 PM

carpet stains

There’s always a debate between which type of flooring is the best. Since there are so many different options, that kind of discussion is inevitable. Of course, the answer will depend on what’s important to the homeowner.

Carpet was considered a luxury decades ago, but hardwood floors are increasingly viewed as the more-stylish choice by many homeowners. Another reason to choose hardwood flooring is that it’s more sanitary than carpet,

Sanitary Properties of Carpet vs. Hardwood Floors

It has been well-known for a while: the fiber in carpeting can trap things you don’t want—dirt, dust, pet smells, etc. And whenever you walk over it, you raise a layer of that unpleasant stuff, which then settles back in.

This could lead to eye and respiratory issues, not to mention problems for allergic people.

 Cleaning the Carpet vs. Cleaning Hardwood Floors

 Hardwood flooring is also easier to clean and keep sanitary.

No matter how vigilant and dedicated you are about cleaning carpet, it will still need a deep steam cleaning at least once a year or so (and maybe more often if you have pets who add their smells to the carpet.)

In addition, some spills can ruin your carpet if you don’t react quickly, and they might require a spot cleaner in either case. With hardwood floors, all you must to do is mop up the spillage as soon as possible, and the floor should be all right.

Here at Ralph’s, we pride ourselves on helping our customers pick out the right type of hardwood flooring for their needs and lifestyle, which ensures they’ll be happy with it for years. Visit our showroom to see what we offer!

Tags: why choose hardwood floors?, caring for your hardwood floors, picking the right floor for your lifestyle

Round and Round the Circle of Growth

Posted on Sat, Mar 02, 2019 @ 05:03 AM

Always improving is the way to keep on a circle of growth.

I’m a fan of the term “circle of growth.”

It essentially refers to the process of learning to do what you don’t yet know how to do, then using that knowledge to learn how to do other productive things, then using that knowledge to learn how to do even more, and so on—in a constant cycle of improvement.

The term can be used to refer to personal growth, but it’s also very applicable to organizational growth. It certainly describes how we’ve learned at Ralph’s to provide the highest-quality hardwood floors, better operate our business, and more-than-please our customers.

Much of our growth has been in technical knowledge related to hardwood floor installation and refurbishing. Over our 50-plus years, we’ve taken on our fair share of jobs we knew we could successfully complete after we learned how to do something we had never done before.

If  we know we can do it—but aren’t yet experts in that type of job—we figure out how to do it. And the more we learn, the more we can learn. It’s like studying math—we keep building upon skills we just learned.

The result of this approach is knowledge that compounds each time around the “circle of growth”—knowledge that helps us keep adding hardwood floor options, such as stair treads, trim, exotic woods, wide-width boards, and even luxury vinyl floors.

Another aspect of our growth is on the business side. We’ve learned how to negotiate with suppliers to reduce costs. We’ve learned how to reduce our internal costs while at the same time increasing the level of our performance. And we’ve figured out how to pass these savings along to the homeowners and contractors we’re fortunate enough to call our customers.

We’ve also moved ourselves “around the circle” by making investments that help us provide an ever-higher level of excellence and customer service. In the same sense as learning to do something new technically, it’s a progression when we make investments that increase quality, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. That’s why we’ve consistently budgeted for capital expenditures that keep the circle of growth going (e.g., the recent remodeling of our showroom).

Another way to describe what I’m talking about is the familiar business term, “continuous improvement.” Our long-term adherence to this concept benefits our customers, which benefits us, which benefits our customers even more … and the circle continues.

Tags: about Ralph's, Wisconsin, hardwood floor options

Why Would You Choose to Refinish Your Floors?

Posted on Fri, Mar 01, 2019 @ 17:03 PM

Re-sanding hardwood flooring is sometimes needed when refinishing it.

Hardwood floors can last a very long time with proper care. But that doesn’t mean they won’t suffer from wear and tear after years of use.

Fortunately, a hardwood floor that looks old and worn doesn’t necessarily need to be replaced.

One of the significant benefits of hardwood flooring is that you can refinish most floors to make them look like new.

Hardwood floor re-coating is the process of doing a light sanding and adding a coat of finish. A simple re-coating is often all that’s needed, but in cases where a floor has dents, discoloration, deep scratches, urine damage, water damage, etc., refinishing will involve re-sanding the floor.

You may also decide to re-sand the floors if you want to change the sheen or color of your flooring.

Quality engineered hardwood flooring can be re-sanded, but not as often as solid-plank floors, which can be re-sanded numerous times, up until the tongue-and-groove shows where the boards meet.

Hardwood floors in the main living areas or the kitchen are usually the first to need  refinishing. Bedroom floors are often in much better shape, so they might not need to be refinished as often.

When you need to replace instead of refinish

There’s a difference between a floor that looks worn out and a floor that needs to be totally replaced. In cases of structural damage such as rotting wood, replacement may be the only way to achieve the beauty of new hardwood flooring.

Another common reason for replacement is the desire for a total change-up—going with another wood species, or a different width, length, or orientation of the flooring planks.

Ralph’s is dedicated to providing the best possible results for your floors during the refinishing and/or re-sanding process. (If re-sanding is needed, we provide state-of the-art dustless sanding.) Visit our showroom to see what we can offer!

Tags: restoring hardwood floors, dustless sanding, finishes, stains & textures

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