Ralph's Blog

What Makes Handscraped Hardwood Flooring Unique?

Posted on Wed, Sep 05, 2018 @ 13:09 PM


Ralphs Hardwood Flooring-Showroom-0003

Hand-scraped hardwood floors have a unique look. Although they have gone in and out of style, it doesn’t change the fact that they are a beautifully unique floor. If you’re wondering what makes handscraped hardwood flooring so unique and popular, we’ve got the answers.

When it comes to choosing hardwood floors, people generally want something that will fit into their home well. Style can be significant, as well as the amount of maintenance the floor requires. As you probably know, all these factors influence the final decision. Therefore, it’s only logical that those types of flooring that fit more styles and require less maintenance are more popular. Here are some of the benefits and defining characteristics of handscraped hardwood flooring.

Warm and Classic Appearance

The effect of hand scraping used to be quite common in the old days of making floor planks. When woodworkers used the draw knife (a single blade with a handle at both ends) to scrape and smoothen the planks, it left marks on the wood. Those used to be typical for wooden flooring, and Hand-scraped hardwood floors have a similar look. It adds a certain charm and aesthetic appeal to both modern and older homes. Hand-scraped hardwood flooring perfectly matches antique furniture and provides a unique appearance to every room.

Scraped By Hand Vs. Machine

There’s a noticeable difference between floors that were handscraped and those that were done by machine if you know where to look. In genuinely handscraped floors, every plank will have a unique pattern. Placement is crucial and should have a bit of a flair for the artistic. However, with machine scraping, the designs will be more uniform, repetitive, and less pleasing to the eye.

Handscraped Or Distressed?

Sometimes the terms “handscraped” and “distressed” are used interchangeably, but they’re in fact two very different types of flooring. Distressed flooring is when dings and dents appear in the floor making it looked aged and well used. Unlike handscraping, a distressed look is often done with a machine. Although we have done several distressed looks manually, it's not a very popular look today. Its general aim is to make it look like the floor has gone through a lot more wear and tear, especially with features such as artificial wormholes. As opposed to that, handscraped floors only have subtle markings left by the artisan, which makes them ideal for many homeowners.

Pros and Cons of Handscraped Flooring

One of the more apparent advantages of Hand-scraped hardwood floors is durability. In households with children, prone to floor-damaging accidents, an extra dent or a blemish on a Hand-scraped floor won’t hurt the overall appearance. However, the installation process can be challenging, which is why hiring a professional is a must. Also, since there’s a considerable amount of effort put into producing hand scraped planks, they’re often more expensive. Many homeowners find the price is worth it, once you consider the uniqueness of Hand-scraped flooring, as well as its durability.


These are the main reasons why Hand-scraped hardwood flooring has gotten so popular. If you feel like it might be the right thing for you, we’d love to consult with you about any of your hardwood flooring needs. Visit our showroom to take a look at what we offer!






Tags: custom hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, finishing touches, finishes, stains & textures, remodeling, installation

Floor Protectors for Furniture

Posted on Wed, Aug 22, 2018 @ 12:08 PM


floor protectors

New hardwood flooring is a beautiful investment that can give your home a completely fresh look. Of course, making sure that your new floors are protected is the next logical step. There’s a variety of floor protectors for furniture to choose from, starting with felt pads to mountable rolling casters and entrance mats. Whichever protectors you want, you should be aware that you still have to install them correctly. Let’s have a look at some floor protector options and how to use them.

Felt Pads

Felt pads come in a few varieties and different sizes: self-adhesive, tap-in felt glides, etc. Once installed on your furniture, they enable you to move it across your hardwood floor without damaging it. We recommend tap-in floor glides  They should go on anything that is going to moved frequently such as dining room chairs and tables.    Stick on glides can go under items that may be moved less frequence such as a sofa table or hutch.   If you do not have a wood base, you should use the stick on glides but check them often as there is a tendency for those to come off.  Make sure to check the felt pads often and clean them if they’re dirty. If you notice they’ve gotten damaged, replace them before the damage causes scuffs on the flooring.

Entrance Mats

While entrance mats aren’t usually for furniture, they’re still essential floor protectors. A large percentage of all the dirt and debris gets into your home on the soles of your shoes. An entrance mat works non-stop on preventing dirt from entering your home and scratching your floors. That will minimize tracking of dust and water, so you won’t have to clean your floors so often. They’re the first line of defense of your hardwood floors.

Cup-Shaped Protectors

Cup-shaped protectors are usually plastic or rubber. They’re similar to rubber grippers in the sense that they’re also not used for furniture that’s frequently moved. They’re better for heavy stationary objects. You can install them by placing them on the floor and resting the furniture legs on top. Cup-shaped protectors provide excellent weight distribution which decreases the likelihood that heavy furniture will damage the flooring.

Cloth Gliders

Your hardwood floors are supposed to last for a long time, but they won’t if you don’t take care of them. Furniture protectors can help you with that — and here at Ralph’s Hardwood Floors, we can help you with flooring. Come to visit our showroom for more information.

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, caring for your hardwood floors, finishing touches

Can't make it to our showroom? Here's the next best thing

Posted on Fri, Jun 22, 2018 @ 13:06 PM

Are you thinking about a hardwood floor project? Magazines and websites will only get you so far. What you really need is the full experience--walking on a floor you're considering; touching it; seeing it as it will really look.

You need to come to our <showroom> to do that, but this is the next best thing.

Come out and visit our showroom!

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, finishing touches, finishes, stains & textures, remodeling, hardwood floors & interior design

Ralph's is on TV!

Posted on Wed, May 23, 2018 @ 14:05 PM

Have you seen our latest commercial? If not, take a look now. You’ll see how beautiful a hardwood floor from Ralph’s can look.

It all starts with you. You have a vision. We can make it happen. Uniquely yours.

Come out and visit our showroom!

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, finishing touches, finishes, stains & textures, remodeling, hardwood floors & interior design

Finishing Your Hardwood Floors to Get Just the Look You Want

Posted on Wed, May 16, 2018 @ 11:05 AM


Floor finish

Hardwood floor finishes protect the flooring, but they do much more than that. They play a major role in how hardwood floors look.

Some homeowners want finishes that don’t shine. Some want finishes that do. Some want the colors in the wood to “pop.”

Whatever look you desire, you can get a finish that helps achieve it. The important thing is to be aware of how the finish you choose will affect the appearance.

One of the most significant visual characteristics of a finish is its sheen, which refers to how shiny the finish is. High-gloss has the most sheen, followed in order of shininess by semi-gloss, satin, and matte.

Low-sheen matte floors are popular right now, but trends come and go. What you should focus on is what you like. At Ralph’s, we can create a finish with whatever level of sheen you want, so there’s no need to settle for a finish that doesn’t exactly fit your personal taste.

Color is another major choice for homeowners that affects appearance. Some people prefer clear finishes, which let the natural color of the wood stand out. But for those who want a different color, stains can be used to create virtually any color you want. As with sheen, when you have Ralph’s do the finishing, we can give you the color you want.

Finish types include polyurethane, water-based, moisture-cured urethane, Swedish finishes, and natural oils. Each type has advantages and disadvantages.   

The most popular finish over the years has been the Swedish finish, which brings out a very rich color. The new popular finish is a water-based finish called Invisible. It makes the floor look “raw”—a floor without finish.  

Whichever type of finish you prefer, and no matter what look you’re after, Ralph’s can provide it. If you visit our showroom, we will gladly talk with you about the look you want and give our expert advice on the right finish for your vision. We’ll also explain the pros and cons of each finishing option in terms of durability, ease of maintenance, and cost.

What’s important to you is important to us!

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, engineered hardwood flooring, finishing touches, finishes, stains & textures, remodeling, hardwood floors & interior design

Taking Hardwood Flooring to the Next Level with Hardwood Staircases

Posted on Fri, May 06, 2016 @ 09:05 AM

Carpet runners help create a flow between hardwood floors and hardwood staircases.A hardwood staircase is a wonderful accompaniment to a beautiful hardwood floor—easing the transition from the flooring to the stairs while also creating visual interest.

The typical approach is to match the style of the hardwood flooring with that of the hardwood used for the stairs. This means using the same (or complementary) species, colors, sawing techniques (e.g. skip sawn), board dimensions, texture, amount of grain, and other hardwood floor characteristics.

You would also orient the wood for the stairs parallel to the wood in the flooring to create a seamless look that helps the room “flow up” into the stairs. Hardwood floor borders that run up the stairwell can help to create this effect, as can carpet runners.

However, some homeowners actually want their hardwood stairwells to contrast with the flooring, and so they vary hardwood floor characteristics and might even orient the wood for the stairs perpendicularly to the direction of the wood in the flooring.

Of course, no one wants stairs and flooring that clash. Any contrast should distinguish the flooring from the stairs, but they should still complement each other.

Within the stairwell itself, you can spice things up by staining the risers darker than the treads, or vice versa. Or you could paint the risers but not the treads. And, of course, the pattern of any border or carpet runner can play off the colors and patterns of the wood in the stairwell, as well as that of the flooring below.

As with flooring, hardwood staircases can be created using solid wood planks or engineered planks, and the wood can be prefinished or sanded on site. Whichever option you choose—and whether it’s new installation or you’re redoing existing stairs that are now worn or were previously carpeted—it’s very important to have an installation team with experience working with hardwood staircases. Much precision is required to because of the many complex angles and cuts involved.

The final result can be exquisite—a stairwell that adds personality, character, and beauty to your home.

Ralph’s has extensive experience installing hardwood staircases. To talk with us about how we can help you with your stairwell, give us a call at 920.984.3383 or 800.354.9902, or stop by a showroom. You can also call for an appointment.

Tags: hardwood floors & interior design, custom hardwood flooring, finishing touches

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

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