Ralph's Blog

Do Hardwood Floors Make a Home More Valuable?

Posted on Sat, Feb 16, 2019 @ 08:02 AM

Most home buyers love to see hardwood floors in a home they're considering.

I’m often asked, “How much will hardwood flooring add to the value of my home?”

My answer is, “There are too many variables to know for sure.”

When home buyers are deciding how much they’re willing to pay, they’re considering so many things that it’s impossible to isolate the impact of the hardwood flooring. I’ve seen estimates that hardwood floors can increase the sales price by as much as 2.5%, but any estimate is just a guess.

However, I can say this with certainty: If you talk to Realtors, most of them will tell you that hardwood floors help a lot when selling a home.

Pushing up the sales price is just one aspect of that. From what I’ve seen, probably the biggest advantage is that hardwood floors help homes sell faster.

Home buyers have come to expect hardwood flooring in homes. Carpeting is a turn-off for many buyers, particularly younger ones. To be move-in ready, they want hardwood floors that don’t need refinishing.

Beautiful, immaculate hardwood floors also make prospective buyers say “Wow!” The floors set a positive tone for their whole impression of the home.

For these reasons, if a seller’s hardwood floors don’t look fresh, Realtors suggest refinishing (and re-sanding if necessary).

If there’s carpeting in a home, with hardwood flooring underneath, tearing out the carpet and restoring the floor is also a smart move. And even if there’s only sub-flooring underneath the carpeting, installing new hardwood floors might make sense in some markets and price ranges.

I’m proud to say that one piece of anecdotal evidence I have about the value of hardwood floors is the fact that a Realtor once included “Hardwood floors by Ralph’s” in a home’s description for the Multiple Listing Services (MLS).

So, while I can’t put an exact number on how much value hardwood floors add to a home when it’s sold, I can say that hardwood floors often increase the sales price and usually help a home sell faster, which typically is financially advantageous.

But I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the greatest value of hardwood floors is the enjoyment they bring while you’re living in your home. If you’re ready to sell immediately, then it’s a non-issue, but if you’re looking at future financial benefits as a justification for the cost of hardwood floors, don’t forget to factor in their value to you now.

Image courtesy of American Advisors Group, Creative Commons

Tags: remodeling, why choose hardwood floors?, restoring hardwood floors

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

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

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

Bringing Worn Hardwood Floors Back to Life: Before and After

Posted on Wed, May 02, 2018 @ 11:05 AM



If your hardwood floors are getting old, they don’t have to be replaced. They can look good as new again. 

On this project, the pine floor was very worn and covered with residue. The homeowner was afraid nothing could be done to restore it, but our salesperson, Paul, assured her that Ralph’s had the expertise. 

Our experienced, knowledgeable refinishers were able to repair, re-sand, and refinish that old pine floor to make it beautiful and fresh again.   

A particular challenge was that a large section of the floor wasn’t wood, and the homeowner wanted to install matching pine flooring there. Paul explained that the pine of today might not match the pine from years ago. But when I saw the existing flooring, I remembered some old pine we had stored away. I thought it would match well, and it did! 

The homeowner was so amazed with this project that she’s now having us do a dining room for her.  

Check out the before and after photos below:

Before #1After #1

Before #2After #2

Before #3After #3

Tags: custom hardwood flooring, remodeling, installation, restoring hardwood floors

Your home may need a shade of gray

Posted on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 18:02 PM

Grey isn’t usually something we associate with vibrancy and excitement – gray clouds, gray mood, gray matter, and gray hair.

Well the time has come to change your perception of gray because when it comes to hardwood flooring gray is gold. It's quickly becoming the worst kept secret in our industry - gray hardwood flooring is an excellent way to make a unique and lasting statement in your home.

There are several reasons why gray hardwood floors are literally jumping off the shelves. The process used to design the floors enhances the grain, creating a striking appearance that isn’t present in the usual brown hardwood floors. Second, they are unusual. One might think this would be a detraction but in reality many fans of gray hardwood flooring are drawn to these unique products for just that reason.

Visitors to our showroom tell me they love the look and feel of these floors so much and it’s not difficult to see why they have grown in popularity.

For amateur home decorators and family members who are taking the lead in the maintenance and improvement of their family homes gray hardwood floors offer several engaging possibilities. Because gray is a neutral tone it can serve as a beautiful backdrop, especially among warm colours like red or orange.

Grey tends to look best in maple oak and hickory and the good news is there are plenty of those available in the marketplace. Hickory is particularly popular because it is extremely hard and offers the gray color with an undertone of brown.   It is easy to tie into different colors in your home with this gray/brown look. Grey hardwood floors are an easy choice for any room in your home and can even work well in a room with bright colors, such as the dining room or guest lounge.

Are you thinking of adding a gray hardwood floor to your home? With several selections of gray to choose from our staff can help you discover a gray that will bring you confidence and make your home bounce. Don’t hesitate to stop by and learn how you can add a touch of gray to your home.

Tags: remodeling, hardwood floor colors

Welcome to your hardwood floor New Year’s Resolution

Posted on Thu, Jan 19, 2017 @ 04:01 AM

It's a brand new year and many of you have resolved to update your living space to make it as warm and inviting as possible. The floor is the foundation of every room and making hardwood floors part of your resolutions in 2017 will make you love your home even more.


Hardwood Floor New Year’s Resolutions

Whether you have hardwood and it needs a little love or you want a new floor, here are three resolutions for you:

Clean your hardwood floors the right way: Using the right tools when you are cleaning your hardwood floor keep it clean and protect it. When using your vacuum, turn off the rotating brush and when using a mop, avoid sponge or string mops that put too much moisture on your floors. Choose a microfiber mop designed for hardwood instead.

Hardwood floors are easy to maintain and that means less time with a vacuum cleaner and more time addressing your other New Year’s resolutions or just having fun.

Refinish your hardwoods: Get your hardwoods shining like they used to with a refinishing job. We can sand down and reseal your floors and make it look like you just had them installed. A new stain color is another way great way to update a floor and our selection of colors will amaze.

Install a new hardwood floor: Why not make a statement this year and install a brand new hardwood floor in your home? They come in a wide variety of colors and textures to meet your needs. After your new floor project is done all that you will have left to do is create memories that will last a lifetime! Those hardwood floors will become a magnet for fun and good times.

Keep Your Resolutions

Despite our best efforts, many resolutions turn into well-intentioned dreams (remember last year’s gym membership). So how do we buck that trend?

According to experts, sharing your goals with friends and family is a proven way to turn your resolutions into reality. For hardwood floor resolutions we recommend a visit to our showroom where you can share your dream floor ideas with one of our hardwood flooring experts.

They will help ensure you get the exact floor you want…and keep your resolution.

Tags: installation, remodeling, prefinished hardwood flooring

Showroom Transformation - A Photo Blog

Posted on Sat, Nov 12, 2016 @ 07:11 AM

Our showroom renovation has been an exciting project and as much as we could tell you all about it, we think showing you a few photos is even better. None of these photos do justice to the real thing, so you will have to come in visit us to get the whole effect but in the meantime, take a look at these:

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It is amazing how much seeing helps a homeowner better understand the impact of widths and textures. We are really pleased with displays like this that show many options in a single area and really help customers visualize the options available to them.


A little constuction in our "house" reminded us just how our customers feel when our installation teams work in theirs. And just like with our customers, the outcome made it worth the minor hassles.

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These photos show how we are creating new, unique spaces in the showroom. Our interior design team could hardly wait for the walls to get finished so they could start to work their magic.

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With the transformation of this space almost complete, we can see the our vision coming to life.

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We are going to be displaying more pre-finished hardwood flooring than ever before. While our specialty is sand-on-site hardwood, we understand it isn't perfect for every situation and customer. Our goal is to help you get your dream hardwood floor and there are many ways to make that happen.

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One of the really important elements of our showroom reno is to be able to showcase more new an innovative products. This is a display of some of the new hardwood look luxury vinyl tile we are introducing. It is an amazing product and we are really excited to offer it as a wood look alternative.

The new showroom is very exciting for us and we can't think of a better way to help you see all the amazing hardwood floor options available from Ralph's.

Tags: remodeling, about Ralph's

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