The Tongue and Groove Store | Blog
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The popularity of HGTV, Houzz and other home improvement outlets along with social media have increased our desire to achieve a magazine quality home.  Most of us start out with a general idea of how we want our space to look once it is finished, however with all the different design trends and products available it can be difficult and time consuming to achieve.  Before you give up on your dream home, you may want to consider hiring an interior designer.  If you’re like me,  the list of reasons not to hire a designer is the first thing to enter your mind.  I can’t afford that! What if I don’t like what they come up with?  How do I convey my vision to my designer?  Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with lots of different designers and I am now convinced that interior designers are not just for the wealthy.  Here are some things to keep in mind when considering hiring an interior designer.

Budget – Yes, hiring an interior designer will cost you some money up front.  However, in the long run they are often able to save money for their clients by getting it done right the first time.  I can’t tell you how much money I’ve spent painting and repainting rooms the wrong color.  You go in thinking it’s pretty straightforward – off-white, beige or grey, yet once you step back it looks yellowy, or pinky, or blue or…just all wrong.  More than one designer we work with have told us stories of clients purchasing furniture, only to have it delivered and find out it doesn’t fit in the room properly.  Interior designers measure everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.  They do this to ensure that everything fits and flows together properly.   You will also want to thoroughly discuss your project budget with your designer so there are no surprises down the road.

Relationship – The relationship between an interior designer and a client is an intimate one.  It has to be.  The designer has to understand YOUR likes and YOUR dislikes.  They need to understand how you will be using the space they are making over.  Remember, they are working for YOU and will tailor the design to meet all of your needs.  It is important that you and your designer are able to build a rapport with one another.  Throughout the design process you will have to communicate back and forth often, and the designer will want to spend some time in your home, taking measurements etc.  You have to be honest with your designer too.  If you are afraid to speak your mind, you risk ending up with something you don’t love.  The designer works for you, you aren’t going to hurt their feelings if you tell them you don’t love the color, or style of something they suggest.

Background – When choosing an interior designer, ask them to show you their portfolio.  Find out what kind of projects they have done in the past and if they have any areas of specialty.  Some designers prefer to focus on one area of the home such as kitchens and may be able to offer even more expertise in these areas than their competitors.  A good designer will also have a list of references you can contact.

Professionals – While we all aspire to be a Joanna Gaines, the reality is many of us are not.  It took me a lot of failed projects to realize I just don’t have what it takes.  It’s okay, I’ve come to terms with it.  An interior designer, is a professional.  They do have the keen eye it takes to arrange a living room picture perfect.  They know how to hang your artwork and organize your shelves.  Good designers, make this process look easy but the truth is they spend hours, sometimes even days coordinating the fine details of your space.  Their ability to create a haven in your home comes from years of experience, as well as continually keeping up with changing design trends.

 Building or remodeling is a big deal.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of hard earned dough.  I think we are all striving to get the biggest bang for our buck.  Not everyone needs an interior designer.  However, a lot of us can benefit from a little guidance and fine tuning they have to offer.  It is at least something to consider, especially if you are going for that Pinterest worthy home.


T&G wood ceiling and white washed shiplap create a cozy feel in this cabin retreat


After installing a new hardwood floor, you will typically need a transition moulding to complete the job.  Transition mouldings are used to create a smooth transition between different rooms or different surfaces.  Transition mouldings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and determining which moulding you need can be confusing.   I’ve broken down the five most common flooring transitions and their uses.

T-Moulding is used to in doorways between adjoining wood floors.  Hallway to bedrooms is a common example of where you would want to use a T-Mould.  This type of moulding can also be used to transition between different types of hard surfaces that are the same height.




Reducer is used to provide a smooth transition between a hardwood floor down to a  floor or low pile carpet of a different height.  You will want to avoid using a Reducer in a floating application, as a floating floor needs room to move and a Reducer would not allow for the necessary expansion gap.

Threshold Mouldings are used in situations where a hardwood floor is meeting up with a second floor of a different height. Instead of a gradual slope, like a Reducer, a Threshold has a rounded off square edge appearance. Thresholds are perfect when butting a hard surface floor up to a high pile carpet and are also often used when hardwood floors are meeting up with a sliding glass door track. A Threshold will overlap the hardwood floor and create a defined transition to this second surface.

A Stair Nose is used to trim the front edge of a step when you are using flooring pieces (vs a tread) to cover stairs.  The Stair Nose butts tight with the flooring to create a seamless transition to the edge of the step.

Stair Nose

Quarter Round is used to trim the expansion gap between the wood flooring and the wall.  Typical Quarter Round measures 3/4 x 3/4.  Some homeowners prefer a lower profile moulding called a Base Shoe, which measures 1/2 x 3/4.  Base Shoe is also commonly used to trim the small gaps created by the baseboard and hard surface flooring.


Quarter Round


Selecting the right type of transition moulding, will not only give your floor that polished look, it will also provide a safe way to traverse different types of flooring and height changes.  Make sure all mouldings are secured properly.



Hurricane Damage

Damage left by Hurricane Irma

In light of the recent disasters caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, we’ve had several people wondering how this will affect lumber pricing going forward.  Obviously there is a significant amount of lumber used in new home construction and prospective builders fear a surge in lumber prices will price them out of building their dream home.  Unfortunately, according to most economic forecasters it is still too early to tell what affect, if any, the hurricanes will have on the lumber market.

Typically, lumber prices do rise following natural disasters, however the increase is primarily concentrated in the storm ravaged areas.  However, “there are other factors in play right now,” states NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) economist, Dave Logan.  “The wildfire outlook is uncertain at this point, and duty rates on Canadian lumber are being reevaluated and will not be finalized until mid-November.” The lumber duties have been on NAHB’s radar well before Harvey and Irma and the group is calling for legislative action to postpone duties on Canadian lumber.

Although, the outlook on lumber prices is still uncertain, economists believe there will not be much impact on prices through the medium term.  However, economists are forecasting an increase as much as 10% on roofing materials as a result of Hurricane Harvey.  These increases will be felt nationwide and could be long-lasting.  For more information, check out the full article here

Regardless of what building material prices do, our thoughts and prayers go out to all affected by the hurricanes this season.


Natrual wood beams and shiplap

The natural wood beams add a touch of warmth to this all white kitchen.

Farmhouse design is making a big impact on current home interior trends.  We’re seeing more and more customers back away from the minimalistic approach by incorporating farmhouse elements that bring some warmth to the space.  Classic shapes, rustic simplicity and natural materials come together to create a modern farmhouse feel.  We’re seeing key elements of farmhouse design being incorporated in various areas of the home.


Wood Beams

The addition of wood beams to a room can instantly add warmth and charm.  Natural wood tones soften the space and add a touch of coziness.  Homeowners are using wood beams in their white on white kitchens with steely appliances to add a touch of warmth.  The various sizes, species and finishes available add up to limitless possibilities.

Barn Doors

Sliding barn doors can come in a wide array of colors, textures, species and finishes.  They range from very rustic to modern and sleek.  Not only is a sliding barn door reminiscent of farmhouse décor, it is also quite functional.   The sliding track system of the door can help save space.  Alternative uses and locations for barn doors include room dividers, tv covers, and doors to under the stairs storage.

Knotty Alder Sliding Barndoor

This farmhouse kitchen is accentuated by the Knotty Alder sliding barndoor

Wood Planks

Accent walls with reclaim style wood tiles and planks are cropping up in all sorts of décor.  We’re seeing them used In all rooms of the home including the living room, bathroom and bedrooms.  There’s just something nostalgic about rough wood.


How could we forget the shiplap?  Shiplap is the quintessential ingredient for a happy farmhouse.  Ceilings, walls and accent walls covered in shiplap and in every room of the home.  Kitchens, baths, living areas, bedrooms, offices, porches and mudrooms are all popular spaces for shiplap.  Paint it for clean lines and a modern twist, or leave it completely natural and knotty for a more rustic look, either way this is one element you definitely don’t want to leave out.


Shiplap ceiling and accent wall




Del Mar Engineered Flooring

Del Mar Engineered Flooring

The air has felt crisp these last few mornings in MN.  A little indication that fall is right around the corner and the perfect time to start planning for fall projects.  Flooring is one of the biggest interior fall projects we see.  In fact, September, October and November are the busiest months for flooring sales across the board.  Hardwood floors have long been popular with homeowners, they add value to the home, look beautiful and are generally easy to maintain. Thinking of putting down hardwood flooring?  Here are some things to consider beforehand. (more…)

Aristotle said, “in all the things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we are so in love with our Salvage Plank Pine. This rough sawn pine has been salvaged from a remote homestead. Our unique machining process, tongue and grooves all four sides of the material, while preserving the original patina and rough sawn texture of the wood. Our matte finish seals and protects the wood without the shine.

The material comes in mixed widths ranging from 4” to 8” and is tongue and grooved on all four sides, minimizing waste. Sometimes our customers have concern that the mixed widths will make the product difficult to install. Don’t overthink it, is the best advice we can give. We discourage our customers from trying to run a pattern. Trees don’t grow in a pattern, so why are we trying to over complicate the situation? Let’s celebrate and embrace what nature has given us. You’ll install an entire row of one size and then either repeat the size on the next row or choose a different width. You will use one size for an entire row, never mixing different sized planks within the same row.

Our end-matched design makes installation even easier, eliminating the need to end on a stud. Fasten the material by nailing through the tongue each time you cross a stud. The end pieces will tongue and groove together and hold each other in place. When you reach the end of a row and need to make a cut, the off-fall piece can be used as the starting piece in the next row that size is used, virtually eliminating waste.

One of the other qualities I love about the Salvage Plank Pine, is that it isn’t too dark. Reclaim material tends to drift to the darker end of the spectrum, the Salvage Plank Pine has a much lighter effect. That makes it a great option for anywhere in the home including ceilings, walls and even in smaller spaces such as mudrooms or bathrooms. The natural finish of this material is simply stunning and is not something that can be replicated through finishing techniques. Salvage Plank is inviting a little piece of nature into your home.

A rising trend among homeowners is to add a decorative touch of wood to their home’s exterior. Consumers are seeking out non-structural beams to look like large timbers to bring dimension and distinction. Consumers often end up spending a small fortune by bringing in large, full thickness timbers to get the job done. The Tongue & Groove Store has a more economical option available with their miter lock beams. The miter lock joint makes it virtually impossible to distinguish between a solid three or four-inch-thick beam and one with a hollow center. The beams come in a variety of widths and species, so you can achieve the desired end look. Customers can purchase 2, 3 or 4 sided beams, depending on what the application requires.

We are also seeing an increasing number of customers looking for tongue and groove for their entryway ceilings, similar to the photo above as well as for other under-eave applications. Cedar is the most popular choice, as it is naturally moisture resistant. However, with our factory finish, other species would work just as well. The third and final trend we’ve seen is to apply a tongue and groove shiplap or centermatch (flush edge) product to the front of the home, generally near the entryway, replacing traditional stonework and adding a softer touch.

The Tongue & Groove - Miterlock Blog Pic

If you’ve watched HGTV’s Fixer Upper for more than five minutes, you’ve probably heard them talk about Shiplap. The Gaines duo is famous incorporating the planking into their designs and have started a national craze. The term shiplap refers to a wooden plank profile that leaves a slight shadow line or gap between each piece. Traditional shiplap is cut with a rabbet on opposite sides of each end, creating the reveal once installed. The drawback of the traditional style shiplap is that it must be face nailed, leaving all the nail heads visible. Filling these nail holes can be time consuming and tedious work.

The Tongue & Groove Store has a solution to these problems with their tongue and groove shiplap, also referred to as Nickel Plank. The tongue and groove installation, allows for a hidden fastener, eliminating the visible nail holes and the need to fill them.

The Tongue & Groove - Nickel Plank Profile

The Tongue & Groove – Nickel Plank Profile

Shiplap (or Nickel Plank) boards come in a variety of widths and species. The material can be used to bring a rustic, shabby chic look to a room or can be incorporated into sleek, modern décor. Shiplap is primarily used on the walls, but can be used in ceiling applications as well. The versatile planking is a go to for wainscoting or accent wall cladding and as Chip and Joanna have shown us, can be used in any room of the home.

The average DIYer will find shiplap tongue and groove easy to install. Simply start at the bottom of the wall and nail the plank through the tongue to the wall studs. An end-matched design makes it easy to continue the row, by inserting the tongue of the new piece into the groove of the installed piece. Continue to fasten each piece to the wall studs. When you reach the end of the row, use a miter saw to cut the plank. The off-fall piece can then be used as the starting piece for the next row. The grooves of the new row, will slide on top of the tongues in the row below, concealing all nail heads.

For more information on shiplap (nickel plank), including sizing (width, thickness) options, available species and finishes (stains, paints) and pricing, contact one of our sales associates.

The Tongue & Groove - Painted Shiplap Accent Wall
Painted Shiplap Accent Wall

We’re deep in the throes of the winter season. The cold, windy days are enough to drive anyone stir crazy. Beat cabin fever with some fun and easy (relative term) home improvement projects. We’ve scoured the internet and found the top five winter projects.

1. WOW Walls

Since you’re stuck looking at them all winter long, you might as well make them visually appealing. Updating the mouldings and a pop of paint can work wonders. Add some crown moulding for a classic look, or take it mission style with some eased edge casing and base. Home Improvement bloggers across the country have noted that replacing baseboards with 5” tall material is one of the hottest home improvement trends. Tap into your rustic side and do a barnwood accent wall. Rustic/Modern décor is all the rage. Homeowners love adding rustic finishes to their homes. The imperfections of a rustic design generally lends itself to lower or easier maintenance. Don’t like where you hung that picture? Pull it down! Nobody will even notice the nail hole left behind. In fact, it only adds to the warmth and character of the wall.

The Tongue & Groove - 1.25 Barnaccent Wall

2. Add a Kitchen Backsplash.

Adding a backsplash is a great way to update the look of your kitchen without spending a fortune. Luckily, it is also a pretty easy project for the average DIYer and is a perfect indoor winter project. Expert advice seems to be to slow down and take your time while planning out and installing a backsplash.

3. Bathroom Makeover

There are lots of different ways and budget levels to upgrade your bathroom. Relatively inexpensive transformations include changing out your faucet and re-grouting the tile work. You can also opt for a full remodel, which may be money well spent. Real estate experts maintain that kitchens and bathrooms are two areas where an investment can increase the overall value of your home.

4. Replace Interior Doors

Sometimes the things we use the most are noticed the least. This is often the case with interior doors. Take a closer look and suddenly the scratches, dents and dings seem to multiply, not to mention the outdated style. Updating your interior doors is a great way to change the overall look of your home without having to go through the hassle of painting or a full blown remodel. Switch to a mission style for a more modern look, or an arch top for a more traditional approach. There are a wide variety of wood species and styles to choose from. Homeowners often approach us believing the only cost effective option is the 6-panel Red Oak door. This simply isn’t true; many manufacturers offer reasonably priced doors in modern styles.

Other factors to consider are adding double doors for closets or wider openings. Not only are double doors more attractive and functional, but they are also cheaper. Most people think double doors cost more when in reality bifold doors are the higher priced option.

Don’t forget to re-tap your rustic side when it comes to doors. Barndoors are the solution to maintaining that open floor plan while still allowing privacy as needed. Barndoors are also a way to add WOW to a room and are often considered art.

The Tongue & Groove - 1.25barndoor

5. A Bright Idea

Update the light fixtures in a room or throughout your home. Even if you are on a budget, simple upgrades like replacing lamp shades can make a big difference in the amount of light, light intensity and overall look in a room. Ceiling fans can help push the air back downward and are often installed in the winter as an energy saver. LED lights are another money saving option. Installing new or swapping out pendant lights and other fixtures are a great way to transform the look of an entire room.

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

The Tongue & Groove - Best of HouzzDuluth, MN, January 17, 2017 –The Tongue & Groove Store has won “Best Of Customer Service” on Houzz ®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The solid wood product manufacturer was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

We are so honored and humbled to have been recognized in this way. We do our best to understand the needs of each of our customers and do what we can to fulfill those needs. We truly enjoy working with our clients and love what we do.

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Kyle and Ann Anderson of The Tongue & Groove Store,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

Follow The Tongue & Groove Store on Houzz

About The Tongue & Groove Store

The Tongue & Groove Store manufactures solid wood products made to order including: tongue and groove wall/ceiling planking, flooring, custom trims and mouldings such as casing, base, crown and chair rail. The company also offers custom factory finishing on all products. “The thing that makes what we do so unique, is that the customer really has full control,” explains Anderson. The customer can choose the profile, the specie and the finish so the final product is exactly what they are looking for. ´ For more information on The Tongue & Groove Store, visit: TheTongueandGrooveStore

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit Houzz.