If you have hardwood floors in your home, you are likely aware that direct sunlight can cause significant damage to them. You may have observed that when you move a rug or a piece of furniture, the covered part of the floor is either darker or lighter than the surrounding wood. This happens because the longer we cover a particular area of wood, the more noticeable its color change becomes.
But the question is why does it happen? And if it happens, what can we do about it?
Here, this blog has got you covered. In this blog, we will discuss why this happens and what steps you can take to prevent it from happening.
Why Do Hardwood Floors Fade and Undergo Color Changes?
Hardwood floors can fade and undergo color changes for several reasons, which are important to understand in order to maintain their beauty and longevity. Some of the key factors contributing to these changes include:
- Sunlight and UV Exposure: Direct sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause hardwood floors to fade over time. UV radiation breaks down the pigments in wood and finishes, leading to a loss of color and vibrancy. The extent of fading depends on the wood species and the amount of exposure.
- Oxidation: Exposure to air and moisture can lead to a natural process called oxidation. Over time, this can cause the wood’s color to change as it reacts with oxygen. For example, some hardwoods may darken or develop a patina as they age.
- Humidity and Moisture Changes: Fluctuations in humidity levels can cause hardwood to expand and contract. These changes in moisture content can affect the wood’s color, causing it to lighten or darken. Proper humidity control can help mitigate these effects.
- Wear and Tear: Daily foot traffic, furniture movement, and other forms of wear and tear can lead to surface abrasion. As the protective finish on hardwood floors wears down, it can expose the wood to elements that contribute to color changes.
- Chemical Reactions: Spills and exposure to certain chemicals can have a bleaching or staining effect on hardwood floors. For example, acidic or alkaline substances may react with the wood, altering its color.
- Natural Wood Variation: Even without external factors, hardwood floors can exhibit natural color variations due to differences in grain patterns, knots, and mineral streaks. These inherent characteristics can contribute to the overall appearance of color change over time.
Steps to Stop Sunlight from Damaging my Hardwood Floor?
Before going into this section, let us clear your that that there is no single fixed solution to save the hardwood from fading and color change. But there are some steps that you can follow to reduce the amount of direct sunlight on your hardwood floor. So here are the following steps that you can consider following it.
- Use Window Coverings
Window coverings like curtains, blinds, or shades are your first line of defense against sunlight damage. When the sun is at its strongest, typically during the middle of the day, close these coverings to block the direct sunlight from entering your room. This simple step can go a long way in preventing UV rays from reaching your hardwood floors.
Imagine you have a beautiful living room with large windows that let in a lot of sunlight. By installing thick curtains, you can easily control the amount of sunlight that enters the room. When the sun is blazing, simply draw the curtains to create a shade. This prevents UV rays from reaching your hardwood floors and causing damage.
- UV-Blocking Window Films:
UV-blocking window films are like a protective shield for your windows. They’re designed to filter out a significant portion of the sun’s harmful UV rays while still allowing natural light to come through. These films are a great option if you want to reduce fading while keeping your room well-lit.
Consider your home office with a big window that you love. Applying a UV-blocking film to this window is akin to wearing sunglasses. It protects your hardwood floors from excessive sun exposure while still providing a well-lit workspace.
- Area Rugs
Placing area rugs or carpets in areas with direct sunlight exposure helps create a buffer between your hardwood floor and the sun. The rug absorbs some of the UV radiation and prevents it from affecting your floor directly. Plus, it adds a touch of style to your room.
In your dining room, there’s a lovely hardwood floor that’s partially exposed to sunlight. Placing an attractive area rug beneath the dining table not only enhances the room’s decor but also protects the hardwood. The rug absorbs the sunlight and prevents it from directly reaching and potentially fading the wood underneath.
- Furniture Rearrangement:
Consider rearranging your furniture from time to time, especially in rooms with ample sunlight. By doing this, you can ensure that different parts of your hardwood floor are exposed to sunlight at various times. This even distribution of exposure can help minimize uneven fading.
In your cozy living room, you have a favorite reading nook by the window. To prevent the floor beneath your reading chair from fading more than the rest of the room, occasionally swap the positions of your furniture. This way, different parts of the floor get a turn in the sun, minimizing the chances of uneven color changes.
- Tinted Windows:
Installing tinted windows or UV-blocking glass is a more substantial investment, but it provides excellent long-term protection. These specialized windows are designed to reduce the amount of UV radiation that enters your home, significantly lowering the risk of fading.
Let’s say you live in a sunny climate with large windows throughout your home. Installing tinted windows in your living room is like having a built-in shield against UV rays. These specialized windows significantly decrease the risk of your hardwood floors fading and maintain their natural beauty.
- Window Treatments with UV Protection
Some window coverings are specifically designed to offer UV protection. Look for curtains or blinds that have UV-blocking properties. These can be highly effective in reducing the amount of UV radiation that gets through your windows.
Your bedroom has a gorgeous view, and you’d like to maintain the vibrant color of your hardwood floor. Choosing curtains with UV protection for your bedroom windows ensures that even when they’re open, your floor remains safe from UV damage.
By implementing these measures and understanding how they work through practical examples, you can effectively protect your hardwood floors from the damaging effects of sunlight.
What if your floors are already faded?
If your hardwood floors have already faded, there are several options to consider for addressing the issue and restoring their appearance:
- Refinishing: One of the most effective ways to rejuvenate faded hardwood floors is to have them professionally refinished. This process typically involves sanding the existing finish and stain down to the bare wood and then applying a new finish and stain. This can remove the faded layer and restore the original color and shine. Keep in mind that refinishing is best suited for solid hardwood floors, as engineered hardwood has a thinner wear layer.
- Spot Repair: If only certain areas of your hardwood floor are faded or damaged, spot repair may be a more cost-effective solution. In this case, a professional can sand and refinish specific areas without affecting the entire floor.
- Color Refresh: For less severe fading, you might opt for a color refresh. This involves applying a new coat of stain and finish without extensive sanding. It can enhance the floor’s color and protect it from further fading.
- Area Rugs and Furniture: If you’re not ready for a complete refinishing, using area rugs and rearranging furniture can help conceal faded areas and prevent further damage.
- UV-Protective Window Treatments: Once you’ve addressed the fading issue, it’s crucial to take preventive measures to avoid future damage. Invest in UV-protective window treatments like curtains, blinds, or window films to shield your floors from further sun exposure.
- Regular Maintenance: After restoring your hardwood floors, maintaining them is essential. Regular cleaning, routine maintenance, and reapplying protective finishes can help prolong the life and appearance of your floors.
Remember that the level of restoration needed depends on the severity of the fading and the type of hardwood flooring you have. It’s also essential to follow a regular maintenance routine and take preventive measures to protect your newly restored floors from future damage, especially from sunlight and UV exposure.
Fading is something that is an unavoidable part of owning hardwood floors. All you can do is reduce the amount of light by which your hardwood floors are damaging and make sure each part of your floor receives balanced light, blending all areas together over time.
Reach out to Big Bro Hardwood:
To give your hardwood floors the care they deserve, contact Big Bro Hardwood today! Our expert team is ready to transform your space with top-notch refinishing and reinstallation services. Don’t wait – reach out now and rediscover the beauty of your hardwood floors.