Hardwood floors are a natural choice for anyone who wants to create a warm atmosphere in any room in their home. They are an ecofriendly option, with the added bonus of being a hard surface that will last for decades in any home with little maintenance. While hardwood floors will enhance the appearance and style of your home, anyone who has chosen this type of flooring will also be all too familiar with the natural discolouration that comes from UV exposure.
Most people with hardwood floors will at some point notice that their floor will become either darker or lighter than the original installation colour. This usually can be noticed after you have lifted a rug from the floor, or moved a piece of furniture. In short the longer a floor is kept covered with furnishing over it, the darker the spot under the furniture will appear when compared to the rest of the floor that is exposed to sunlight.
Sunlight can have two effects on timber floors; it can either bleach dark timber or darken light timbers in the raw, uncoated state. The degree of change will depend on the amount of UV light and the species of timber used. UV light will fade a hardwood floor, as wood is extremely photosensitive. While it is possible to put in place barriers that will either reflect or absorb sunlight, this will only offer temporary protection. If you are considering placing a hardwood floor in your home you will need to consider the type of wood you use. Some species of wood will react to UV exposure faster and darken the wood considerably, compared to other species that will react at a slower pace and lighten in colour. It is also important to consider the type of coating you apply to your floor as this can also react with sunlight and change the colour of your timber flooring.
So how can you minimise the effects of UV light and your timber floors?
- Timber choice: The choice of timber can reduce the effects of colour change.
- Change the furniture layout: Regular rotation of your furniture and rugs is not only a quick and inexpensive option but can lessen the effects of UV exposure to your floor. This could be as simple as moving a rug away, or swopping a sofa from one side of the room to another.
- Use blinds: Window coverings such as shutters and curtains are one of your best weapons against the sun’s UV exposure. Keeping them closed during the peak heat periods of the day will ensure UV exposure will not prematurely change the colour of your floors.
- Window awnings: Some awnings will provide sufficient floor protection by blocking the UV rays from reaching your window. They can be a costly option for a home and range in material from, polycarbonate to aluminum etc.
- UV filters: To reduce the effects of UV light on the timber, have UV filters applied to all glass areas or block light.
- Low yellowing coating system: Will prevent yellowing of the coating but will not protect the timber floor underneath the coating from the ageing/discolouration effects of temperature and sunlight.
While most people will be able to prolong the colour of their floors through the suggested methods above, some floors, particularly if you have purchased a home with hardwood floors, may already be faded beyond repair. The only option in this case will be to start over i.e. sand and recoat the floors.
It is inevitable that all timber flooring will eventually fade from UV light. By minimising the effects UV light on timber, you too can keep your floor looking at its best to ensure your floor will uniformly age, and blend seamlessly together to avoid colour discolouration.