Direct sunlight can have a damaging effect on your hardwood flooring. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the likely culprit that changed the colour of the wood. This is because wood is photosensitive and reacts when exposed to UV light, causing its colour to change. Brazilian Cherry, Tigerwood, and other tropical woods can quickly change to a darker colour. On the other hand, Maple, Red Oak, and other domestic woods are more likely to fade, though not quickly. Exposure to UV light can also cause the finish of your hardwood floor to turn yellowish, causing it to lose its aesthetic appeal.
Sun damage on wood is not much different from sun damage on the skin. And just like your skin, there are several ways you can do to protect or control the unpleasant effects of UV light on your hardwood flooring.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for fading hardwood floors due to UV lights. However, there are certain steps that can help minimize the exposure and slow down the process of discolouration.
One way to balance the exposure of sunlight to previously covered floor areas is by moving around the furniture and rugs periodically. This helps distribute the UV light exposure equally throughout the floor surface, keeping the process of colour fading consistent throughout the room.
Curtail the glare and UV light coming through by applying a thin multilayer film to your windows. While these films allow visible light to shine through, it also works by filtering out the harmful and damaging UV light. Unlike the multilayer window film, regular window glass only cuts down about a quarter of the UV rays.
Another option to consider is window tints. While it has the same concept as the multilayer window film, using tint can alter the appearance of your windows. It has a pigment that darkens the window. You can also use reflective window tint if you want a 2-way mirror effect or to create daytime privacy.
Window treatments, such as curtains, drapes, blinds, or shutters, also help keep the sunlight off your hardwood floor. They cover the windows completely to prevent direct sunlight from coming through and slow down the discolouration process. However, if you prefer using horizontal blinds, you do not need to shut them off completely. As long as they are angled and positioned upwards, the sunlight will be directed towards the walls and ceilings.
While it may require a bit more investment, motorized screens, shades, and blinds are the best types of window treatments that effectively keep UV rays from beaming down onto the floor. These motorized window treatments are designed with settings and timers, which automatically extend to protect your floor from the heat of the sun.
If you are thinking about replacing your old window, consider the low-emissivity (Low-e) glass windows. Designed to minimize the amount of UV light shining through the window, this investment option can protect and reduce the rate of deterioration of your hardwood flooring. It also lowers your energy consumption by reducing the interior temperature during the warmer seasons.
Installing exterior awnings adds coverage to help block harmful UV lights from coming through the window. They often make a significant difference when it comes to minimizing the exposure of your hardwood floor to intense heat and sunlight.
Hardwood flooring refinishing is another solution for preserving your hardwood floors. Much like sunscreen protects your skin, there are UV inhibiting finishes that help protect hardwood against UV light damage. Although they cannot completely prevent the darkening or fading of the floor, they can effectively delay the process, making the change more gradual.
So, which hardwood floor finish is the best? If you want to refinish your hardwood floors, consider the following options:
What makes polyurethane oil-based polyurethane effective in reducing the damaging effects of the UV rays on hardwood floors is its high degree of resistance. Although it only contains a small amount of UV inhibitor, polyurethane finishes are almost immune to UV light damage. Also, they are specifically manufactured to have the highest degree of chip-, nick-, and scratch-resistance when properly applied.
This naturally occurring mineral helps protect hardwood floors from damage by forming a hard coating on its surface. Due to its resistance to scratches, dents, and scuffs, aluminum oxide is one of the widely used hardwood flooring finishing products and an ideal choice for high-traffic areas. Hardwood floors treated with UV inhibiting aluminum oxide finishes can generally last up to 10 to 15 years longer than post-installation polyurethane finishes.
The impenetrable seal created by UV-cured aluminum oxide finish blocks air, oxygen, and water from oxidizing and damaging the wood. The UV coating protects and retains the natural colour and sheen of the floor so it does not fade quickly.
While a water-based UV finish offers the same benefits as a regular water-based finish, the curing time is only 2 hours. It literally has no downtime curing your home, making it a great option for many homeowners looking to refinish their faded floors.
You may need a special machine that glides over the floor to cure the hardwood with UV water-based finish. It uses a powerful UV light to bond all the solid particles in a single urethane sheet, making the UV finish highly resistant to scratches and chemicals. Contact a flooring professional to learn about the hardwood floor refinishing cost.
As its name suggests, the acrylic impregnated finish is manufactured with acrylic resin. Acrylic impregnated hardwoods are a highly durable option for residential and commercial floorings. It offers a variety of benefits and features that are both attractive to homeowners and commercial building owners.
Hardwood is a great flooring option as it gives your home interiors a charming and classic look. With proper care and maintenance, its beauty can last for years, so make sure to protect them from the damaging effects of the UV rays.
If you are considering installing a hardwood floor in your Toronto home, call Capital Hardwood Flooring at (416) 536-2200 or fill out our contact form and let us know your flooring needs.