How to Protect Your Hardwood Flooring from Sun Damage
Few things are more beautiful than a well-laid, brand-new hardwood floor made of the finest oak, maple, birch or other wood. A hardwood floor can last a very long time, and there are still homes from the Colonial era that have their original floors. But as it is with so many other things in the home, direct sunlight is a hardwood floor’s enemy. How can a homeowner protect their beautiful and pricey hardwood floor from the sun?
Why the Sun Causes Damage in the First Place
Sunlight on a new floor is pretty, but over time a homeowner will notice that the wood’s rich color starts to fade or sometimes darken in ways the homeowner doesn’t care for. This effect is even more unpleasant if it only happens to a part of the floor that’s not covered by a rug or furniture. The planks or tiles may even dry out and crack. This is due to the different types of light the sun delivers into the house. Ultraviolet light causes discoloration. Infrared light is experienced as heat and that heat can cause the wood to deteriorate. Even a floor that’s sealed will have trouble surviving the ravages of a lot of ultraviolet and infrared light working together.
The first and probably best solution is to install the hardwood flooring in a place that gets little direct sunlight. This can be a hallway or a room whose windows face north. But many homeowners want to enjoy a room with both a hardwood floor and lots of natural light. In that case they can:
Install Windows With Low-E Glass
Low-E means low emissivity. This type of glass cuts down on the amount of infrared and ultraviolet light that gets into a room without cutting down on visible light. Low-e glass has an extremely thin coat of silver or other low emissivity substance and limits the damaging ultraviolet and infrared rays that hardwood floors can be exposed to. Films that do the same thing as low-emissivity glass can be directly applied to the windows and cost considerably less.
Move the Furnishings Around
It may be a good idea to rearrange the furniture and area rugs in a room to make sure that all areas of the floor get the same amount of sunlight. If the wood has to fade, it should all fade to the same color. If this is not
Cover the Windows
Curtains, drapes, shutters and Venetian blinds can all be employed to keep the hardwood floors from sun damage. If the homeowner can’t stand to live in a house where the windows are covered all day long, they can be covered when the sun is at its strongest. This is usually between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Some of the newer blinds or shutters are motorized and come with a timer. Because they open and shut or rise and fall by themselves, the homeowner doesn’t even have to bother with them twice a day.
Awnings add a touch of elegance to the exterior of a house, and they have the benefit of stopping the UV and infrared rays before they even come in through the windows. Awnings can come in a wealth of styles and materials that complement the house. They can be stationary or retractable.
Refinish the Floors
Floors can be refinished before the sun damage gets too severe. The one problem with refinishing hardwood floors is that it can’t be done endlessly without eventually causing more damage, and engineered wood floors tolerate even less refinishing that solid wood floors. Refinish only when necessary.
These few techniques will go a long way in keeping a hardwood floor looking its best for decades.
You can read this article about Bamboo flooring versus wood flooring.
Bio - This guest post contribution is courtesy of MacDonald Hardwoods, a Denver-based hardwood flooring company. Macwoods has been a long-standing resource for prefinished wood flooring also offering hardwood cleaning and installation. If you're in Denver area, be sure to check out their hardwood flooring installation classes.