How to protect timber floors from sunlight exposure and damage
Hardwood timber, like most flooring materials, is susceptible to changes from sunlight over time. Depending on the timber species and selected floor finish, this can mean the flooring gets darker or, more often, lighter with sunlight exposure over a long period of time. Although floor finishes have advanced over the years to reduce the effects of sunlight, there are still things we can do at home to protect our floors. This article will provide you with 5 simple tips on how you can further reduce the effects of sunlight exposure on your hardwood floors.
5 ways to protect floors from sunlight
The products used to seal hardwood floors have come a long way, a great deal of research and development has gone into improving formulas for longer-lasting protection and finish quality. Although no floor finishes on the market can prevent light discolouration 100%, many of our floor finishes come with some form of a UV inhibitor to reduce the effects of sunlight. Finding the right floor finish depends on several factors including, room use, colour, staining, timber type, and personal preference. Some of the timber flooring options at Back to Timber come prefinished to save you time and effort during installation. Ask one of our expert team members to help you find the right floor finish for your individual needs.
Window coverings come in many different forms and are a great way to minimise direct sunlight from landing on your timber floors. Venetian blinds and plantation shutters are our favourite way to furnish windows if you’re concerned about flooring discolouration. Both of these window furnishing options provide a great deal of protection to the floor as they can be angled to protect the floor from direct sunlight whilst still allowing natural light to enter the room. Other window coverings such as curtains, vertical blinds, bamboo shades, roller shades, etc. are also effective alternatives.
A cheap and easy way to minimise the colour changes to your flooring is to simply rearrange your household furniture and rugs on a semi-regular basis. Although not practical for all items and homes, it can help to ensure that the flooring throughout the room has even light exposure over the lifetime of the flooring. This tip does not prevent colour changes but it helps to keep changes to the flooring gradual and even, thus less noticeable.
Tinting residential windows has become increasingly popular in recent years, primarily to reduce internal temperatures and thus reduce electrical cooling costs. As window tint reduces the amount of UV and IR light rays entering the room, it not only cools but also reduces the damaging effects of sunlight on hardwood floors. Tinting may be a great option, not only for lessening flooring discolouration but also for reducing your power bills.
New Build Tips
If you’re building a new house, or completing a large renovation, we have a great design tip to help minimise the direct sunlight hours on your hardwood floors. We recommend a minimum of 600mm soffit above windows where hardwood floors will be installed. A soffit is any finishing material, such as wood or fibre cement, that is installed to cover the underside of your roof overhang (as seen in the image below.) If a room is located on the first floor of a two-storey building or there is a significant vertical distance between window and soffit line, installing a window hood can achieve the same effect. Your building orientation will determine which side of the building will benefit most from installing window hoods or wider soffits. Both of these design elements help reduce the direct sunlight hours on the hardwood floors when the sun is the hottest, usually between 10am-2pm. Saving a few hours of direct sunlight on your floors each day can really add up over the lifetime of your flooring.
What to do if your floor has faded from sun exposure
Have you just moved into a house and found the ghost of the old owner’s furniture still hanging about? Patches of colour variance where the old owner’s furniture was can be frustrating. Fear not, rectifying faded, darkened, and patchy flooring is possible, and we regularly achieve outstanding results for our customers. Generally, rectification will require sanding the flooring back to bare timber and refinishing it with an appropriate floor sealant. Our experienced floor technicians at Back To Timber will work with you to refinish your floors with as minimal disruption as possible to get your floors looking great again.
All floor coverings are susceptible to sunlight exposure with varying degrees of visible change depending on the type of flooring. With a combination of the tips from this article and help from our experienced staff, we can help you to minimise the effects of sunlight on your timber floors. If you have any further questions or would like to discuss your new or existing flooring, one of our helpful staff can be contacted here, or feel free to pop into one of our showrooms.