Flooring and other indoor furnishings can sometimes show fading or discolouration after a few years. This is especially noticeable when the surface fading or discolouration is uneven, with the affected part of the floor being a different colour to the rest of the floor. This colour alteration is usually due to Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure.
UV light is the invisible energy that causes sunburn in humans, as well as eye damage and some cancers. This same UV light causes paint to fade, and other material like floorboards to discolour.
UV light reaches the home interiors through window. Ordinary clear glass will reduce the amount of UV light entering the home, but only by a factor of about half. The moderate amount of UV that does penetrate standard glass can cause damage to some furniture, curtains and floorboards over time.
UV light can be blocked by glass that is either been manufactured to be UV proof, or by adding a UV film to standard glass. These window films are moderately priced and block 99% of the UV light while still allowing visible sunlight through. Often these films will also reduce outside heat form the sun, which helps to keep indoor temperatures more moderate.
Heavy curtains or blinds will provide quite good protection form UV light, though over time the curtains themselves may suffer fading on the outside surface. However, curtains and blinds will not let natural visible light in, so electrical indoor lights will need to be used.
Timber floors and UV
- The choice of timber.
- The varnish on the floor. Oil based polyurethane can slightly yellow in the Sun, though some people prefer this look.
- Window awnings outside can block direct sunlight, minimizing the UV light through the window.
- Sometimes it is only the floor area near the window that is affected. This can be covered with a rug to prevent UV damage.
Damaged timber floors can be restored with re-sanding and polishing. But it seems a shame to repair damage that could have easily been prevented. Use some UV protection the windows to keep floors and indoor furnishings safe.