A Guide To Protecting Wood From Sun Damage

It might seem strange to suggest that wood doesnt like sunlight. Wood comes from trees and trees need sunlight to grow. When the woods inside your house, however, sunlights the enemy. UVA and UVB rays cause wood to lighten or darken, depending on the wood: cherry wood darkens, for example; beach wood lightens. Lightening isnt bad in theory. Its just that lightening doesnt occur consistently across the wood. The last thing you want is a patchy wood surface. This isnt a good look. So, youre going to have to take preventive action.

The question is, what should you do? Well, you have a few different options on the table. When it comes to combating the effects of UV on hardwood flooring, solutions include:

Window shades.
Blinds: Venetian, Roman, etc.
Shutters: plantation or café style, interior or exterior.
Awnings.
Net curtains.
Window films: reflective or frosted.
Drapery, and Wood sealants.

Lets discuss the last option, wood sealants, in a bit more detail. These include varnish (a mixture of drying oil, resin, and solvent), lacquer, polyurethane (essentially liquid plastic), shellac (made from the resin of bugs), wax, and epoxy resin. Most sealants contain what are called UV-absorbers. These are additives that absorb radiation below 400 nm (according to Wood Coatings: Theory and Practice by Franco Bulian and Jon Graystone) and convert this incident radiation into heat. Benzophenone and Benzotriazole derivates are used most frequently as UV-absorbers. Pigments are also said to be good at protecting wood from sun damage, their opacity serving to block out harmful light at the blue end of the spectrum.

Keep rotating furniture

Apart from the methods aforementioned, you should make sure to move around your furniture on a fairly regular basis. If your spouse takes exception to your constant rearrangements, claiming that its a sign of repressed creativity, begging you to take a painting class in the hope you might stop changing things at home, just tell them you have valid reason for moving your things: its to prevent overlong exposure to sunlight.

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Also, make sure to keep on moving your rug around. Many people leave their rug where it is for months and months, only to discover when moving it that the floorboards underneath it is a darker colour than those surrounding it. Make sure not to let this happen. If your room is especially sun-drenched, you probably shouldnt have a rug covering the hardwood floorboards.

Final thoughts
So those are your main options. The main thing is to reduce the amount of UV getting in, which you can accomplish by installing a number of different window treatments (all those aforementioned). If you dont want to block out too much sunlightbecause, lets face it, who wants to live with the blinds drawn all the timewindow film is probably your best bets. On top of that you should coat the wood with a sealant high in UV absorbers. Thats about all that you can do.

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