The Effect of UV and Sunlight on Your Hardwood Floors

Home Flooring The Effect of UV and Sunlight on Your Hardwood Floors

Have you ever moved a piece of furniture, or a rug, and noticed that the color of the wood underneath is different than the rest of the floor? If it has been a long time, then the color change might be quite drastic. What causes this? Is there a way to prevent it? Here is what you need to know about sunlight and UV rays and their effect on your hardwood floors.

Why Do They Change Color?

Exposure to the sun can cause fading, bleaching and darkening of the wood in your flooring. There are 3 types of light that can cause this. One is ultra violet (UV) light. Another is visible light. The last is infrared light (IR).

UV Light

UV light is probably what causes most of the color change of the wood. Wood reacts to sunlight, even out in nature, meaning it is photosensitive. It can change color quickly if left in the sun. Some of the more tropical woods, such as Brazilian Cherry or Tigerwood, will change extremely fast to a darker color. Domestic woods, like maple and red oak are more likely go get bleached out, but not at as quick a pace. UV light can even affect the finish, and over time may cause it to turn a yellowish color, which can be very unattractive to the eye.

The damage that the sun can cause to wood is not much different than the damage it can cause to skin. Some people tan or get even darker. For some of us this happens quickly, and for others it takes a bit longer. Some people skip straight ahead to burning, without any tanning in between. Sunblock can help prevent some of the damage to your skin, but even that will start to fail eventually if it is not refreshed. Wood reacts in a similar way. It will consistently damage your hardwood.


There is no single solution that will fix color changes from sun exposure. However, there are several things you can do to try to prevent damage. By taking a number of steps you can make sure that your floor is exposed to as little direct sunlight as possible.

Rotate Rugs and Furniture

Anything that will either block sunlight or throws a shadow can be rotated around so that the same spaces are not always the ones being affected by the light. This way, not only will your floors suffer less damage, but even if there is a color change, it will be spread out more evenly. This way, any color differences between sections will not be so drastic.

Window Coverings

If the sun does not get into the house in the first place, then it certainly can’t harm your floors. Any kind of window covering, such as shutter, drapes and curtains, will do the trick. You can rotate what is open at different times of the day. That way you can still have some natural light, but without direct sunlight coming in through the window. If you have blinds that you do not want to shut, you can always set the slats so that they redirect the sunlight towards the ceiling or the walls instead of onto your floor.

UV Inhibiting Finishes

There are several products out there that can help protect against sun damage, much like sunscreen works for people. There are none that can completely prevent fading or darkening, but they can slow down the process so the change is more gradual.


Awnings help prevent the sunlight from even reaching your windows. They can be retractable if you like, or stationary. They have the added bonuses of being visually appealing and also helping to keep your home cool in the hot months.

Low-E Glass Windows

This is a more expensive option, but it is viable if you are already getting new windows. Low-emissivity glass have coatings that will limit the UV and IR light that comes through.

UV rays are an inevitability, but there are ways to prevent them from damaging your hardwood flooring. Follow some or all of these steps to limit fading or darkening of your floors.

Are you in need of hardwood flooring this year? 651 Carpets offers a variety of selections along with professional installations. Contact us online or call 651-227-7387