Sunlight and Wood

Sunlight can be a tool for growing wood in the forest around us. However, wood and sunlight makes horrible partners in most scenarios.

Now that you have a great looking hardwood floor, it may be tempting to drag it out into the light of day. While metaphorically, this may sound like a great idea, it is actually horrible for your flooring. We don’t mean you can’t show it off, let’s just take a few precautions against sun damage.

Exposure to the natural element of sunlight has the potential to cause some very unnatural effects on your wood.

However, if you follow some really simple steps, your wood floors will be as protected from the sun as yourself when slathered in a healthy dose of SPF 100.

While waxing the floor with Coppertone isn’t going to do anything but make a greasy mess on one of your favorite new walking spaces, there are some “sunscreens” available for your wood floors. Some finishes will feature a special ingredient that blocks the harmful damage sun may cause to the wood floor.

While prolonged exposure to sunlight is likely to damage any wood floor given enough time, the effects of the sun can be different. Woods like cherry and oak are like people, they tend to darken from the aging and burning effect of UV light. Other woods are likely to lighten as they are treated by the sun.

If you want your wood to never, ever change color, eliminate all sources of UV light. That’s hardly practical, but highly effective. If you don’t care about your wood at all, just set it out in the yard. For something a little more middle of the road (but closer to the first scenario), you can use water-based urethane finish that will minimize some of the sun-damage that is caused by oil-based finishes.

Of course, smart decorating featuring curtains, blinds and other more inventive ways of hiding or masking light can slow the aging of natural wood. You may also considering purchasing window films that block out UV radiation.

If your new wood floor is aging at an accelerated rate and you’ve accepted that the darkening or lightening of the wood is acceptable, and maybe even desirable, you still may have some other considerations. For example, you may want to rotate furniture, rugs or other objects in the home to be sure that the floor is evenly aged and receives more equal exposure.