Understanding the Effect of Sunlight & UV on Timber Flooring & Wood Products

Advice | October 27, 2020


All natural products are affected by light, particularly strong sunlight and UV rays which can have a detrimental effect on timber floors and other wood products. No matter what finish your timber flooring has, it is likely to be affected if exposed to sunlight and/or UV light. Protecting your flooring from sun damage is important right from day one.

It is important to note that there are some factors that can intensify the sunlight and UV exposure in your home. For example, light reflected from shiny surfaces nearby such as mirrors, glass and some types of cladding, as well from water sources such as the ocean, swimming pools, ponds, water features and so on. In these situations a high level of protection from sunlight and UV exposure will be required.

COLOUR CHANGE

Fading or colour change is a naturally occurring reaction of timber in response to sunlight and UV exposure. It is the customers responsibility to protect their floor from sunlight & UV exposure. Protection measures will minimize the risk of colour change although may not prevent it altogether. For advice on how to protect your floor from sunlight & UV exposure see our article How To Prevent Sun Damage on Timber Flooring & other Wood Products.

The precise effect on colour depends on a variety of factors including but not limited to; the species, any type of treatment that the wood has undergone, whether the timber has been coloured, and the type of finish used on the product. Some products will lighten, others can develop a richer colour and others will darken. As a general rule, Natural Oak (uncoloured) with a clear lacquer tends to intensify in colour over time, becoming more yellow.

Breakdown of FINISH

Sunlight and UV exposure, together with extreme heat generated by the sun can cause the finish on timber products to break down prematurely, particularly on dark coloured timber products. Providing protection from sunlight and UV exposure will help to prolong the lifespan of your floor's finish - in contrast to this, the lifespan of the finish on a wood floor without protection is reduced significantly. For advice on how to protect your floor from sunlight & UV exposure see our article How To Prevent Sun Damage on Timber Flooring & other Wood Products.

shrinkage

Timber exposed to direct sunlight can get extremely hot (especially when a darker colour), which can cause the wood to dry out and shrink, resulting in splits and cracks appearing. To minimize the risk of shrinkage ensure you are providing adequate protection from sunlight and UV, as well as sufficient cooling in warmer weather.

For more information related to this topic please refer to the articles linked below.

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