You’ve chosen the perfect color and shade of hardwood for your home, but after several months, you see the hue has deepened or lightened. This mostly happens when the sun hits your floor, as is the case in sunny Colorado during spring and summer months.

As a natural material, wood reacts to the sun in its own way as the skin does when exposed to sunlight.

Causes of wood discoloration

There are mainly three factors that play the role in fading or darkening of the wood: UV light, IR (infrared) solar heat light, and visible light. Of these three, ultraviolet (UV) light has the most impact on color alteration.

The biggest indicator is when you place a rug or furniture over your floor and after several months, you begin to see the discolored fields they leave when you move them, leaving your floor shaded somewhat like a chessboard.

color changes on hardwood floors

All wood alternates in color to some degree due to sunlight.

All wooden floors react to sunlight exposure. Some of them lighten, while some of them darken. Also, not all of them fade or darken at an equal rate. Exotic woods such as Brazilian cherry tend to darken much faster than other classic woods floors. Some domestic types, such as our beautiful maple floor, can fade to some extent.

Apart from the wood itself, the type of finish also impacts the color alteration of the floor. Usually, polyurethane finishes react to sunlight by getting that yellow-orange tone that is not much liked. Water-based finishes produce less change in wood color.

The solution? Think prevention! 

To date, there isn’t a single solution that would reverse back those color changes in wood floors, or even completely stop the discoloration. Manufacturers of finishing products are constantly testing new formulas that may prove “lightproof,” but so far, we are only left with tips on how to prevent visible shading or fading of the floors.

Fading Hardwood Floors: ssunlight exposure can change hardwood color

Move rugs or furniture close to windows to prevent sunlight discoloration.

Moving your rugs or rearranging your furniture from time to time can help balance the shading and prevent drastic changes of the color. Consider moving the ones closest to windows more often, especially during summer months, if rearranging is a problem to you.

Another thing to do is limit the daylight. If you are not at home or in your room during the day, pull the drapes or shades on the windows before leaving. If you have blinds and wish to have some light, turn them a bit on the downside toward the facade, not on the upper towards the sky.

It might sound complicated to you at first, but it’s not as it seems. Working and living with natural materials requires some care and attention, but many homeowners say it’s worth it!