We adore the way wood ages and changes over time. We think that oak flooring ought to get better with time, developing personality as it ages. Having said that, you want your oak flooring to age naturally and not have its colour shift too suddenly, noticeably, or unevenly. Then why does wood flooring fade with sunlight? And what may be done to prevent fading issues?

What to expect: Sunlight and Oak Flooring

It is a known truth that as wood matures, it alters in response to its surroundings. Wood oxidises when exposed to air, moisture, and heat, but exposure to light is the primary cause of fading in oak floors.

Even while we like having natural light in our homes, any natural materials will inevitably change colour over time when exposed to the sun’s rays. When it comes to colour changes in oak flooring, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is typically the main offender.

Oak flooring that is in direct sunlight will gradually fade in colour. Since the change in your floor’s colour usually occurs slowly, you probably won’t even notice it most of the time, but it may be seen when you move a piece of furniture or rug which has been blocking the sun for a long time.

Oak Floors that have a dark finish such as our Manor or Chambord Bourgogne and a very light finish such as our Raw, may show more change compared with a mid-toned product like Dijon Gris or Dijon Marron. In addition, oak products with a light finish and/or a white oil finish like Dijon Blanc & Beaulieu Chocolat may yellow slightly because of exposure to extreme direct sunlight.

Beaulieu Chocolat Plank

Chambord Bourgogne Plank

What can you do to protect Oak Flooring from fading problems?

In general, all oak flooring products go through colour development within the first 6 months of being laid, and it is during this time that rugs, furniture etc. should be moved around – this will equalize the light exposure and even out the changing process so that a more consistent tone will be achieved within the entire room. In general, it is good practice to remove rugs from your oak floor whenever you can, for example if you go away on holiday, giving it even more opportunity to equalize out.

You can also install windows that will reduce UV light. “Low-E” (low emissivity) windows assist to prevent UV rays from entering your house. It should significantly reduce the rate of fading of your oak floor by blocking practically all UV radiation from hitting it. Additionally, these windows can lower the amount of heat that escapes through your glass, lowering your energy usage and carbon impact. It’s important to keep in mind that, unless you’re adding windows into a new construction, this choice is usually not economical. Fortunately, “low-E” window films are also readily available and may be added to your current windows to save your oak floors. These can be quite efficient and are more reasonably priced than other options. Companies such as Safety First Window Films are able to supply and install window films, and advise you on the most appropriate film(s) for your home.

Image courtesy of Safety First Window Films – internal view of solar control window film.

Additionally, the use of window coverings such as mini blinds, louvre blinds (where sunlight can be directed away from the flooring) or motorized screens that can be set on timers when the sun is at its strongest can be very effective options.

It’s important to maintain your oak floors, following the recommended advice from your flooring supplier. To keep it looking its best, clean it gently using the recommended products. If you use harsh cleaners that aren’t made for oak flooring, you oak floor will get damaged and discolour. To clean and revive your oak floors, we provide a selection of cleaning and maintenance products.

To ensure that the surface of your floor is completely protected by its protective finish, keep an eye out for wear and tear. If the floor’s finish is deteriorating, it will be more susceptible to harm from both the sun and the daily abrasion that frequent foot traffic causes. As a result, the exposed wood will rapidly get discoloured.

Fixing existing oak floor fading problems

Depending on how your oak floor has been finished, you may be able to sand it back and refinish it. It is important to speak with your oak flooring supplier and ask if your oak floor can undergo a sand and refinish.

If you still have questions, speak with us! We are more than happy to advise on oak floors less likely to show fading and how to manage sunlight and keeping your oak floor looking beautiful, call us on 01764 684836 or book a showroom visit here…