Fading over time is a problem which can affect all hardwood floors. No matter how often you clean your floors, the possibility of it fading exists. While it is hard to prevent, it can be reversed. Throughout this article we are going to go over methods of renewing and maintaining the natural sheen of your hardwood flooring.
Why is Your Floor Fading?
The most common reason that your once lovely floor is fading is due to direct sunlight. UV rays can be as harmful to hardwood as they are to humans, and they speed up the process of fading. The heat from the sun’s Infrared Rays can also lead to faded floors. Spills that are not immediately cleaned up, and other forms of moisture, will lead to water damage which has serious effects on hardwood.
1. Moisture Damage
This is the simplest method: don’t let your floors stay wet. You probably do this already – if something spills, just clean it up as soon as possible. If you live in an area of very high humidity and notice fading you may wish to invest in a dehumidifier. If the fading is already too noticeable to prevent, see below for details on how to fix it.
Heat fading occurs when the temperature is not evenly distributed across the floor. Infrared Rays from the sun are a common cause of heat fading. The most effective way of dealing with this is to pay attention to the temperature of the floor under your feet. If it feels hotter in some parts than others, it may be time to find some way of creating shade.
3. UV Rays
UV fading is the most common type of fading. It is similar to heat fading because direct sunlight is the culprit. This one can be harder to detect as temperature may not be a good enough indicator. In order to prevent this you simply need to stop the sunlight from emitting UV rays in direct contact with your floor. Window shades will effectively (and cost-effectively) do the job, as will most forms of shade.
How to Prevent Fading While Still Allowing Sunlight
If your window does not already have it, Low-E coating/windows is something you will definitely want to consider. Low-E coating will reflect both infrared and UV rays. This will lower the heat entering into your house, the UV radiation entering, and the likelihood of your hardwood floors fading. With Low-E coating you can have as much sunlight as you want come into the room, as long as the windows are closed and protecting yourself and your floors.
How to Repair Floors Which Are Already Faded
In most cases it isn’t the whole floorboard which has slightly faded, but the finishing. The most effective way of dealing with any hardwood floor which is faded on the surface is to sand off the top layer of finish and refinish it. This does require a fair bit of work depending on how large of an area you need to refinish. There are professionals who will do it for you, but it is fairly easy to do by yourself or with a couple of volunteers.
Once you have sanded away the damaged area and reached the part of the wood which looks new, you just need to apply new coat(s) of finishing until the area matches your preexisting floors around it.
The most important thing to remember is to ensure that you avoid direct sunlight on your floors whenever possible. With proper Low-E windows and a dehumidifier if necessary, you should be able to prevent fading altogether. If it has already occurred, then with simple sanding and refinishing, you can restore your floors to a pristine condition. If you allow too much fading to occur, it can become permanent and you will have to replace the floors. If it isn’t too late and you follow the instructions here, your fears of faded floors will fade from memory.