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Hardwood Photosensitivity

It’s not only humans that are affected by UV light – your hardwood floors are too. Avoiding the surprise of “bad tan lines” on your wood floors is a process as easy as buying sunscreen. It starts with understanding photosensitivity.

Wood is a natural material, and like fine wines, it ages. Instead of wrinkles, wood shows its age through gradual changes in colour. The amount of colour change a species of wood experiences depends on photosensitivity, also known as the reaction a material has to light.

The chart below shows the average photosensitivity of each species. Each species is rated from stable to 10, with stable species less likely to change colour and “10” species experiencing a more dramatic change in colour.

hardwood flooring photosensitivity

Always ask your sales representative about the photosensitivity of the specific hardwood you’re interested to get a complete understanding of the effects UV light will have on your floor.

If your dream floor is more photosensitive than you had hoped, don’t worry. Take the following steps to find out if photosensitivity will have an impact on the hardwood floor you’ve envisioned:

  1. Plan for the colour change by finding out what your floor will look like once its colour has changed. Will it get darker or lighter, and more importantly, do you like that colour? If you do, onto step two.
  2. Consider how much light the space will get. If the space doesn’t get much UV light, the colour will not change much.
  3. If the space does get a lot of light, consider investing in blinds or window coverings and closing them during the day to minimize UV light.
  4. Rearrange furniture, mats, and area rugs occasionally to ensure even colour change.

By understanding the photosensitivity of your hardwood floors you can take the appropriate steps to prevent unexpected colour changes.

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Kelsey is the main writer for the MIRA Floors blog. Have a flooring question you would like us to cover? Let me know in the comments.

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