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How to Reduce the Colour Changing of Your Wood Floor
As a natural product wood is expected at some point to experience changes. What kind of changes can occur would depend on many factors including the type of wood, the finish and stain, the atmospheric conditions, and something quite important, the amount of care the floor has been given. Colour changes should also be expected because time affects everything. The interesting thing is the results may vary a lot depending on the circumstances.
The main reason for the change in colour is a well-known fact and it is the sunlight and the most common problem is the floor fading. The obvious thing to do is to limit that exposure with curtains, rugs and clever furniture placement. The best course of action, though, is to get a finish with a UV protection which will limit the exposure and ensure your floor looks better for a much longer period.
The Wood Species
It is worth noting that not all timber types react the same way to sunlight. The traditional European trees will certainly fade. Oak is reacting a bit more differently instead of fading it slowly changes to reach more golden and amber hues. On the other hand, many exotic hardwoods actually tend to darken. This is particularly true for species like Brazilian Cherry and Tigerwood.
The different flooring grades, from rustic to prime also have an influence. A prime grade timber should have a less of a change over the years but it will cost more. Quality is expensive.
The stain. If you follow the latest flooring trends when it comes to staining you’d know that dark floors are a very popular colouration nowadays. It is said that a stained floor will retain its respective colour better and darker stains show significantly less change.
Unfinished or Pre-finished? If you are purchasing a new floor it’s always nice to make sure you have UV protection on it. Most people actually prefer to have their floor finished, on-site. What they may not know is that a pre-finished floor usually arrives with a factory coating which usually consists of aluminium oxide crystals mixed with a UV cured urethane. A finish applied to the site will have a warranty of three to five years while the factory one – from five to twenty-five years. As you can see, the difference in durability is quite big but the pre-finished floors come with other downsides.
The type of finish can affect your floors is other ways, as well. Oil-based products tend to give the floor a yellowish tint which is not very appealing. For this very reason, water-based products are a superior choice if you look to preserve your floor’s original colour.
Each type of finish has a certain sheen level which determines how much light it reflects. There are four options: gloss, semi-gloss, satin and matte. Right now satin and matte are more popular because they have a lower sheen level, reflect less light and therefore any flaws and imperfections are less visible on them. The thing is satin and matte tend to darken with the passage of time while gloss and semi-gloss turn lighter. If you are afraid that your floor will fade, going for a glossier finish with traditional hardwood is a bad idea. But what about exotic species, that actually turn darker, instead?
Achieving the Perfect Image
Getting just the right colour and tint on your floor is a challenge even for a professional. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, if you look for a floor that will age well oak is probably the best choice. You want it dark with little to no fading? Stain it that way and apply an oil finish with UV filter. You want it light with little to no darkening? Glossier water-based polyurethane with UV protection should do the trick.
In the end, if you feel you are unhappy with the finish, you can always sand, remove it and apply a one that is more to your liking.