How to Deal with Photosensitive (Light-Sensitive) Hardwood Floors

Your wood floor is a natural material, and brings a natural warmth and beauty to your space. Like all natural components, hardwood flooring is susceptible to the elements. Every homeowner knows how sensitive wood flooring can be to temperature and moisture, but there is one other aspect that is missed – light.

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What is photo-sensitivity?

Photo-sensitivity is the reaction a selected material has to light.

A photosensitive hardwood floor reacts to natural light, changing colors slowly upon exposure. Ultraviolet (UV) light has the most effects.

The color change can take months, years before it becomes noticeable. In fact, like any natural material, wood floors age.

A floor finish can minimize the effects of UV light, since all wood floors will change color slightly. However, because there is no way to remove any natural light source from the room you cannot totally stop the changing color process.

A homeowner has two options:

1) One is to slow down the damage.
2) Second is anticipating the changing color and adjusting the decor of the room to match.

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What can you do?

Plan for the color change even before you install a photosensitive wood floor. Speak to your hardwood floor salesperson. Ask the experts about photo-sensitivity and whether or not the species you’re interested in is prone to it. They are the only ones which can tell you about the color changes your floor will experience from exposure to UV.

1/ Think about how much light you’ll get in the space where you’re installing the wood floor.

– Slow the effects of UV on the hardwood floor by hanging heavy curtains in the windows to block the sunlight.
– Install a UV window film on the windows overlooking the hardwood floor. Blocking UV will only slow the color changes, though, because no block is 100 percent effective.

2/ Re-arrange furniture and mats frequently to make sure the floor ages evenly. Also, redecorate your room as the floor changes colors to match the new colors resulting from the exposure. This includes paint, furniture, wallpaper, etc.

3/ Refinishing hardwood floors is a thing that you can do by yourself. Older wooden floors can be restored to their previous glory when you discover out how to refinish hardwood floors.