Hardwood Flooring And Colour Change


So you’re planning on getting new hardwood floors?  Then we have a few things for you to consider in regards to sunlight and UV Rays…

As exotic wood species become more popular in decorating homes, color differences are more common, and since we love the natural beauty of real-wood floors, we must embrace the individual species characteristics that create the colour change.

Just like with our skin when exposed to the sun, every species of natural wood product has its own particular characteristics and will be affected by sunlight to varying degrees, thus changing the colour.

Your hardwood floors will also be expected to change in colour over time, due to oxidation or exposure to oxygen.  Certain species, such as oak and maple, show very little colour change over time, while most exotic imported wood species have an extreme degree of colour change.

Also, within each wood species there is a range of colour, and interestingly enough, individual pieces of the same species will change colour differently.

Some prefinished flooring products contain “UV blockers,” but these do not eliminate colour variability; they only limit the degree of colour change.

For the same reason, oil-modified finishes generally amber over time and water-based finishes generally remain clear.  The finishes applied on factory-finished floors appear different based on the chemicals and  formulations used.  The gloss of the finish also affects color variability.  Flat or satin finishes appear darker than gloss or semi-gloss coatings.  In addition, almost everyone sees color differently and as we get older, colour perceptions change.  The colour of a finished piece of flooring is affected by the gloss, the light in which it is viewed, and the individual’s own perception.  Before you purchase your new floors, make sure you are aware of some important details:

  • Not all products that are factory-finished contain “UV blockers,” so be sure to do your homework.
  • Limit light exposure whenever possible, wood floors and interior furnishings should be protected with blinds, or curtains designed to limit harmful light.
  • The floor under the area rug will eventually “catch up” to the rest of the floor once that area of the wood flooring is exposed to light.
  • Prefinished flooring that is stained, especially in darker tones, shows significantly less colour change.
  • There is no such thing as “colour match.” For the obvious reason that no two pieces of flooring are exactly the same, it is then impossible to match colour 100%!
  • Natural light during daylight hours presents a different look compared with a sample inspected at night, under warm fluorescent bulbs.

Now that you have some knowledge on colour change, you must continue to do your homework and find out more about installation types, engineered vs. solid hardwood, different species, styles and profiles, and how relative humidity and moisture will affect your flooring.
Happy Flooring