Whether you're reading this in the height of summer or the depths of winter, sun damage to your wooden furniture is something that's difficult to avoid.
Sun damage is a cumulative problem that occurs when your timber furniture is regularly exposed to UV rays over time. Your furniture is most at risk when the sun is at its highest - between June and August - however UV exposure can also occur during the colder months and can even affect indoor furniture, causing permanent damage to your prized possessions.
UV damage causes wood to fade, discolour and weaken irreversibly due to exposure to UVA and UVB rays that cause damage through heat radiation and light. Sun exposure is most apparent in outside locations but UV rays can also penetrate through interior glass windows, which only filter out roughly 20%-30% of the sun's harmful rays.
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Try Out Different Furniture Positions
Making note of various sun traps and tracking the sun's movement during various times of day will help you to strategically position your wooden furniture to partially or completely evade the sun's harmful rays. If you're able to relocate certain wooden furniture to more shady areas you may be able to slow down the long term effects of sun damage in your garden.
Inside, however, can be a little more problematic. It's worth considering that darker woods will typically fade more quickly - or more noticeably - than lighter woods. If a particular room in your home receives a lot of sunlight, try filling it with paler, lighter woods; this will reduce the appearance of sun damage considerably.
You could also try regularly changing the position of picture frames, candles and other ornaments sitting on your wooden furniture to prevent fade marks from appearing over time. It's also useful to know that woods such as maple or cherry will darken in the sun.
Close Curtains And Blinds
Sometimes the simple ways are the most effective. If you haven't already done so, make use of blinds, curtains and shutters to control the amount of sun that reaches your interior wood furniture. It may seem low-tech or old fashioned, but when you're out of the house, on holiday or about to go to bed, close all draperies, window covers and shades around your home to protect UV rays from hitting the same areas of your wooden furniture in the morning and throughout the day.
Use A Patio Cover Or Garden Umbrella
Fabric parasols and umbrellas will not only protect you from the sun, they'll also shield your patio furniture.
This method may only work when the winds are calm, but setting up your timber tables and chairs under a parasol during the summer months will prevent any evidence of UV damage as the years go by, keeping your patio essentials looking newer for longer.
How Do You Spot Wear & Tear?
Do a sun damage evaluation on your interior and/or exterior timber using this checklist:
#1. Look for obvious signs: has the wood changed colour? Have you noticed it becoming bleached or noticeably darkened? Are colour differences such as lighter rings of colour noticeable when you remove ornaments from the wooden surfaces?
#2. Has the wood changed shape, warped or weakened? Make sure you do thorough inspections of any indoor and outdoor furniture that has suspected sun-damage. Sit down and test out every chair or table as the weakened structures could prove hazardous to anyone who uses it.
#3. For more substantial pieces, do a stain protection test by splashing water on the timber surface. If the stain protection is working, the water should still bead after 15 minutes. If not, the water has penetrated the wood and it will need a new protective coating to ensure the wood is suitably shielded from the sun's rays.