Home Furnishings Need Protection from UV Rays, Too

sun brightens the interior of a living room

Every winter, particularly during the December solstice, the sun moves much lower across the sky. As it is at a lower angle to the earth, more sunlight could enter through windows and illuminate homes for extended periods.

Sunlight is precious. But for all the benefits it brings, it also causes a few problems. One of them is the accelerated deterioration of organic and synthetic materials. Overexposure to sunlight could weaken outdoor and indoor plants, turn untreated timber brittle, and cause discoloration in fabrics, painted surfaces, and other colored materials.

In homes, furnishings often take the brunt of sun damage. A common effect is color fading, a cosmetic flaw that could reduce the overall quality of the piece. Moreover, it is often irreversible. Home improvements and accessories that offer protection from the sun could help preserve furniture and allow homeowners to get their money’s worth.

The Might of UV

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main culprit of color fading in fabrics and furnishings. An article by the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC) attributes 40 percent of fading to UV exposure. The research institute adds that although UV radiation is more intense when it’s hot and sunny, it can still wreak havoc in places with mostly cold and cloudy climates.

light enters from the glass door

Two types of UV rays are responsible for these:

-UVA – Can penetrate thick materials like carpets and wood, causing long-term damage

-UVB – Causes bleaching of surface colors

Fading or color reduction happens when coloring agents react to UV rays. Besides the photochemical reaction, the simple drying up of coloring agents due to heat can also cause damage. Paint, for example, can dry up and become brittle, and later peel off and form bare patches on exposed surfaces.

It’s impossible to block UV completely, but a few home improvements can help reduce their deteriorative effect on furniture.

Home Enhancements that Prevent Sun Damage

Window treatments are excellent at reducing the amount of sunlight that enters a room. Curtains, shades, shutters, and retractable window awnings are top choices. Not only do they provide cover from intense heat and solar radiation, but also add to a house’s interior and exterior aesthetics.

Patios and gazebos fronting glass doors and wide windows can also reduce the amount of sunlight that enters a home. They extend the roof cover, so they catch the most sunlight. In effect, they reduce the radiant heat and solar radiation that penetrate the adjacent room.

sun rays draping over a table

Trees and other tall foliage can also help block UV. What’s more, they help cool down a home, reducing the rate of deterioration due to heat.

Renovating rooms that get flooded with sunlight for the better part of the day is ideal if money isn’t an issue. Moving a screen door to a shady location and replacing large windows with smaller ones could make a huge difference. Building an exterior wall is another option. It doesn’t even have to be concrete. A solid fence or trellis with climbers planted near the base can provide extra cover.

Just as the sun accelerates skin aging, UV exposure contributes to the wear-and-tear of home furniture. The addition of sun-blocking features on your home’s exteriors can save you the stress and expense of repairing or replacing sun-damaged furniture.