A hardwood floor may start fading over time. The natural sheen of the wood or finish can disappear, making your floor appear dull or old.
This may have nothing to do with cleaning products you use, but rather how you maintain your hardwood floors.
You can prevent fading of a hardwood floor but you need to know what is really causing it to happen.
In this guide, we'll look at the reasons why your wood is fading, how to prevent fading, and general maintenance tips to keep your hardwood floor looking beautiful all the time.
Why is your Hardwood Floor Fading?
There are a number of factors that can lead to a change in the appearance of your wooden floors.
They include using the wrong cleaning products and techniques, exposure to UV radiation, water or moisture damage, heat, dirt, or simply daily wear and tear.
1. Cleaning Products
Regular cleaning is a key method of maintaining a hardwood floor. For most people, this is commonly done using commercial cleaners.
Plenty of such products are sold in stores but not all of them are gentle enough. Some contain compounds and chemical elements that have damaging effects on wood.
When you go shopping for a wood floor cleaner, make sure you understand what you are going for.
Find good brands such as Bona. If that is a problem, stick to natural wood floor cleaners or seek a professional for help.
2. UV Rays/Heat
Direct sunlight on your hardwood floors can make them change color or fade. The UV rays from the sun can heat and strip off the sheen on the surface of your floor.
This mostly happens when you open your windows to allow in sunlight.
Use rugs to cover the areas that are directly exposed to sunlight. Window shades or coatings can also be used to minimize direct contact of sunlight to your floors.
3. Water/moisture damage
Water is the greatest enemy of any wooden flooring. When exposed, the wood will fade, warp or decay.
This mostly happens when you have not completely dried out your floors after cleaning with water-based solutions or not cleared water spills on time before they dry or seep into the wood.
Homes in humid areas can also experience faded floors. If you stay in such places, invest in a humidifier or dehumidifier to regulate moisture content in the house.
Use mats at the entrance to prevent tracked-in moisture. Clear spills immediately when they happen and avoid using water-based solutions to clean.
4. Dirt/ Grime
Without proper cleaning, grime will create a film on your floor's surface that will make it have an awful appearance. Grit and hard dirt debris can also scratch your floor when people walk over it.
This will not only make your wood look dull but will also disintegrate the finish, thus exposing your wood.
Sweeping with a soft bristle broom on a regular basis or using a microfiber dust mop greatly helps prevent dirt accumulation as well as ensures your floor is safe.
Deep cleaning once in a while will also get rid of any grime and bacteria from the floor.
5. Wear and Tear
Wood floors can also fade due to daily wear and tear caused by activities taking place in a home such as human and pets’ traffic, kids playing, and cleaning.
It can also be caused by scratches and scuff marks caused by furniture and pets like dogs with long claws.
Refinishing after every 5 to 10 years helps restore the wood floor as well as reinstate the protective sealant.
Polishing hardwood floors on a regular basis can also help in rejuvenating the surface at a cheaper cost.
How to Prevent Hardwood floors from Fading
Proper care and maintenance can see your floors remain beautiful and last for ages.
Here are the best maintenance tips that will also prevent the wood from fading:
- Sweep frequently to remove dirt, debris, and grit that can act like sandpaper on your floor.
- Utilize mats at the entrance to avoid tracked-in sand and moisture on the floor.
- Remove spills immediately to avoid them drying and forming spots on the surface.
- Trim long claws of your dogs or cats to prevent them from scratching the surface.
- Use protective pads on the legs of your furniture and do not drag them on the floor.
- Keep an eye on the humidity levels of your home and, if they're high, invest in a dehumidifier.
- Use professional cleaners and recommended products on your wood floors.
- Polish your hardwood floors once in a while to help conceal light scratches.
- Refinish after five years to restore the finish, beauty and protection of your wood floor.
How to Fix a Faded Hardwood Floor
May be you have relocated to a home and found that the floor is faded or maybe your wood has been fading slowly without your knowledge. What should you do?
Finished hardwood floors can be refinished to restore beauty and protection. This is done through sanding, staining, and the application of a new layer of polyurethane coating.
Sanding involves buffing and removing the old finish using a sand pad attached to a sander.
After sanding you can decide to change color, add tint or lighten your hardwood floor.
It is important to note that sanding is only applicable to solid intact hardwood floor or engineered wood floor with a solid substrate. Here is a simple guide on how to sand:
- Clear the room by removing all the furniture, open the windows, and remove any nails or pins and any debris that can interfere with the process.
- Attach a 60-grit sand pad on a drum sander and begin sanding. Use a palm sander in tight corners. Repeat using a 80-grit and finally using a 100-grit sand pad.
- Vacuum and remove all the dust to prepare the surface for staining, lightening and coating.
- Stain or lighten your wood and let it dry before you apply a coating of polyurethane.
- Let every coat dry completely before you apply the 2nd or 3rd coat of your polyurethane.
Sanding should be done by a professional to avoid any damage to your hardwood floors. If you have some experience, however, you can consider doing it yourself.
Polishing can also be used to fix a faded floor surface. This should be done using a professional wood floor polish that has the right ingredients to restore and shine your floor.
Polishing is seen as a cheap and convenient way of restoring a faded wood floor since no sanding is involved.
A properly maintained hardwood floor should last many years without fading.
However, if you want to restore a faded hardwood floor, be ready to spend some coin and time as well.
So, why not prevent your floor finish from fading in the first place?