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You would be surprised how many Vancouver Island and Okanagan homes fall victim to faded furniture, hardwood floors, artwork, and rugs. Many of our clients have been on the hunt for a solution or preventative measure to help protect their home furnishings, and we have a few ways to help. In consultation from our friends at Vista we found some great material to help educate you on this topic, and here is how it all shakes out.

First off, we need to understand why things fade from sunlight in the first place. It is all comes down to the chemical makeup of an object. The technical term for colour fading is “photodegradation”. There are light absorbing colour bodies called chromophores that are present in dyes. The colour(s) we see are based upon these chemical bonds and the amount of light that is absorbed in a particular wavelength.

The technical term for colour fading is photodegradation, and we see it everyday affecting artwork, home furnishings, and hardwood flooring in homes without protective window films.

Ultraviolet rays from the sun can break down these chemical bonds and thus fade the colour in an object – it is essentially a bleaching effect. Some objects may be more prone to fading, such as dyed textiles, watercolors, fabric, and hardwood flooring. Other objects may reflect the light more, which makes them less prone to fade.

What Causes Fading?

A variety of factors

To understand the causes of fading, one needs to know a little about the makeup of sunlight. Sunlight is basically made up of three elements:

  1. Visible light: the part which enables us to see
  2. Infrared light: the part which we feel as heat
  3. Ultraviolet light: we cannot feel it or see it, but it is the main factor in causing fabrics, furniture, and works of art to fade

Fading is a result of these three “sunlight “ factors and, to a lesser degree, indoor artificial lighting, humidity, and poor dye anchorage play a role as well.

Fading Causes: UV Light 0
Fading Causes: Heat 0
Fading Causes: Visible Light 0
Fading Causes: Misc 0

What Fades?

Food, Fabric, & Art

Laboratory tests simulated sunlight per test conditions (from the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colourists) show that furniture, fabrics, works of art, flooring and even decorative wall paint fades with time and UV exposure (some more than others).

Here are some tips from the pros:

Wood: Natural wood finishes are much more stable than stains or finishes which alter the colour of the original wood. And, wood may actually darken with prolonged exposure to UV rather than fade to a lighter colour.

Fabrics: Results differ depending upon fibre type, dye colour and stability, and/or pattern printing techniques. Fabric cost has no bearing on the degree of fade damage and expensive fabrics may be as vulnerable to fading as less expensive fabrics.

Artwork: From photographs to paintings, tapestries to wood sculptures, certain media will fade more rapidly than other works of art. A watercolor, for example, is far more vulnerable than an oil painting. A tapestry of bright bold colours may deteriorate more rapidly than a solid wall hanging. To be safe, never place art in direct sunlight.

Occupants: Yes, we mean you! The sun’s harmful UV rays damage more than furniture and fabrics; that is why the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends the use of UV blocking Window Film as a device for the protection of skin.

Our Solution

Safe & Simple

Of course, there is a way to prevent all of this, and it is extremely simple. By installing UV blocking window films you can stop fading in its tracks while reducing your energy bills and increasing your comfort at the same time. Click through to read more about how window films can help protect your valuables and your family, all at the same time.

Learn More