Causes of fading that lead to faded floors like this one are largely related to sun exposure.

What Causes Fading and Can I Prevent It?

Professional Window TintingSun Control Window Film, UV Protection

There are several causes of fading when it comes to furniture and flooring in a home or office, but most come from the sun and happen over time. A question many people ask is, “Can I prevent it?” Unfortunately, fading is inevitable whether your furnishings and floors are exposed to intensive sunlight for a short time or experience  consistent exposure to the weaker light of cloudy, overcast days. Here in the North East where Professional Window Tinting is located, the sun can cause fading in the heat of summer as well as during our cloudy winter months.

Primary Causes of Fading in Furniture and Flooring

The graphic below breaks out the causes of fading. You can see that the majority of fading is caused by sunlight with the last 10% caused by factors such as humidity. While humidity and artificial light contribute a little to furniture fading, controlling the sunlight factors will have the greatest impact when it comes to controlling furniture fade. 

Causes of Fading

*Miscellaneous includes indoor artificial lighting, humidity, and poor dye anchorage.

Visible light and infra-red heat are other factors that contribute to fading, which is why effective film installations must harness all three sunlight elements. Ultraviolet light rays bounce off solid objects-buildings, trees, streets, etc. Therefore, regardless of a window’s compass orientation, you can still have a fading problem. Natural fibers like silk or wool are less fade-resistant than synthetic fibers. Antiques, tapestries, rugs, etc., use less stable dyes and will fade more quickly. Fluorescent dyes are less color stable than other colors.

Elements of Sunlight Contributing to Fading

Sunlight is primarily made up of three elements:

  • Visible light – the part that we can see. Visible light is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that the human eye can detect. It’s why we can see the colors we can see. 
  • Infrared light – the part we feel as heat. This component accounts for 25% of fading of furnishings and flooring and can also dry out window sills and other parts of your home or office.
  • 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. It accounts for 40% of the fading we experience.

How to Reduce Fading with 3M™ Sun Control Window Film

While nothing stops fading completely, 3M™ Sun Control Window Films reduce the major causes of fading (ultraviolet light, visible light, and solar heat), thus helping to prolong the life and preserving the appearance of your furnishings. In addition to preventing sun-bleached floors or furniture, 3M™ Sun Control Window Films offer a number of other benefits that improve the comfort of indoor spaces, whether it’s your home, office, or other retail space. By controlling the amount of UV light that comes into your space, you also protect your skin from sun damage, and can transform your living arrangements to better suit your health needs. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends window film for protection against harmful UV rays.

Our 3M™ Sun Control Window Films filter 99.9% of UV rays, making them effective at reducing fading. While you can never fully eliminate fading, installing sun protection film on windows can drastically reduce the damage, making most fabrics and furnishings look fresh and vibrant for years to come.

Common Items that Fade Over Time & How UV Protection Film Can Help

Laboratory tests using Xenon arc simulated sunlight per test conditions from The American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists show that furniture, fabrics, works of art, flooring and even decorative wall paint fade with time (some more than others), meaning that each of these things can benefit from sun protection window film.

Here are some tips from the pros:

Wood: Natural wood finishes are more stable than stains or finishes, which alter the color of the original wood. It is also worth noting that wood may actually darken with prolonged exposure to UV light rather than fade to a lighter color. So if you’re considering whether to stain that piece of wooden furniture, you might think again. 

Fabrics: Results differ depending upon fiber type, dye color 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 are.

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 colors may deteriorate more rapidly than a solid wall hanging. To be safe, never place art in direct sunlight.

Professional Window Tinting is a family run and woman-owned business, proudly serving the MD, DE, PA, and NJ region for over 30 years. To get your free quote on commercial or residential solar window film, give us a call at (302) 456-3456 or fill out a form online.

*This article was originally published in May of 2019