Hardwood & Bamboo Flooring Color Change (Colorfastness)

Hardwood & Bamboo Flooring Color Change (Colorfastness)

The color fastness of hardwood flooring is the expected change in color over time as the wood ages, either from exposure to light or as it naturally oxidizes over time. Certain species show very little color change, while others show an extreme degree of color change.

Wood flooring, furniture, picture frames, wall paneling, and moldings are affected by exposure to ultraviolet light. Each wood species has unique characteristics that will react accordingly with exposure to light.

When subject to sunlight, some hardwood flooring shows less color change such as Maple, Birch, Hickory and African Santos, while Brazilian Cherry, Tigerwood and African Teak will show more extreme color changes. It should also be noted that individual pieces of wood may change color differently.

Another factor contributing to color change is the change in color of the finish applied to the wood flooring, furniture or other millwork. Some factory-finished hardwood flooring contains UV blockers to limit the degree of color change.

Oil-modified finishes usually amber over time and water-based finishes generally remain clear, the finishes applied to factory-finished floors appear differently depending on the chemicals and formulations used.

When selecting a new hardwood floor it is important to choose a product that will perform best in your location. Brazilian Cherry will show extreme color changes in a house with floor to ceiling windows but will perform perfectly when installed in a home office with little or no direct light.

Keep in mind that all lighting contains UV, including the lights used in homes and commercial buildings, which means that most wood flooring will change color over time. Color changes are natural and to be expected.

  • When purchasing factory finished hardwood flooring choose a product with non-yellowing coatings and UV blockers.
  • Protect the wood flooring from sunlight exposure whenever possible.

Wood and Bamboo flooring covered with area rugs and furniture will darken or lighten depending on the species. Once the furniture is shifted and the area rug is removed, the color difference will dissipate or catch up with the surrounding area’s color over time.

The degree to which a species of wood
changes color over time
1= color very stable
2= some color change
3= fair degree of color change
4= a lot of color change
5= dramatic color change

Color Fastness
Brazilian Cherry-  5
Brazilian Walnut-  2
African Teak-  3
African Santos-  1
Tigerwood –  4
Amendoim –  1
Birch-  1
Maple-  1
Hickory-  1
Red Oak Natural-  1
White Oak-  1

Linda Lockwood
Statewide Floor Covering Inspection Service



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