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How to Prevent Hardwood Flooring from Fading

Dear Bob and Betsy,
Help! I’m rearranging my furniture and noticed that the floor beneath my area rug is a different color than the rest of the room. What can I do to hide this? Is there anything I can do to prevent hardwood flooring from fading?
– Paul R.

Dear Paul,

As much of an eyesore as the varied colors might be, it’s completely natural to have your hardwood flooring change colors over time. The portion of it that’s exposed to the light will fade as the UV rays do their damage. The portion that’s hidden safely under your area rugs will stay the bright, shiny, darker version of the hardwood floor as you remember it when you first had it installed.

It’s a cruel trick of nature. At this point, you might not be able to do too much to hide the large discoloration. However, rest assured that over time, it’ll fade too, evening out the color in your room.

What You Can Do Going Forward

Going forward, we suggest rotating your rugs and furniture from time to time. This will eliminate the risk of your flooring changing color in certain areas. Over time, the floors will get an equal amount of sunlight exposure in each area. Also, invest in some blinds or curtains to help dim the harsh rays. This will even out the fading and keep your hardwood flooring looking consistent.

We also suggest using a regular cleaning program to maintain your floor’s appearance in the areas exposed to the light. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Use doormats to collect fine sand and dust. This can scrape your floors making them look worn out faster.
  • Regularly sweep or dust mop your floors to get the scratch-causing debris out of your room.
  • Avoid all harsh chemicals. This can strip your hardwood floor of its shine and appeal.
  • Never move your furniture by dragging it on the ground. Ask someone to help, or use felt sliding pads.
  • Avoid walking on your floor in any type of shoes, especially those with a high heel.
  • Do not leave your flooring in direct sunlight for a prolonged period of time.

Having a noticeable area where part of your floor is more weathered than the rest is frustrating. By regularly updating your room’s furniture and area rug arrangements, you can avoid this doing longer term damage while keeping your floors looking their best for years to come.

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