Discoloration/yellowing of wood floor from sunlight and rug

Q: Twelve years ago our white oak floors were installed and stained on-site, then finished with “Glitza”. I foolishly had a large area rug in the dining room where it is sunny.

We are selling and a “stager” said to remove the rug. And now from either sun or mopping or both, the under-rug area is a darker golden. Not horrible but the discoloration is definitely noticeable. Suggestions?

Our home is quite large and fairly expensive asking price, so a buyer will be understandably bothered by this issue. We won’t hide this from buyers yet would like to minimize the variation if possible, and unfortunately, we simply can’t afford a major fix. Is there a wood bleach or something that would help blend the lines?

A: I wish I had a magic potion to fix this but unfortunately time alone can do so. If it is very severe it is possible that it may still show slightly even if it were totally sanded.

I would look at it this way, and I’ve sold enough houses to know: I wouldn’t worry about it too much because there is a good chance that whoever buys the place likely won’t like the color and has already decided to have the floors stained a different color. It’s much more important that they are structurally in good shape which they no doubt are. Real estate agents will have people doing all sorts of costly things to sell their house, and believe me, in the end, it was all money spent for nothing because the buyer will change everything you have upgraded.

Follow-up: Craig, I so appreciate your quick and kind reply! You make some very good points and helpful points, too. While I certainly wish there was a quick fix it is good to know from an expert that there is no such thing besides time, and therefore keep me from trying some extreme and potentially further-damaging measures. It also helps to suspect that even sanding could potentially result in a remaining shadow of the same issue. Finally, you’re so right that a buyer will no doubt want to change more (in the home we’re emotionally-tied to) than I care to even think about, so it’s probably time to let go. Thanks again very much. 

Under rugs, the flooring is lighter

Related Q: My husband has been in the wood flooring business for 20 years and is a 3rd generation wood flooring man. He recently sanded a Heartpine floor for a customer that had several area rugs and furniture, under the rugs the flooring was lighter. After sanding far more than usual the dark uncovered areas are still not as light as the areas that were covered and lighter to begin with. This is the first time he has come across this issue.. any thoughts or suggestions? The customer does not want to stain the floor and would like it as light as possible.

A: This is clearly not his fault. We can’t totally control nature. If the discoloration won’t sand out they will simply have to leave the area previously hidden by carpet exposed for as long as it takes. I wish I knew a magic trick for this problem but I don’t. If I see this when doing an estimate I always make sure to give a disclaimer because it is impossible to know if it will come out with sanding.

Color difference where the carpet was

Similar Q: I had a piece of carpet upside down on my hardwood floor. Now I have a variation of color where the carpet was and the rest of the floor. Is there something in the carpet that would cause this, or would the other part of the floor fade?

A: This is caused by sunlight. Some species will have a change like this after as little as a week. Leave the area uncovered. It should equal out.

Light areas where rugs were

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We have maple hardwood floors throughout, and had large rugs on the floors. Now that we have removed the rugs we are left with light areas where the rugs were. Is there any way that we can darken these areas to match the exposed flooring?

A: Either leave the area exposed, which will take a long time to change, with no guarantee it will exactly blend with the rest of the floor area. Sanding is the only real way to do this. Afterward, the floors can be finished with a water based acrylic urethane which is non yellowing, or use a non yellowing oil modified. Also, try to control the amount of direct sunlight hitting the floors.

Sun fading on floor

Related Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: I have sun fading on an oak floor where a large rug sat. It has been sanded very well. I just cleaned it and I am worried it will show after the finish goes on. What do you think?

A: It is possible you might still see a line or shading difference. I’ve done floors that I had doubts about as to this type of thing but after I applied the finish there was no significant difference to really notice. Nothing really that can be done about it at any rate.

Follow-up: Yeah, I applied it anyway it does show up some, but it is not that bad.

Original / moved link  https://faceliftfloors.com/q-and-a/sunshine.php

Patches where the color of the flooring is much lighter than other areas

Q imported from our old site, Face Lift Floors: We recently purchased a year old condo, and were thrilled with the beautiful maple floors at the time of viewing. Since then, we have noticed that there are patches where the colour of the flooring is much lighter than other areas. It is difficult to tell if the difference is caused from carpets or sunlight.

We have contacted the installer, and think we’re getting the runaround because he says that all floors undergo oxidation, and the colour will eventually even out. We haven’t taken possession yet. Our condo is still under a new home warranty. Any advice?

A: Actually, what the installer has told you is true. The shading differences you see are a result of both the carpet and sunlight. The carpet covers over an area and shields it from the sunlight. The more direct light, the more rapid the color change, especially if oil modified polyurethanes are used as a finish. Water-based urethanes tend to change more slowly and less severely in many cases.

You say the building is only a year old. I would simply let as much of the floor area be exposed, especially the light areas, and it should and will indeed even out. It is not as if wood will keep getting darker and more discolored to infinity! At some point, it has reached saturation. The rest should catch up.

This is especially “problematic” with woods such as American cherry and Jatoba (Brazilian cherry) where the effects of light exposer can occur in days. But, here again, exposing those lighter areas to light will allow it to catch up. Boa-franc, the manufacturer of mirage floors has some excellent literature which shows the effect of light on different species of wood.

Original / moved link https://faceliftfloors.com/q-and-a/patches.php

Speeding up yellowing of uncovered areas on the floor?

Similar Q:  Is there a way to hasten the yellowing/discoloring of maple floors?  We recently removed some furniture and the flooring underneath is the original maple color vs the rest of the more yellowed flooring.  The flooring is 15 years old.

Rather than going through the expense and trouble of refinishing the entire flooring (1000 sq ft) we’d like to consider matching the two small unaffected areas (10 sq ft) to the rest of the discolored flooring.  Is there a reliable way to do this?

A: Ultra Violet (UV) radiation causes the wood to change color.  You would have to do some research about this type of lighting and its safety in daily use.  It is the only way I can think of to speed up the process, maybe. Untested. If anyone has done this and it works, please comment below!

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