Over the past three decades, the amount of ultraviolet (UV) rays reaching Earth has risen. While you may already don sunscreen to protect your skin before heading out the door, it’s important to consider how UV rays can affect the things inside your home, as well.
UV rays, which will continue to get stronger over time, can cause your furniture and flooring to fade. You’ve likely spent a good deal of money on hardwood floors and brand-new furniture, but every day, the sun seeps through your windows, increasing their risk for damage. You may not notice it now, but after years of sitting by uncovered windows, your furniture and floors will look faded and worn.
Thankfully, there are a few solutions that ensure your house is protected. The steps you take depend on your budget and the amount of time you want to spend redoing your windows. Here are some of the best options out there.
Move or cover your furniture and buy rugs
Let’s say you like keeping the shades open all day because your pet is at home and wants to look outside. Maybe you have indoor plants that need constant sun, or the prospect of fading floors doesn’t faze you. In these cases, you can always move your furniture to a shadier spot in your home, cover sunny spots on the floors with rugs, or place UV-protection slipcovers on your furniture. These solutions are more temporary, however, because covers can always slip off, and you may end up wanting to move your furniture back.
Use window shades
One of the most cost-effective solutions is to replace your window shades. Whether you prefer the look of woven wood shades, cellular shades, or Roman shades, look for an option that offers high UV protection. Some solar shades, for example, can block 99 percent of UV rays while still letting in light. You can also choose a custom opacity, which will tell you just how much UV light is entering your home. The lower the opacity, the more UV rays (and sunlight) will be blocked. For example, 1 percent opacity window shades block 99 percent of rays, 3 percent opacity shades block 97 percent of rays, and so on.
Use window films
Window films are translucent vinyl or polyester strips that cling to your window glass. They block 99 percent of UV rays, and you won’t even notice they are on your windows. You can place them on your windows yourself or get them professionally installed. Keep in mind that if you have lots of windows in your home and you choose to have the films installed by contractors, you could pay a pretty penny. Also, over time the films can become scratched or damaged and may need to be replaced. Most are removable, although you may need to use ammonia, vinegar, or a hand steamer to take them off, DIY-style.
Install tinted windows
For a permanent solution to UV rays, consider replacing your windows. Low emissivity (or low-e) glass windows are coated with tiny layers of metallic oxides. You can’t see it, but it does protect you and your home from UV rays. It also helps insulate your home, meaning your rooms will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summertime. These windows can be either soft- or hard-coated. For privacy purposes—and to reduce the light and heat in your house even further—you may still want to pair them with window shades. If you’re remodeling your house anyway, low-e glass windows are a solid choice, but they cost substantially more than window films and window shades.
Whichever option you choose to go with, you’ll boost your home’s protection from harmful UV rays. Your flooring and furniture will thank you!