Sun Damage is a fact of life. If there is a window that faces the outside world, you will have to deal with the affects of sun damage sooner or later. Carpets, furniture, linoleum, wood floors, cabinets, artwork, and your skin are all susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun’s rays. In this article we would like to address what the contributing factors to sun damage are and what you can do to minimize it.
Causes of Fading
Fading is the result of three primary factors… Ultraviolet rays, Heat, and Visible light. There is a fourth factor that encompasses conditions such as humidity, fabric type, dye anchor strength, species of wood, and other conditions. The diagram below gives a general picture of how much each factor contributes to sun damage.
UV radiation is the largest contributing factor at 40%. Don’t be fooled either, just because the sun is not shining directly through your windows does not mean that you and the contents of your home or office are not getting exposure to this damaging part of the EM spectrum. UV radiation bounces off of surfaces so no untreated window is safe. The best performing window films provide 99% (or more) ultraviolet rejection which almost all but eliminates the ultra violet from entering through your windows.
Heat is another contributing factor at 25%. Now that may not seem like much but when you look at the length of time it takes to see the noticeable effects of sun damage on an east/west exposure, you will see damage show up first on the west exposure because it is usually exposed to more heat for a greater amount of time than an easterly exposure. Incoming heat gain should be reduced as much as possible to minimize sun damage. Most window films are capable of rejecting up 80% or more of the total solar energy.
Visible Light is the reason we have windows. We like our light and the last thing we would want to do is make a room overly dark. So we have to use balance and good judgment when choosing a film. There are spectrally select films that are designed to achieve maximum heat rejection while letting in higher amounts of light transmission.
How many times are we told to use sunscreen when we are outside? The good news is that glass filters out almost all of the UVB rays, however the UVA rays go right through your glass unobstructed. Unfortunately, UVA rays are also the ones that contribute to skin cancer. Window film has been recommended by dermatologists and it is also recognized by skin cancer organizations as an effective way to protect your skin from the damaging affect of UVA rays.
Beware of claims that window film eliminates sun damage altogether. This is not true. The only way to eliminate sun damage is to eliminate your windows and that is not an option. On the other hand, window film is a great way to reduce sun damage saving you thousands in replacement costs.
-Window Film Online
Published July 2, 2008