You already know too much exposure to sunlight can cause fading and other damage to belongings. Have you ever stopped to wonder why sunlight causes fabrics and the like to get lighter? And what is it in sunlight that makes it so damaging? Well, sunlight isn't necessarily damaging — as long as you protect yourself from ultraviolet radiation.
How UV Rays Damages Your Furnishings
You take the time to choose your furniture and other décor items, such as rugs. One of the reasons you choose your décor is for color. You may also choose according to texture and, of course, overall appearance. UV rays can take that beauty away from you.
The main culprit is the process of photodegradation. Manufacturers create the colors in fabrics with dyes, which adhere to the fibers by way of chemical bonds. The UV rays break down the bonds between the color molecules, called chromophores, in dyes and the fiber molecules.
Interestingly, UV rays don't just break down those bonds — they actually create free radicals at the molecular level. So, the chromophores disassociate from the fibers, and free radicals create an unstable environment. The result is a bleaching effect in your fibers.
Many furniture items contain plastic parts. Plastics don't like the photodegradation process either. In this case, the process not only causes discoloration, it also results in a breakdown of the structure. Therefore, plastics can become brittle.
Have you ever found a piece of driftwood on the beach? Typically, the wood is faded and brittle. All the above forces work to weaken the wood in your furniture. Staining the piece slows down the process, but it doesn't halt the fading entirely.
How UV Rays Damages Your Artwork
UV light is bad for photography and other artwork as well. However, the processes that leads to the damage is different than for textiles.
One way sunlight damages paintings is through the process of photolysis. Similarly to photodegradation, the UV rays break the chemical bonds of the color molecules within the painting. When these bonds are broken, the color molecules fade away from each other. What you see is a fading or discoloration of the paint.
Certain media are more susceptible to the damage than others. For example, watercolors, inks, and pastels are especially susceptible to fading. Oil paint, on the other hand, is more susceptible to discoloration. Naturally, neither of these reactions is ideal for your artwork.
Photolysis is also the process that causes your wall paint to fade.
The process of photo-oxidation is what causes your pictures to fade or become brittle and yellow. With this process, the UV rays introduce photons at the molecular level. The photons excite the color molecules, which allows oxygen to penetrate. This photoexcitation results in a breakdown of both the color and structural bonds, causing the above damage.
Photodegradation, photolysis, and photo-oxidation are also the processes that affect books. While you might not care if your summer read gets damaged, you will want to protect any rare or otherwise collectible books. Otherwise, you can end up with bleached, discolored paper in a brittle, discolored cover.
Save your Stuff from UV Damage
Photodegradation, photolysis, and photo-oxidation are big words for complex chemical processes. However, besides damaging your stuff, these processes all have one thing in common — they originate from the presence of UV rays. Therefore, the goal must be to reduce the amount of UV rays that enter your home.
One of the best ways to protect your property is to install UV-blocking films on your windows. These films are clear, so you don't sacrifice the view or the entrance of sunlight into your home. However, manufacturers add UV inhibitors to the film at the molecular level so they both absorb and block these harmful rays — thus protecting your belongings.
Don't let complex chemical processes caused by UV radiation ruin your home furnishings. Contact Sunblockers Window Tinting about having UV-blocking films applied to your windows.