How Does Sunlight Ruin Wood Surfaces?

Unfortunately, wood is also a highly delicate material. Why, then, are so many buildings constructed out of wood? Why are wooden surfaces like decks left exposed? If moisture, sunlight, and mold can ruin wood, why is it all over your home?

The answer is that there are solutions for protecting this beautiful building material without having to cover up its natural handsomeness and homey appeal. In particular, professional deck staining not only protects, but heightens, the beautiful character of all kinds of wood–from walnut to pine and so many others–on features like wooden decks, staircases, and railings. Most importantly, staining also helps prevent sun damage from permanently ruining wood.

That’s right; sunlight, that ever-present and vital energy, is particularly damaging to wood. Why is it so bad, though? Trees love the sun when they are alive; why are planks of wood so averse to natural light? Below are some helpful and detailed answers that will help you understand the dangers of sunlight and the saving power of a good wood stain.

Dead Wood

The most important reason that sunlight is bad for building wood is that it is essentially the dead remains of organic–or living–matter. This means that the process of photosynthesis, whereby plants absorb sunlight and use it to produce life-sustaining nutrients, has ended. Think of photosynthesis as a plant’s digestive system; it consumes energy from natural sources (the sun) and distributes it to the necessary parts (the stem, branches, leaves, and roots) to enable growth, assure health, and maintain life. Once this process has ended, there are absolutely no benefits of sunlight to wood.

Instead, sunlight will assist with the decomposition process. As the owner of a beautiful wooden deck, this is the last thing you will want to happen.

Sunlight Hurts

Just as sunlight is damaging to your skin if you are overexposed to it, sunlight can be damaging to wood. Most wooden decks, as it turns out, are exposed to the sun almost all day! Think of what this would do to your skin.

The truth is that sunlight is a source of energy for all living beings in the world but is destructive to all building materials, including plastics, textiles, wood, and paint. It causes fading, chipping, cracking, softness, melting, warping, and adhesion.

Why It’s Destructive

A major component of sunlight is ultraviolet light, or UV rays. UV light is damaging to materials like wood because it directly targets the lignin in wood, a chemical component of most plants that allows for structure and health on a cellular level. It is a building block of plant tissue. When these components break down, so will the wood itself. When this happens, the effects listed above will begin to show.

How Staining Helps

Staining is a protective barrier for wood. It performs a similar function to sunscreen on your skin. Wood stains are chemically formulated to absorb the harmful effects of sunlight and essentially prevent UV rays from reaching the wood itself and breaking down the lignin inside. This is why staining wood is so important for maintaining wooden structures like decks and railings for years to come.

Luckily, wood stains are also beautiful. They enhance the natural character, hues, and grain in the wood so that it looks fresh for many years. If you own a wooden deck or are interested in installing one of these multi-functional and valuable features to your home, be sure to find experts that perform thorough and beautiful deck staining. You can consider your options, such as different styles and shades of stain, for the effect you want to create and maintain for a long, long time.

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