Hardwood Floors experience natural color changes and a process known as photo-aging over time, as can be observed in domestic natural cherry furniture and cabinetry. While photo-aging naturally occurs with all hardwood flooring, the most dramatic changes occur in naturally finished exotic hardwoods in which the original color is darker and more colorful than domestic oaks, ash, and maple. Brazilian Cherry (or Jatoba), as an example, is one of the most recognizable and widely used exotic hardwoods currently used for fine flooring, and will change in color and richness from the original unexposed salmon color to a darker, richer, reddish-brown color after exposed to light.
The color change occurs in several days when exposed to direct sunlight. In indirect sunlight, Brazilian Cherry will age slowly over several months, with most noticeable changes occurring within 3 months. As furniture and rugs are moved, the flooring will exhibit changes in color intensity from lighter (in less exposed areas) to darker (in more exposed areas). The lighter areas will become darker and blend naturally with the previously more exposed areas over a period of time, depending on the level of light exposure, when left exposed with the rest of the floor. The change in color will begin within days and will become undetectable usually after one to three months. Water based wood finishes used on most factory prefinished flooring remain clear and tend to slow the color change while oil based finishes amber with age and enhance color changes. Hardwoods that have been previously stained or toned will exhibit less dramatic changes in color and could change reversely from darker to lighter in some instances.