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Handyman: Lessen impact of sun’s UV rays on your home

Glenn Haege
Special to The Detroit News

The sun is often the topic of conversation in southeast Michigan, in part because we only have 180 days per year of sunny days on average. And while the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can help improve our mood, help plants and grass grow and even give us a dose of vitamin D, there are plenty of negative affects as well.

Your home is susceptible to the positive and negative aspects of UV rays. In the winter, those rays can help make your home feel warmer and melt snow and ice. But in the summer, UV rays can damage your home, both inside and out.

Inside, UV rays coming in through windows can cause furniture, carpet and wood floors to fade. And in the summer, those rays can also make some rooms so hot they are unbearable, especially those that are facing west in the afternoon.

Those UV rays can cause your deck, doors, siding and roof shingles to fade over time, and in extreme heat situations even cause your vinyl or aluminum siding to buckle.

Of course, those rays beating down on your house and coming through your windows in the summer can also be a major contributor to increasing the temperature inside your home.

That’s why you need to take preventive measures to keep those UV rays from causing you more work and to lessen the amount of impact they have on your air conditioning bill and indoor comfort.

Prevent, repair exterior sun damage

If you have a wood deck that gets excessive exposure to the sun, make sure you use a stain that has added pigments that provide better UV protection, such as Benjamin Moore’s Arbor Coat waterborne stain,, along with an exterior stain protective clear coat, Penofin Penetrating Oil Finish,, or Sikkens Cetol SRD,

Those harsh UV rays can also cause your vinyl or aluminum siding to fade over time. If you want to replace the siding, remember that lighter colors reflect the sun better and fade less. Also, companies like CertainTeed ( warrants its vinyl siding products against excess fade beyond normal weathering.

You can also paint your faded siding, but I recommend using today’s higher-quality exterior paints that are also more fade resistant, such as Benjamin Moore’s Aura, Pittsburgh Paint’s Sun Proof,, and Emerald from Sherwin Williams,

If you have a wood or fiberglass front door that needs refinishing due to excessive sun exposure, you will have to remove the old stain using a product like BIX Varnish and Stain Remover, Then use Cetol Door and Window stain products by Sikkens. For a fiberglass door, after stripping, I recommend using the Therma-Tru fiberglass door stain kit, Then use a good spar varnish on a new or refinished wood or fiberglass door to protect it from the sun’s harsh rays.

Cut sun’s impact on interior

Consider see-through solar shades. Solar shades come in both interior and exterior applications, and can decrease the heat energy coming into the home. Locally, solar shades are available at Marygrove Awning, (734) 422-7110,

There’s also window film. Locally, Michigan Glass Coatings, (800) 999-8468,, is a distributor and installer of 3M’s Prestige line of window films. According to 3M, the Prestige line can block as much as 99.9 percent of UV rays.

For more home improvement advice, call “The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sunday. “The Handyman Show” can also be heard on more than 135 radio stations nationwide.