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Preventing LEGO sunlight damage


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#1 yanathin

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 08:29 PM

Is there any type of special window film out there that anybody has used that can prevent UV rays from fading LEGO bricks? I'm about to move my modular building set near a window (my current spot is now too small) and I'm worried that all of that extra sunlight will discolor the bricks. I immediately thought some type of window film would do the trick, but I'm entirely sure which type would be best. Is it just UV rays that discolor plastic or is it also visible sunlight? I'd love to not have to actually tint the windows and just block the UV, but I'm not sure how that works. I'd welcome anybody else's ideas, too!

#2 Phrea

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:20 PM

Yes, there is.  

As it happens to be, I need a 100% UV blocker because of an autoimmune disease I have.  
This filter is quite expensive tho, depending on the amount of windows you want to cover.  

From what I know, there are loads of cheap filters that will filter out 99% of UV-B [the one you want], but I don't know how effective they are compared to the 100% ones.  

Do a Google search on UV[-B] filters, and see what you can come up with.  

More info: they are stickers that you have to apply yourself, or have somebody apply them for you.

Edited by Phrea, 03 March 2012 - 10:22 PM.


#3 yanathin

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:00 AM

View PostPhrea, on 03 March 2012 - 10:20 PM, said:

Yes, there is.  

As it happens to be, I need a 100% UV blocker because of an autoimmune disease I have.  
This filter is quite expensive tho, depending on the amount of windows you want to cover.  

From what I know, there are loads of cheap filters that will filter out 99% of UV-B [the one you want], but I don't know how effective they are compared to the 100% ones.  

Do a Google search on UV[-B] filters, and see what you can come up with.  

More info: they are stickers that you have to apply yourself, or have somebody apply them for you.

Thanks for the info! I did some research and it said something about glass blocking UV-B, but not UV-A. Maybe that's the one I need. Either way, I'm sure some type of UV-blocking window film will help stop LEGO bricks from fading.

#4 Phrea

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 03:34 AM

As far as I know, normal glass will already filter UV-A, but not UV-B.

Edited by Phrea, 04 March 2012 - 03:35 AM.


#5 brickmack

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 04:45 AM

View PostPhrea, on 03 March 2012 - 10:20 PM, said:

From what I know, there are loads of cheap filters that will filter out 99% of UV-B [the one you want], but I don't know how effective they are compared to the 100% ones.
If I were to guess, probably about 99% as effective...

View PostPhrea, on 04 March 2012 - 03:34 AM, said:

As far as I know, normal glass will already filter UV-A, but not UV-B.
Yea that's true from what I've read. Most UVA is blocked but there is little effect on UVB by normal windows.

#6 danim

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 03:37 PM

or you could do what I do
because I have a lot of die cast and plastic models as well as Lego they are all susceptible to sun damage so I never open my curtains or very rarely
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#7 fred67

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 06:48 AM

I want to know what they do at LEGOland parks.

#8 Echo

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 10:29 PM

I'm more than a little afraid to display my LEGO. For starters, my shelf space is considerably more limited than it was back when I was a kid, but the main reason is that I'm afraid of sun damage. My room has three windows in it, so it is impossible to avoid direct sunlight in any part of it. Anyone else have this problem?
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#9 Legocrazy81

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:02 AM

They do make blinds for windows ya know. :tongue:

That certainly is a problem. I have the same issue, to a degree. There's a good sized bay window where I have some displayed, I just keep the blinds closed. Sure, the room isn't as bright, but I know my LEGO aren't going to be damaged in the long run.
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#10 shadowhearth

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 12:16 AM

And I though it will be a thread about being afraid of people judgement :D

My models in my man cave, which barely gets any sun light at all! My 3 PC screens don't like sunlight :D. So lego does not suffer too. I got blinds up in the room 24/7. It's not like we getup sunlight in Ireland anyway.

OP, why not to put a shelf in t the part of room, which gets the least punt of direct sunlight or just get blinds?

#11 JopieK

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 01:17 AM

I always protect it agains the sun, we have sun protection at the windows of our attick always closed. But I think heat is more problematic than UV.

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#12 L@go

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 02:07 PM

I have been told, by people who should know what they're talking about, that you can protect your LEGO pieces against sunlight as much as you want, but it won't necessarily help against discolouring. Apparently the plastic needs a day/night cycle to stay fresh.

How well the pieces keep their colour also depends on what batch they originally came from. Two days ago I dug out some old pieces for a set from my childhood - there was a white pair of car doors in there, and I know for a fact that they're from the same set, and they've been kept together at all time since the set was new more than 30 years ago - yet one is white and the other looks much more like tan. This is probably because they were molded from plastic from different sources, that have stood the test of time differently.

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#13 Crownie

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

I have yet to display any of my LEGO, partially for this reason. The thing I worry about more though is dust. I keep looking at display cases or bookshelves I could turn into display cases (not living near an Ikea really sucks...), but I haven't found anything that works for me yet. My plan for the time being is to store sets that I build (carefully wrapped, of course) in large plastic shipping containers until I have a place to put them.

It seems a bit neurotic (and probably is) though I find it reduces my anxiety regarding the whole thing a bit. If LEGO wasn't so expensive and only manufactured for limited amounts of time, I probably wouldn't be nearly as concerned. I suppose you could say I deserve it for having material things hold such an important place in my life...

Sheesh. :hmpf:

Edited by Crownie, 01 January 2013 - 04:45 PM.


#14 Phrea

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:31 PM

Completely paranoid.  
Every set I have, I build, will display for maybe a few days sometimes hours, then they get disassembled and put into either containers that can close tight, or in ziploc bags. I do the same with all my manuals.
Then I put them in a closet which closes really well, so all will 'keep fresh' if you will.

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#15 Brickington

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:33 PM

Blinds is my answer. :wink:

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#16 dr_spock

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 05:52 PM

I have a 7710 push train and 6382 fire station on display for nearly 30 years.   They have been exposed to sunlight and lots of dust.   That was before I joined Eurobricks and read about UV light and ABS plastic. Now I have them away from direct sunlight

This is what the sets are like today.  The red, blue, yellow, black seem to be ok.  The old gray looks faded.  The white seems to be mixed, some yellowed and some stayed white.  Some of the transclear are not as transclear.  They seem to be ones I left greasy fingerprints on.   I notice that the tires on the fire trucks seems to have dissolved an imprint into the base plate.  I probably should have moved the trucks around instead of letting them stayed in the same spot for years on end.

I might as well leave them out to enjoy them.   I figure when I die, my estate will probably sell them off as no one else in the family appears to be an AFOL.

#17 Legocrazy81

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 06:36 PM

View PostCrownie, on 01 January 2013 - 04:44 PM, said:

I have yet to display any of my LEGO, partially for this reason. The thing I worry about more though is dust. I keep looking at display cases or bookshelves I could turn into display cases (not living near an Ikea really sucks...), but I haven't found anything that works for me yet. My plan for the time being is to store sets that I build (carefully wrapped, of course) in large plastic shipping containers until I have a place to put them.

It seems a bit neurotic (and probably is) though I find it reduces my anxiety regarding the whole thing a bit. If LEGO wasn't so expensive and only manufactured for limited amounts of time, I probably wouldn't be nearly as concerned. I suppose you could say I deserve it for having material things hold such an important place in my life...

Sheesh. :hmpf:

What you can do is get normal bookcases,measure the front and get plexiglass and some clamps that you can still remove when needed and secure the plexiglass to the front of the bookcases.
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#18 Modulex Guy

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 07:08 PM

To everyone afraid of sun damage, A good solution is to tint your windows. It doesn't cost that much to do it yourself and if you get film that has UV block, it should help quite a bit.
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#19 Hrw-Amen

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 09:41 PM

For small items there is a quite easy fix. For example my collectable mini-figs I have made little display cases for. Each series has its own and the cost is minimal. What I have done is bought one of those A4 clip frames that you get to put certificates in. Then bought a bag of small tack and some picture frame hangers. Bought a strip of wood 2m long and about 6cm wide and 1cm thick. At this thickness it is easy to cut just with a craft knife. I have essentially cout the wood to the size of the wooden back plate to the certificate holder. Then bent out the picture frame hangers and nailed then so that they hold the glass on the front. Then you have a nice dust free case to hang on the wall that does not stick out much and you can keep your CSM in them on display. I have made a few wider ones for slightly bigger things like my wife's friends stuff. If I get the chance i'll photograph them.

Obviously that does not solve the issue of larger sets, but i have no room to display many of them anyway. I'd like to but unfortunately  there is no space so they get carefully put into boxes and stored away for when I want them. As it happens the boxes that LEGO use the ship stuff in are really nice and usually big enough to get several large sets in to store in the attic. I wish I had more room to put some out but I just do not. If i did though I guess I'd keep them out of direct sunlight.

As for heat, although it is not that hot, I do have a section of railway track that is ballasted running around the back of our chairs in the living room. (It is the only bit of rail I can keep up.) It is out of the way and a real pain to get to when I want to set the trains up a loop on special occasions. Anyway the point being that this runs right under the radiator in the living room. It has been there for about a year without any detriment to being next to a heater that is on and off all the time. I guess it is within about 15cm to 20cm away from the rdiator? It has not shown any warping or other damage, although admittedly it is only heat as out of the sunlight.

#20 ZO6

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Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:53 PM

As Polish Guy mentioned, you can buy rolls of UV blocking film and apply it to any windows in your room.  These are rated at around 90% + effective against UV rays.  You still get sunlight through your windows, but you're significantly more protected from the various rays that discolour your Lego.  

But it all comes down to how well you want to protect your sets, and how easily you want to be able to access them.  Having a room dedicated (at least mostly) to Lego is good as you can block off or treat windows, cover up vents so that dust doesn't get blown into the room, and close the door and turn off the lights whenever you don't need to be in there.  Having Lego in bedrooms and living rooms is the worst, as that's where the most dust builds up from people being/passing through.  If your Lego is in an area like that, consider investing in shelving or display cases with glass doors.  This allows you to see all the sets while providing protection from dust.

Just keep in mind that dust can be cleaned off, while discolouration from air and light is nearly irreversible.  It's my philosophy that Lego should be looked at and played with, so I have all my Lego built and on display in a room with UV resistant film on the windows, and the sets themselves are all in cases with glass doors to protect from dust.  I can access the sets easily, but they're pretty well protected too.

#21 Paul B

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 04:46 AM

I have my Technic on display but where it is located means it does not get direct sunlight.  I don't see any point having Lego if you can't display it...

#22 LEGO Guy Bri

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:31 AM

UVA/UVB Sunblock SPF30...

That window tinting isn't a bad idea. Right now, I don't worry about sun. The room my sets are in doesn't have any windows. I was always battling dust. Does anyone use compact air purifiers in their home?   :classic:
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#23 TheLegoDr

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 09:40 PM

I don't think there is much merit to UV damage personally. There are a lot of other factors at play when looking at plastic. All of my bricks from my childhood were in totes away from the sun for 15 years and all of the whites/light grays were discolored, but the megablocks mixed in were still brilliantly white. I'd say it is the type of plastic used and maybe heat (or heat/cold cycles) that damage it more. With that said, all of my stuff is displayed out in the open free to gather dust or UV damage. I may purchase some type of plastic/glass screen to protect them, but I don't know yet.
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#24 Jargo

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Posted 02 January 2013 - 10:44 PM

I live in the north of the UK and we don't get sunshine :laugh: Seriously though I have a Venetian blind and lined curtains over my bedroom window. I very rarely open them. Mostly because I live in a very narrow street and the houses opposite are way too close for comfort. :hmpf_bad: Also because I have toys on display shelves and want to minimise light damage. Plus I like a cocoon/womb like room to sleep in. :look:

One of the things we shouldn't underestimate is the damage the oils in our skin can do to plastics. Particularly when it comes to yellowing. An occasional nice wash with some sort of domestic oxy action fabric whitening solution like 'Vanish' keeps bricks nice and fresh and clean.

#25 ZO6

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 02:42 AM

View PostTheLegoDr, on 02 January 2013 - 09:40 PM, said:

I don't think there is much merit to UV damage personally. There are a lot of other factors at play when looking at plastic. All of my bricks from my childhood were in totes away from the sun for 15 years and all of the whites/light grays were discolored, but the megablocks mixed in were still brilliantly white. I'd say it is the type of plastic used and maybe heat (or heat/cold cycles) that damage it more. With that said, all of my stuff is displayed out in the open free to gather dust or UV damage. I may purchase some type of plastic/glass screen to protect them, but I don't know yet.

Light definitely does play a factor, though there are so many variables at work.  I have a lot of old sets with white parts that got yellowed.  With these sets in particular, it was only the sides of the bricks facing the light that got discoloured.  This was the case for about 90% of my sets that got discoloured.  

With the other 10%, parts became discoloured whether they were directly facing the sun or not.  And even with those sets, the pieces of the same colour must have come from different batches as some of the parts were discoloured, and some weren't.

All I know for certain is that within the past 10ish years (ever since I seriously starting trying to protect my Lego), I haven't had any more problems with discolouration.



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