Here at A&K Wilson Gallery Picture Framing Studio we believe it is important to advise our clients on the best choice of glass for their artwork.
All light sources emit harmful UV light rays. Sunlight and indoor lighting, such as fluorescent and tungsten, contain different amounts of UV energy that can cause irreversible damage to artwork. Colours may fade and shift and the materials that make up the piece may become brittle.
In terms of appearance there are only 3 kinds of picture glass:
• Standard clear glass (glossy) • Diffused-reflection glass (matt) • Low reflectance glass (almost invisible)
After you’ve decided which of these you’d like its easy because they all come in glass or plastic versions and all three can be bought with or without UV filtering. Easy.
However for the scientifically minded amongst you here's a little more detail and our menu of ‘good’ ‘better’ and ‘best’ glass options.
Top Quality 2mm Float Glass: keenly priced and great for general work, but can be quite reflective (glossy) and has a slight green cast. Ever popular and still used for the majority of our framing.
Diffused Reflection Glass: ‘matt’ often called ‘non-reflective’, is a glass which is acid etched on one side to give a non glare, diffused finish. It isn't suitable for deep box framing or multi layered mounts over 3mm. Useful where bad glare and harsh lighting conditions are a problem.
Anti-Reflective Glass: Tru Vue Water White AR Reflection-Free® glass offers amazing clarity, but does not provide Conservation Grade UV Protection. It allows over 97% light transmission and reduces reflections to less than 1%. Deeply framed artwork, such as multiple-mount and box frames, require reflection-free viewing. Tru Vue meets this need using a manufacturing process called 'magnetron sputtering'. This advanced technology deposits precisely controlled layers of highly energized metal oxides onto an Extra Clear lower iron substrate. The result is consistent, durable quality and the most attractive display for artwork. Provides the highest brightness and contrast levels available. Good in the controlled lighting conditions for which it is intended, but where bad glare and harsh lighting is the problem it’s better to use diffused reflection glass.
Conservation Clear: Float Glass (glossy) with Conservation Grade UV Protection Conservation Clear® picture framing glass offers the highest level of UV protection. Over time exposure to indoor and outdoor UV light rays can contribute to fading and deterioration of art, photographs and other important personal keepsakes. Conservation Clear glass effectively blocks up to 99% of UV light rays to protect against fading and help keep framed pieces brighter, longer. Use where reflection free viewing is not essential.
Anti-Reflective AND Conservation Grade UV Protection: Museum Glass® anti-reflection picture framing glass with Conservation Grade UV Protection is the best glazing option available for art, photographs and other important personal keepsakes. Along with its nearly invisible finish, it effectively blocks up to 99% of harmful indoor and outdoor UV light rays so framed pieces remain clearer and brighter for longer. Less than 1% light reflection, this is the lowest possible reflection rating available with UV protection. Optical coating gives optical clarity for true colour transmission and the greatest colour neutrality. Finally Over 97% light transmission provides the highest brightness and contrast levels available.
Acrylic & Styrene Plastic Glazing: Clear cast acrylic is a good quality, lightweight and shatter-resistant glazing material. Ideal for larger frames or where safety is a consideration. Styrene is useful for smaller jobs, but can have issues of static and scratching.