Glazing is one of the most important elements of your framing project. Your choice of glazing can help you display and preserve your art or memorabilia. Glazing usually refers to glass but acrylic is also an option, especially for larger projects. So what are your options?
Clear glass - This is usually your least expensive option, a clear piece of glass with very little UV-protective coating (35-45%) and no non-glare/anti-reflective qualities. If your project is decorative, temporary or easily replaceable then this glass would be fine. Colors will fade and paper may discolor. Reflections will be obvious, especially if the art being displayed is dark.
Non-glare or matte glass - This option still does not offer protection from UV light but will diffuse the glare of lights so that distinct reflected shapes and light do not distract from viewing the art. Non-glare glass is often not recommended if it will be lifted off the art by more than 2 mats as details of the framed piece will start to blur.
Conservation glass - This option provides 99% protection from UV light. I strongly recommend this glazing. It is very difficult to predict where a framed piece may end up. It may start off displayed in a deep dark hallway but end up front and center in a bright living room. Sunlight is not the most common source of destructive UV light, I have seen many things discolored or faded by fluorescent lights. If it is worth custom framing, consider that it is worth conservation glass. This option is reflective.
Conservation Non-glare - All the benefits of conservation glass and non-glare glass in one glazing. Since it still uses diffusion of light to reduce glare, the same concerns with blurriness should be considered when lifted off the art.
Museum glass - “I didn’t even realize there was glass there!” Museum glass provides 99% UV protection and has an anti-reflective coating. While it is not completely invisible it reduces reflection dramatically without diffusing the image. Dirt and fingerprints can be more visible on museum glass since the anti-reflective coating makes the glass surface almost invisible. Special care needs to be taken when handling and cleaning museum glass.
Acrylic - Framing grade acrylic is strong, clear and light weight making it ideal for larger projects. Acrylic is also shatter resistant so should be considered for projects that may travel or be displayed in high traffic areas. Acrylic scratches easily and can retain a static charge which may adversely affect some media, such as charcoal or pastel. Acrylic is available with and without non-glare, non-reflective, and UV-protective coatings.
With so many options available, come in and let's take a look at which one best fits your needs and your budget.