It may come as a surprise to many that not all glass is created equally. Between choosing the right mats, frames or fillets, glass can often be an afterthought when envisioning your final product proudly hanging in your home. The truth is, it’s important to choose the right glass to get the full benefit of your framed art. Hearing about all of the different types can seem confusing, but there are a few facts to keep in mind when selecting the right glass for your project.
Regular, conservation, reflection control, conservation reflection control, museum and AR glass are the most common glass choices. There is also plexi glass, which has its own variations and benefits/cons for larger pieces. Regular glass does not offer UV protection or any type of anti-reflection. It is simply a clear glazing that can be a good choice for framing things where fading is less of a concern. In our shop we most often use conservation glass. This option has the same clear and crisp appearance as regular glass but it blocks 99.9% of UV rays, which will cause art to fade over time. We most often recommend this because it is not much different in price from regular glass but adds an extra layer of protection, particularly if the art will be in bright, direct light for much of the day. However, conservation glass does not minimize any reflections.
If reflections are a concern, reflection control can be an option. Both regular glass and conservation glass can be combined with reflection control. This type of glass has a matte/frosted finish that diminishes the effects of light due to its less reflective surface. This glass can have its drawbacks in certain situations. It does not appear as crisp and clear, and if the art is not fairly close to the surface of the glass the image can appear fuzzy.
AR glass, or reflection free glass, can be a good investment if you really want your image to be detailed and unhindered by reflections. AR glass transmits light in a way that enhances colors and contrast, but it only blocks up to 78% of UV rays. For the ultimate protection AND clarity, museum glass is the right choice. This glass offers the same reflection free look with 99% UV protection. This would be a great choice for a piece that has monetary or strong sentimental value and a lot of detail. It is also great to reduce the reflections and help minimize the “fuzzy” look that can happen when objects are sitting further away from the glass, such as in shadow boxes.
Whatever the project, there is a glass that will work for you. And of course, if you ever have any doubts or questions about which glass will be the best choice, we at Athens Art and Frame are happy to assist you!