What a nuisance! The one thing that makes it possible for us to enjoy art unfortunately also contributes more than any single other factor to destroying it. Yes, if you can see a picture/object, chances are that it is being damaged by UV light. Just as we get sunburnt on a beach in Summer, our art does too by exposure to UV light.
Luckily, the sunblock that protects our skin on the beach is also available for glass, and it is perfectly clear! Wouldn’t be much good if it was like Zinc Cream!
There are essentially only two types of glass available, in three finishes. The types are;
- Regular (blocks between 45% and 70% of damaging UV light)
- UV Block (blocks 99% of damaging UV light).
The three finishes that are available are
- Clear (Has reflection)
- Anti-Reflective (Super clear and almost no reflection)
- Diffused (Hazy in appearance)
As with your skin and sunblock, it is better to consider how much UV gets through, rather than how much is blocked. With a UV-Blocking glass, <1% gets through. With the very best standard glass >30% gets through. It is at least 30 times worse for your art!
For those of you that wear glasses, your optometrist may have offered you coated lenses for an additional charge (~$50?). This coating is the same as that used on our anti-reflective glass, and $50 will buy you an enormous amount of it compared to the two small pieces that protect your eyes.
Glass is one of the greatest variables in the cost of having framing done. While there is a significant difference in the cost of UV-Blocking glass and Regular glass, the overall impact on the price of your framed piece is typically less than 20% depending on choice of finish. We regularly quote on different options so that you can choose both a look and price that you feel is great value.
The best framing glass is from TruVue in America, and Matisse Framing exclusively use TruVue glazing products in all our framing. They provide us with technical data sheets, which are available to you, and explain reflection, light transmission, UV protection and many other facets for each type of glass we use.
If you are shopping around, please be aware that the vast majority of glass used in custom framing businesses in Australia is imported from China, and it has no technical data available. Hopefully interestingly, TruVue specify their glass at 25% thicker than the Chinese glass, offering superior physical protection as well as UV protection.