Elements That Cause Damage to Framed Pictures

We frame pictures and artwork to showcase and enjoy them. We carefully choose the picture frame style to complement the photo – antique picture frames for black and white or sepia-toned shots, contemporary picture frames for modern ones. The picture frames also serve to protect the framed items. You may have used acid-free materials that prevent acid burn and discoloration on the photo or artwork. However, there are still some things that can cause serious damage to the picture frame and its contents.

To lengthen the lifespan of your framed keepsakes, here are some of the things to avoid:

Poor hanging techniques or materials. The weight of the picture frame may not be properly supported by its hanging hardware. Or, one may have improperly installed the hanging hardware, rendering the frame vulnerable to falls. A fall can cause the glazing to break, and the glass shards can also scratch and cause tears to the photo or artwork that has been framed. When hanging your picture frames, check that the hanging hardware’s capacity is more than the overall weight of the picture frame. You may not notice, but if you take everything together, the frame, its glazing, backing and matting, as well as the photo, the overall weight may be considerably heavier than you expected. If you are using a vintage picture frame with wide moldings, this can result in a much heavier package. Also, consider using acrylic glazing, which is lighter and is shatter proof.

Moisture. The frame does not need to get wet for its contents to be damaged. The condensation that can collect on the inside can be enough to cause some irreparable damage. This condensation can soften the paper and, if the glazing and the photo are close together, the photo can stick to the glazing. Mold and mildew can also form, which can be almost impossible to remove. Keep the frames away from areas that are exposed to extreme heat or cold, since this can be how condensation can from on the glazing. Also, use matting or plastic spacers to keep a space between the glazing and the photo. This allows for any condensation to dry out. Also, avoid using spray cleaners and spraying this directly to the frame. Instead, wet a piece of cloth and use it to wipe the frame.

Air pollution. Airborne dust and grime can make its way into the frame and cause damage. In addition, the paper used for the photo may also be guilty of its own form of air pollution by giving off harmful gasses on the inside of the frame. To prevent long-term damage, give your picture frame a regular cleaning. Also, when you are doing some repainting, remove all picture frames and allow the paint to cure for at least two weeks before putting the picture frames back. When storing your picture frames, wrap them first in soft cloth or bubble wrap to prevent scratches.

Insects. Do you know that paper and glue are actually yummy vittles for some bugs? The backing and paper sealing tape can tempt insects such as silverfish to snack on your picture frames. If they make their way into the inside, they can also start munching on the photo paper, causing stains and holes. To prevent this, make sure that your picture frame is well-assembled, with no cracks or openings that insects can get into. Regularly check your picture frames to see if insects have already started their work.

Direct sunlight. Do not hang the picture frames in an area where it can be regularly exposed to direct sunlight. The UV rays of the sun can inflict damage, in the same way that it can damage your skin. Fit your picture frame with UV protective glazing and hang them at an angle from the windows so that the sun’s rays do not hit the frames directly.

12th Dec 2016 Eric Morgan

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