Glass Vs. Acrylic: Which Glazing Option is Best for Your Needs?

Pictures are worth more than a thousand words. It invites visitors to get a glimpse of your favorite captured moments, as well as your history. The pictures may be valuable heirlooms, photographs that are priceless because it can never be replaced when it is damaged. That is why choosing the right frame for your picture is important, not just for how the frame highlights the photo but also how it protects the photo from damage.

One component of a picture frame that offers protection is its glazing. This refers to the front cover of the frame, the part that lies on top of the picture and any matting boards selected. You will have two major options – glass and acrylic. These present their own advantages and disadvantages and you will have to weight this while considering your specific framing requirements.

Choosing Your Glazing

The choice of glazing will depend on the following:

  • -Size of the photo and frame. How big is the picture to be framed? What are the dimensions of the frame? How heavy is it?
  • -Location of the frame. Where will you hang the frame? Is it in a high traffic area and directly above a couch or bed? What kind of frame-hanging material will apply? Will the site for hanging the frame be temporary and will the frame be moved often? If you are hanging the frame in a wall that will only work with adhesive hooks, you need a lighter frame that will prevent the frame from falling because the hooks can no longer support the weight.
  • -Kind of item being mounted. Is the item to be framed valuable? Brittle, old and prone to damage? Or is it a printout of a digital photo where you keep the electronic file?

With these considerations in mind, we can now start weighing the factors regarding glass or acrylic glazing.

Cost. Glass is cheaper than acrylic and is readily available in various sizes.Acrylic is more expensive and can cost twice more than glass, depending on the options selected. The more features or options it has (i.e. UV filtration, anti-glare technology, abrasion resistance), the higher the cost.

Size of the frame. Glass is only applicable for small and medium-sized picture frames and display cases. If you need a larger frame, you will have to us acrylic since the sheer weight of the glass can be problematic for large frames.

Ordering and Transport. Since glass is more common for ready-made frames, there is virtually no lead times when ordering online. Meanwhile, acrylic is usually for custom-made frames which require a certain lead time before the frames are ready for delivery. Acrylic is easier to transport because it does not break easily and it lighter than glass. Glass runs the risk of breaking during transport and damaging the item being framed. Glass is also more expensive to ship because of its weight.

Durability. Acrylic is more durable in the sense that it is shatter resistant. However, you need special care and microfiber cleaning cloths in cleaning it because it is more prone to scratching. Glass is more durable in the sense that it is scratch and warp resistant. Acrylic, when used for large frames can bend or bow over time.

Archival characteristics. Bothglass and acrylic can be equipped with UV filtration or protection options. The UV protection prevents the light from outside to do damage on the item framed.

Clarity. Also referred to as optical pureness, this pertains to the clarity by which you can see through the glass and into the item being framed. Glass can be clear, depending on the type of glass. However, regular glass takes on a greenish hue while glass that is equipped with UV filters are more yellow-tinted. Acrylic provides more clarity especially when equipped with the non-glare option.

Safety. Because acrylic does not shatter easily, it is ideal for high-traffic areas (i.e. living room or recreational areas) as well as areas where there are children (i.e. the nursery or school rooms).

Hanging. Glass can be more difficult to hang on the wall because it is much heavier than acrylic. For large frames, you need to make sure that the framing hooks and materials are designed to withstand the total weight of the frame. With acrylic, the hassle is in the assembly since the material can produce static charge that attracts dust into the frame.

At Victorian Frame Company, you can avail of both glass and acrylic, depending on your requirements and budget. This can be used for a wide variety of frames including antique picture frames, as well as silver and gold picture frames.

21st Apr 2014 Eric Morgan

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