The main damage to fine artworks caused by framing techniques, is due to the use of materials that contain acid, which over time can discolour, bleach and eat into artworks. Unfortunately many common picture framers use inferior mats (the card which often has a window cut to cover the artwork and the backing boards), and hinges (the tapes and adhesives used to attach the artworks into their frames) which are almost impossible to detect once the frame is assembled.
To make matters worse, there are a range of mat board products that are marketed as ³acid-free², which are not to conservation, archival or museum standard. These products are wood pulp based and their acid levels are countered by calcium carbonate which does not offer long term guaranteed protection. One should always demand 100% cotton rag mat, made from cotton pulp which is 99% cellulose, and free from lignin and other non- cellulose contaminates found in wood pulp.
Another major problem caused by common framers, is the use of irreversible hinging. The fact that many of these materials are also acidic intensifies the degenerative nature of these methods. Even though some of these products are acid-free, the fact that the adhesives are permanent, goes against the principal that all framing of artworks should be reversible, to allow the removal of the artwork from its mounting for cleaning, repair or storage.
It is worth noting that the most common environmental damage caused to artworks, particularly works on paper, is caused by the works being displayed under strong lights or in direct sun light. This leads to bleaching of pigments and discolouration of papers. If strong light can not be avoided Doggett Conservation Framing is able to use U.V protecting glass or acrylic.
The use of non-conservation quality materials is for convenience and cost cutting, which is ridiculous when often the cost difference of materials is insignificant, and the long term damage caused irreparable. Whether you buy artworks for pleasure or investment, they are not worth framing if they are not framed to conservation standard.