It may not be something that some framers want to admit, but there are times when conservation framing and materials just aren’t needed. Inexpensive digital prints, temporary displays, and items used for fashionable, short-term décor may not require the top tier of protection and can be framed adequately with basic materials like regular glass. But, what makes your regular glass just so regular?
You may know it by a number of names – regular glass, standard glass, framing glass, or float glass – but your run-of- the-mill 2.5mm glass is still a go-to for many framers due of its cost-efficiency and ease of use. Regular glass is the most basic glazing option. It can be easily recognized by its slight green tone that is a result of the iron-oxide in the glass’ soda-lime base. The iron-oxide is not removed to keep costs reasonable and to offer an entry-level glazing option. But, the green hue of regular glass is still easy to work with and not a major detriment for most trained framers.
A small glass sample when selecting matboard can always help you negotiate any colour changes that will occur. Beyond acting as physical protection for your artwork, and despite its name, there are reasons that regular glass is still a viable glazing option for many artworks. While it is not typically treated to offer UV filtration, the physical properties of any glass will block a percentage of UV light.
Regular glass offers 45% protection against harmful UV rays, All other foamboard products at regular price which is far from conservation standards, but still offers some protection for your artwork. If higher UV filtration is required, you should opt for a specialty-coated glass instead.
Regular glass transmits approximately 90% of all light through the glass, so it appears quite clear, but 8% of that light is reflected back to your eye, causing a sparkle, reflection, or glare. It’s easy to see regular glass as a fairly basic product, because it is just that. It’s a framing staple that is still a component that many framers and customers rely on. There will always be items to be framed that don’t need the upsell of a specialty glass, and customers who simply don’t want to pay for a higher-end product.
% of light passing
% of light reflected
% of UV rays
blocked by glass
Museum Glass Transmission
% of light passing through glass 90% 97%
Reflection % of light reflected 8% 1% UV Protection