The QUALITY CONDITION CHECK (QCC)
It's a good idea to periodically review your valuable framed art to ensure that it is in good condition.
Over the years, new methods and materials have been developed and much has been learned about the best ways to preserve art. If you have fine art or family heirlooms that were framed five or more years ago, you may want to take advantage of our free Quality Condition Check service.
This is a non-invasive evaluation of the materials and methods used in framing the piece. If you have just one or two pieces, we invite you to bring them to our shop for evaluation. If you have larger pieces or more than can be brought in, please call us and arrange for a free on-site evaluation.
Here are some things you should look for: Check the visible edges of mat windows. If they have turned a tan color, then the mats are probably not acid-free. The acids left in the mat during its production are most likely leaching into your artwork and degrading it. This will eventually show up as a brownish discoloration of the art paper along the mat edge. Brownish spots on the paper similar to freckles are called foxing and are a type of mildew.
Another source of damage could be acidic backing boards. In the past it was common to use brown corrugated cardboard and even thin wood panels as backing boards. Over time these will cause serious damage to anything they touch. If your art is valuable, we recommend you consult a conservator. Many of the discolorations can be cleaned or at least lightened. The least that should happen is that the offending materials be replaced with acid-free mats and backing boards.
Glass is tougher to judge, but if it is regular glass and not conservation quality, then ultra-violet light from exposure to the sun, fluorescent, or other bright lights will equally cause the work to fade. This usually happens so gradually that we don’t notice until we open the frame package and can see parts of the art that were covered by the mat, or the edges of the mat that were under the lip of the frame. Also, the art should not be in direct contact with the glass. If you open up the frame and discover that a photo is sticking to the glass, do not try to remove it!
The frame itself, if made of wood, can also leach acids into an art work if the art touches unsealed wood.
Torn or missing backing paper exposes your art to dust, moisture, or insect damage.
Other things to consider include: Are the corners of the frame solidly joined? Is the hanging hardware loose? Is the wire frayed or rusted? Are there bumpers on the bottom corners to allow air to circulate behind the frame?
A few minutes spent now to check the condition of your valuable art will ensure it stays safe and beautiful for many years. Bring it to us or we'll come to you.
Caring For Your Art