Plexiglass vs. Glass in Custom Framing

Plexiglass vs. Glass in Custom Framing

There will come a time when anyone will be facing the tough decision of what material to choose for framing: plexiglass, or regular glass.

Both materials have their pros and cons and people typically have very different opinions when it comes to the type of framing materials to use.

The standard for quite some time however is museum glass, as it provides the most clear and uninhibited viewing of the framed artwork. Plexiglass has come a long way since it was used for the first time, and now tends to be the industry standard.

Glass Pros

Regular glass is a solid, brittle substance, typically transparent made by fusing sand, soda and lime and cooling rapidly. Clear glass was traditionally used in the framing industry.

  • provides a clear view of the artwork underneath
  • UV-filtering options easily attainable
  • less expensive
  • scratch resistant (standard uncoated glass)
  • less static charge
  • will not bow
  • no protective covering to remove

Glass Cons

  • heavy and easily breakable
  • not optically pure, as the iron content of standard glass creates a green tint

As a conclusion, if you like the weight and traditional finish that comes with regular glass, glaze which is also less affected by abrasive chemicals then the glass is the right option for your framing project.

Plexiglass Pros

Plexiglass (Polymethyl methacrylate) is a form of plastic, a clear sheet of acrylic actually. As technology advanced it started to be used more often in the framing industry. Plexiglass offers the benefits that glass already provided to the framing industry, adding extras such as UV protection, increased clarity and a lighter weighted finish.

  • provides all of the benefits of museum glass
  • anti-reflective surface can filter 50-75% of UV rays
  • anti-static and scratch resistant
  • light and virtually impossible to break
  • better thermal insulator

Plexiglass Cons

  • quite expensive
  • technically a polymer, which means it requires petroleum for its production (however it takes a very, very long time to see the negative effect on the artwork)
  • although it is scratch resistant, it is much easier to scratch than ordinary glass
  • it is susceptible to bowing, especially if it comes in large sheets, which can bend or bow depending on the thickness, humidity and temperature
  • must be stored properly
  • susceptible to higher levels of static charge
  • should not be used to frame chalk pastels

A few things you need to consider when choosing the type of glazing for your framing project:

Where are you going to display the framed item or artwork?

If you wish to display the framed art or object in a public area, you need to consider the risk to the public and opt for a form of acrylic glazing to minimize the risk of harm to the public. If your framed item is going to be displayed in an area where children will be around, then acrylic is the safest option due to its shatter resistance.

The value of the artwork you are framing

The glazing you choose adds to the level of protection. If you opt for plexiglass, you will have anti-glare and UV protection that adds a higher level of protection to the framed item.

The size of the artwork or object you wish to be framed

The larger the artwork, the heavier the frame will be with glass and it may require professional hanging to ensure that is firmly anchored to the wall.

With all these information in mind, you’ll be able to determine which type of glazing is best for the purpose of the frame you choose. The best option, if you want quality and secure framing, is to ask the help of an experienced framer.

Contact Us for Custom Framing in San Diego County!

At Sean’s Framing we offer our customers a variety of choices and options so that they can find the perfect framing solution. Please call us first at 619.246.7547 to set up a meeting and discuss the details of your custom framing project.

Meet Sean and Deb

We handle large orders and offer on-site planning and consultations in San Diego County.

We meet you at your facility or office and bring samples and help with planning recommendations for placement of the frames.

We make all frames right in our custom framing shop located in San Marcos, CA.


Are you an interior designer?

Give us a call: 619.246.7547