Mirror Image Graphite Gallery

capturing life in pencil


Types and Quality of Mats

Posted by graphitegallery on January 12, 2013 at 9:55 AM

Various types and qualities of mat board used in picture framing.

 The purpose of mat board is to provide a decorative enhancement, as well as an airspace between the glass and the artwork. The airspace is important to retard mold growth.



Mat board comes in a variety of types, serving different functions. Mat board can be strictly decorative but eventually damage the artwork: be decorative and not damage the artwork: and to actually absorb free radicals and help to preserve the artwork.

 There are many companies that make mat board. Two of the more common companies are Crescent and Bainbridge. Visit them for more complete information on the products they make.

 Non-conservation grade is as it sounds. It leaves the factory ph-neutral but almost immediately begins to decay. Acids and off-gasing from this type of matting will cause yellowing in both the matting as well as whatever it is framed with. I have not used this type of mat board in my gallery for over 10 years. Not only for the above reasons, but also because it fades and yellows quite quickly. The way I see it, if you are spending money to frame it, you want it to look the same for a few years at least.

 White Core Mat These have (and maintain) the very white core of the acid free archival matting, but are neither acid free nor archival. Not to be used on anything of value. Again not a mat board type I use.

 Alpha Cellulose Made from wood pulp and has additives which make it acid free. These boards remain archival and can be used to frame anything.

 100% Cotton Rag Made from cotton pulp. Is the highest level of quality for Museum Mounting of original work and fine art photography.

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