Is a barrier board necessary?

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Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby Mr.Framey » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:22 pm

On average, How long would you expect a picture to last if it were just framed against MDF with no barrier board? I know it'd vary depending on conditions of where the artwork was hung, but does anyone know roughly?

Would using acid free tissue paper / paper behind the artwork give much protection? Or do you definatley need a barrier board?
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby David McCormack » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:07 pm

Depends on how you define the longevity of a picture? If the first signs of acid migration on the art are what you are talking about, then you could say not very long at all. But even after years of contact with mdf, art on paper will still be in one piece, and could even be rescued by a conservator.

Anyway, why put the art in contact with mdf?

Why even use mdf? That should kick off a debate? :giggle:

There are plenty of alternatives to mdf but your art should not be in contact with any of them. Am I right in thinking your art is attached to your window-mount on the back? The way that is considered to be best practice is to attach the art to an under-mount of the same quality as your window-mount. It would then be the under-mount that is in contact with you back-board thus forming a barrier.

To answer your first question I can't really say how long a picture would last in direct contact with mdf. But to answer your second question, yes you do need a barrier board, which as I say needs to be the same quality as your window-mount. Acid free tissue paper is really only good for interleaving prints in a portfolio box.

This diagram shows the anatomy of a frame with an under-mount. Usually the under-mount and window-mount are hinged together.
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby Steve N » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:32 pm

I agree with David, I just typed a long reply, then just proof reading it, touched a key on the keyboard and the lot disappeared :head: :head: ,I can't be bothered to re type it, which is the main reason not to use a barrier board

There are many more reason to use a barrier board than not to use one, then again I can't think of a legitimate reason for not using one, Ah just thought of one, if the 'artwork' is painted on the back of a corn flake packet, the 'artwork' will most probably decompose before any of the nasties in MDF can cause any harm to the 'artwork' :Slap: :lol:
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby Not your average framer » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:24 pm

The term barrier board is bit misleading, it is not a barrier except in a limited time sense. you need to be aware that over time acidic contamination will overcome the alkaline buffering if there is any and progressively turn a board which started out life in an alkaline state into an acidic state. However that is only part of the picture, as whatever you are using as a backing board, may be a greater, or lesser source of contamination which may be harmful to the artwork. This contamination may, or may not just be a matter of acidic contamination, but some backing boards may contain other damaging contaminates, such as formaldehide in the case of MDF.

It does not to be said that there are plenty of framers, who still Use MDF backing boards and even the Fine Art Trade Guild recognises the use of MDF. MDF is not only economical, but in some cases it is used for it's durability and stiffness as well. There are various ways the different framers use to protect customers artworks, or other items from contamination eminating from MDF backing boards. These include, but are not limited to, Alkaline buffered mountboard, aluminium foil, metalised plastic film, polyester film and even polyurethane varnish. I have carried out work on framed artworks, which had been framed many years ago using aluminium foil and can report that this method shows a striking difference between areas protected by the foil and areas not protected by the foil. I've never seen, or heard of anyone using the aluminium as a barrier, with placing an alkaline buffer piece of mountboard between the aluminium foil and the artwork.
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby prospero » Sat Jul 21, 2018 12:10 am

I second the previous comments... :D

Whatever techniques/materials you use the crucial (and often unconsidered) factor is the fabric of the artwork
itself. If that is full of nasty chemicals no amount of barriers is going to save it from the enemy within. :|

I frame a lot of oil paintings done on MDF panels. Many into the £1000+ bracket. Go figure. :roll:

MDF is a relatively new material so it's longevity is an unknown quantity. One thing it is vulnerable to is moisture.
FWIW I always use a polypropylene barrier inside an MDF back. But also use an card layer between this and the artwork.
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby odocat » Sat Jul 21, 2018 9:38 am

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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby Mr.Framey » Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:04 am

Thanks for all the help guys, appreciate it :D
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Re: Is a barrier board necessary?

Postby MikeSwannick » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:20 am

Ctrl + Z key = undo last action function in many Windows based programs. Might recover your accidentally deleted text (next time) if you use immediately after the error.
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