Imagine watching a piece of your art collection come crashing to the ground.
Professional Art Hanger and Storage Specialist Isaac Karner tells the story of a client calling him, frantic, over a shattered antique mirror. “It was strung on a wire,” he said, “that’s not the right hanging system for something that big and heavy.” The mirror was hanging above an antique piece of furniture, which was also ruined when the mirror fell. There is a lot to consider when it comes to caring for your artwork at home. You likely bought your pieces with a clear vision, yet bring it home and see that you didn’t consider the space, weight, and support to install it right away.
Prevent Art From Slipping Off the Wall & Consider Every Time You Move a Piece of Artwork!
If you are bringing a new piece home, or you’re worried that your current collection is not hanging securely, or—the biggest project of them all—you’re moving, the following list outlines ways to protect your art at home:
1. Hire a Professional Art Hanger
Professional art hangers are skilled in how to best support and hang art with the right materials. “It’s a combination of what’s on the back of the art and what we are putting on the wall,” Karner explains, “we go by weight and we know what [hardware] is going to work.” Professional art hangers work with a multitude of hardware and have a system based on weight and size to hang your pieces. If having the peace of mind that your art is securely hung on the wall is worth it to you, we would suggest hiring a professional.
2. Hang Art Out of the Way of Doors and Ventilation
When planning your art display, assume it’s a beautiful day with your doors and windows open. If a breeze or sudden summer rain could come in through a screened door and damage your piece, it’s a good idea to brainstorm alternate locations. You also want to keep artwork out of direct draft from your ventilation system.
3. Place Art Out of Direct Sunlight
Light damage is irreversible to your artwork. Curtains and shades will protect your valuables from light damage, but we know that there needs to be another solution. You shouldn’t have to keep your blinds closed and deprive yourself of sunlight because you’re a conscious collector. For those that like to let the natural light in, consider a translucent protective film for your windows and skylights. “We try to be conscious of how much light the artwork will be getting,” Karner says, “and suggest better placement.” Companies like Vista WindowfilmVista Windowfilm specialize in clear window protections that block against UV light and heat. You can also protect your art from sunlight with specialty glass in the frame.
4. Frame Everything
Framing your art collection is an investment. In addition to choosing a frame that complements the overall style of the piece, you want to choose the right glass to protect it from the elements. Here are the most common options:
- Non-Glare Glass and Regular Glass – These are the materials mainly used on frames you will find at the craft and hardware store. These options provide half to zero protection against UV rays.
- Plexiglass – A lighter weight glass, plexiglass protects against about 60% of UV rays.
- Museum Glass – This is the most effective glass to protect your art. While also the most expensive, it allows less than 1% light reflection and blocks 99% of damaging UV rays. “We always recommend museum glass to protect the artwork,” Karner confirms.
5. Keep Your Home Around 70 Degrees
The ideal temperature to store artwork is 65 to 75 degrees. Be conscious of this when you’re travelling and leaving your home vacant. If the temperature at home is going to rise to 90 degrees while you’re out town, consider leaving the central air on during your trip.
6. Rotate Your Art Display
By moving your art display you are intrinsically more aware of the state of your collection. You can make sure the frames and backings are in good condition and double check that the art is hung with the best support available. This will also keep your senses fresh when it comes to understanding and adding to your collection.
7. Install & Maintain Smoke Detectors
Make sure smoke detectors are installed 100 feet from all art in the home. Be cognisant of whether you have a heat detector or smoke detector. Heat detectors are commonly installed in homes because they protect from fire, but they do not protect from cooled smoke entering your home from a distant fire. Be sure that your home’s fire protection is a smoke detector opposed to a heat detector.
Extra advices on how to be careful
Don’t ever hang valuable art over a fireplace. Keeping it directly above a fireplace invites smoke and heat damage. Also if you need to store your collection, be extra smart and thoughtful about it. First of all, prepare an environment that suits the condition of the artworks. The right storage room will make a huge difference! Avoid attics or basements unless they are finished and have climate control and be sure there are no air vents or open windows. Furthermore, you must archive your collection before you pack it up. It’s necessary if you want to protect yourself against damage or loss. So ensure correct documentation and provide any changes in the art or storage space over time.
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This article has been edited by The Art Dose.