Glass vs Acrylic/Plexi
Designers have many factors to consider when choosing a glazing option for picture framing. Do I use glass or acrylic when designing a hotel project? The thought process is different and can be approached from many directions.
At first thought acrylic, unlike glass, is not prone to damage often caused in shipping. Damaged product can create delays in the completion of projects and at a minimum cause some rooms to be unsellable. The key, which is more prevalent amongst North American providers, is better packaging. As of the date of writing this article our company has yet to have a framed picture or mirror damaged in shipping.
There are many negatives that are not often part of the decision process. Acrylic can be easily damage in the unpacking or installation process; scratches and rub marks can occur. After installation the product can be easily damaged by guests. It also creates additional expense for the Hotelier as cleaning is a multistep process which requires the use of product specific chemicals and wipes.
The second thought is that glass is heavy and is more expensive to ship. Shipping costs can vary but most carriers charge by a cubic space measurement with a weight cap. Knowledgeable wholesale framers that provide hotel art will try to maximize the load to space ratio. The result is shipping framed art with acrylic can cost the same as hotel art framed with glass.
The final thought is did the designer choose the right gage of acrylic; to thin and it flexes or distorts and to thick is waste. It could also increase the depth of frame rabbet requiring a second additional cost. Glass is typically 3 mil in domestic production although it can be as little as 2 mil in offshore goods. Glass gives a crisp undistorted image with a minimal thickness.
In summation both glazing options have a place but for guest rooms glass is generally the best choice. It is both scratch resistant and easily maintained. When installed properly with three point security hangers and/or a Zee bar glass will seldom be broken during the life of the installation.