For my printing and framing business I often get asked for a mountboard that has a white edge rather than a brown edge so I thought I would write a small post discussing the basic difference between Whitecore and Creamcore mountboards.

A mount, sometimes referred to as a mat in some countries, serves a crucial dual purpose. Firstly, it acts as a protective barrier, preventing artwork from making direct contact with the glass within a picture frame. Secondly, it offers a decorative element, enhancing the overall presentation. However, its primary function is safeguarding artwork from potential harm. Glass can accumulate condensation, and if it comes into contact with the artwork, moisture absorption, cockling, and mold growth can occur.

Mountboards can vary between manufacturers, but most typically offer several grades. Cream core board is the most cost-effective option and usually considerably cheaper than conservation whitecore boards. The term “cream” denotes the central portion of the board, which may not necessarily appear cream-colored when cut, it’s usually white. Over time, the bevel, even if initially white or pale ivory, tends to discolour and take on a creamy brown hue. This transformation usually transpires after a year or two. Additionally, this type of board may contain impurities that can lead to acid damage to the artwork, as the acid within the board can leach out and harm the artwork.


2015-1920Above is an image I recently had in for reframing. The bevel from the creamcore had turned brown and the images was full of dust under the glass. The customer informed me the image was purchased from a photographer only three years ago at considerable cost.

Whitecore board closely resembles creamcore, but stands apart by having the lignin removed, ensuring that the core remains white and retains its pristine appearance. However, it’s important to note that this type of board can still pose a risk to artwork and does not meet conservation standards. Conservation Whitecore mountboard, on the other hand, contains no recycled pulp. The lignin is entirely eliminated, preserving the core’s whiteness, and it is complemented by conservation-grade backing and facing papers.
Most of the ready made frames purchased off the shelf will usually contain mounts cut with creamcore mountboard. For me as a photographer and as a framer it’s an easy choice, I would always use a conservation whitecore board or Acid Free Whitecore board as I want my images to still look good in years to come. Even if I was using ready made frames I would still replace the mounts to conservation whitecore ones. As a photographer it’s amazing how many customers will suddenly return for another order years after purchasing an initial image or as a result of someone seeing an image framed elsewhere, whether at a friends house or displayed in a Hotel or office etc and I know if the frame or mount is not at it’s best this would no longer be the case. Good quality artwork is framed on a wall is fantastic advertising for futures business and representing the quality of your goods.