What Mount Board Is and How To Use It

Written by Mark Rogers

As artists and photographers, we bring our own brand of beauty into the world through our creations. Sometimes, however, we pour less passion into mounting those creations. But consider this: the right mounting materials can help you safely display and even preserve your art for the next generation and beyond.

What is Mount Board?

Mount board. Mounting board. Backing board. Foamboard. Foamcore.

Those are a lot of aliases to keep up with! They all mean essentially the same thing. For the purposes of this article, we’ll stick with “mount board.”

What is Mount Board Used For?

Mount board is used to support and protect framed artwork by providing a rigid, sturdy backing that keeps photos and art from moving or warping in the frame. With some exceptions for special conservation mounting and float mounting, mount board is almost always the actual back of the frame.

(As opposed to mat board, which sits on top of the artwork and features a mat window opening to display the artwork beneath it. See this article for details on the differences between mount board and mat board.) An integral part of the picture-framing process, mount board is also used for presentations and other display purposes. 

What Are Mount Boards Made of?

A mount board is generally made of foam — often polystyrene — with a smooth, sometimes paper-based face on either side. Most mount board is offered in white, but Frame Destination also carries black mount board for a sleek look. However, cheap off-the-shelf frames will use cardboard or even poster board instead of mount board.

Mount Board Sizes

Mount board is most commonly available in 3/16” or 1/8” thicknesses. Though Frame Destination offers both at the same price, we often recommend the 3/16” board unless the picture frame’s rabbet can’t accommodate it. (The rabbet is the recessed area within a frame which cradles the mount board, mat board, and glazing.) A 3/16” mount board is also less likely to warp, lending additional stability for larger frames.

If you sell your matted artwork in art shows, you may prefer 1/8” mount board. Because they take up less space, 1/8” mount boards fit more art into display bins and are easier to transport to and from shows.

Archival vs. Non-Archival Mount Board

Some mount board is considered “archival” or “conservation quality” — meaning it helps prevent the artwork from degrading. If you want to preserve valuable art and photographs, the best option is archival acid-free mount board because it actively protects against airborne pollutants and reduces the chance of yellowing and fading. 

If you are not concerned with preserving your work and just need a temporary framing solution, presentation, or craft option, you may wish to choose the more cost-effective, non-archival regular mount board which comes in a 1/8” thickness or a slightly thicker 3/16” version.

Highlights of Our Collection

Frame Destination has an ample selection of mount board, including archival (acid-free) and non-archival (regular) boards. Here are a few options you can choose from on our website.

  • Acid Free 3/16 Foam BoardAligning with Library of Congress standards, this antique-white mount board’s facing paper is buffered with calcium carbonate to a pH between 7.7 and 8.5 to protect both the mount board and the image from deterioration.
  • 2-Ply AlphaRag Pure White – This thin 1/32” mount board is made of 100% cotton and can be cut to custom sizes. The acid-free, conservation quality is recommended for original art. (Note: The slim nature of the 2-ply AlphaRag would not be used as the actual back of the frame as it would be too flimsy.)
  • Black Artcare Foam 3/16 – Boasting a chic, modern look, this archival mount board is thick yet lightweight. The acid-free construction is great for conservation art mounting and framing. 
  • Encore® Repositionable Pressure Sensitive Board – A flexible option for DIY mounting, the pH neutral adhesive allows you to adjust, remove, or reapply the image to assure accurate placement. Ideal for mounting posters, inexpensive prints, and laminated materials. 
  • Encore® Permanent Pressure Sensitive Board – One side of this board features a coating that eliminates the need for messy glues and sprays. It’s specially formulated to handle hard-to-hold items like heavy posters, large maps, and architectural drawings. 

Click here to see all our mount board options.

All the Extras You Need

From hinging tape and tissue to leather paper weights, Frame Destination equips you with all the materials you need to mount your photos and art for framing, scrapbooking, or other craft projects. Visit our Mounting Supplies page to see the whole selection.

If you go to our site and choose Customize a Frame, you’ll be walked through the process of choosing a frame, a mat board, glazing, mount board, and anything else you might need as part of your framing package. Our customer service team is also available to help you from start to finish via email (sales@framedestination.com), phone (972-479-1188) or live chat on our website as you're building.

Let us know your thoughts on this article in the comments below. Thanks, and happy mounting!

Last Updated Jul 12, 2022