Moving and handling
Tears, holes, scratches and dents are most likely to happen when your painting is off the wall. If you plan ahead when moving paintings, these damages can usually be avoided. For example, plan a move by making sure you have somewhere to put your painting before you move it; ideally when off the wall, paintings should rest face out against a clear wall on a padded surface, away from doorways, furniture and passing people. Always make sure your hands are very clean and dry before moving a painting and make sure the painting is securely fitted into the frame. When carrying your painting, have it facing towards your body and use both hands, one to hold the edge and the other to support it from beneath. Paintings with glass or ornate frames can be heavy, assess whether you need two people before embarking on the move.
Hanging your painting
Think about the positioning of your painting in relation to accidental damage from knocking.
• Avoid hanging close to shelves, furniture or where people can knock it.
• Avoid hanging behind doors, or in busy corridors where the painting may easily be damaged.

The following points are worth considering when hanging your paintings if you want to take steps to ensure the best possible environmental conditions.
• Try to avoid hanging over direct heat or moisture sources, for example, right over fires, radiators, heaters, and hot water or central heating pipes; in bathrooms, kitchens or around swimming pools.
• Avoid hanging over or next to outdoor vents, or on damp walls.
• Avoid hanging in rooms that are well heated in the winter (paintings on wood are the most vulnerable).
• Picture lights attached to or near to the top of a painting can get hot and lead to localized heating. It is best to take advice on lighting.
• Bear in mind that paintings will build up dirt more quickly in rooms with an open fire or where people smoke.
Paintings can be damaged in many ways. The canvas might be torn or punctured, or may have split at the edges. The painting might have developed sagging canvas, bulges or dents. If on panel rather than canvas, you may see splits, warps and cracks in the wood; the wood will also be susceptible to insect damage (e.g. wood worm). Even if the underlying material appears sound, you may find that the image itself has areas of cracked, loose or flaking paint, lost paint, or fading. It may have yellow/brown varnish, dirt and dust, whitening, mould or mildew on the surface. Additionally the frame may be in poor condition which places the painting at risk of physical damage. If you think your painting has a problem or you want to find out more about its condition, contact a paintings conservator. Save any pieces that have fallen off, however small and keep them safely in a bag or envelope as they can nearly always be put back on.