Save Your Existing Mirrors!
By Florence Segal
Most mirrors are manufactured to a thickness of 1/8” – 3/16” and ¼”.
To obtain the best quality of true undistorted reflections, always use ¼” thick mirrors. Using mirrors with thicknesses less than ¼”, particularly when affixed to a wall, will most certainly provide a distorted image as the wall is not perfectly flat. Additionally, as the adhesive dries out, it tends to draw the mirror towards the wall surface distorting the mirror even further. Therefore, it is recommended to use ¼ inch thickness.
Frameless mirrors must be suitably supported at the bottom with mechanically fastened wall retainers or they must sit on a rigid element that will support the base of the mirror.
There are two time-proven techniques for mounting a mirror: brackets and adhesion. With brackets, you have four or more metal units that clip onto the mirror and screw into the wall. The bracket method is popular because it's fast, easy to clean and reversible if you change your mind.
Adhesion: Adhesion requires a liquid glue you apply to the back of the mirror. When you place the mirror against the wall, it sticks. Adhesion works best in small places; however, it's more or less permanent and requires professional expertise to remove with minimum damage to the wall. Small repairs to the wall may also be necessary if a glued mirror is removed.
To hold a frameless mirror system in a vertical position, use either mechanically fastened wall retainer clips that are utilized at the top of the mirror or globs of a special petroleum based mirror adhesive that is applied to the wall. The mirror is then landed onto a cushioned base and then pressed into the multiple globs of this very slow drying adhesive. This pressure starts a suction action, which will hold the mirror into an acceptable vertical position without the need to apply clips at the top of the mirror. However, for security purposes, it is recommended that retaining clips be utilized. We recommend the metal Z type clips. There are two sizes, 1/8” and ¼” clips according to the size thickness of your mirror.
Toxic Chemicals in Mirrors
Most mirrors have toxic chemicals that make up the mirroring process. These include silver nitrate used for the reflective surface and red lead protective coatings with a painted seal coat used on the backing. While on the wall, these substances are contained and not harmful. Breaking up mirrors and disposing of them into landfills and the oceans release these toxic substances. However, mirrors can be made attractive without removing them from the wall.
If your mirror is scratched, try this do-it-yourself tip before calling a service professional: Rub a little toothpaste into the scratch. (Normally gel-type pastes are not as effective as regular pastes.) Polish with a soft cloth.
It is best to clean mirrors with a cleaner that does not contain ammonia. If you are not sure of the ingredients, spray the rag with cleaner so as to not get the liquid near the edge of mirror which is one of the reasons mirrors deteriorate. Another could be that the backing was not sealed properly and moisture is allowed in. Quit using ammonia-based cleaners on the mirrors. The ammonia gets behind the glass and starts to oxidize the silver finish. If you must use an ammonia-based cleaner, always spray in the middle of the mirror and avoid getting the edges wet with the cleaner.
Keeping mirrors fresh and attractive is very important. That is just about the first thing you look at when entering the bathroom area and the last thing before going to bed.
Think twice about disposing of existing plain or deteriorated mirrors. There are other options that are cost effective. MirrEdge is a do-it-yourself framing system or trim that can be installed around the perimeter of a mirror in minutes. The only tools needed are a razor knife and a measuring tape. The corner plates make installation virtually effortless