DIY Mirror Install – Cut Out For It? (Part 2)

Mastic Is A Must

Using mechanic fasteners alone isn’t going to cut it from a safety standpoint. You’ll need to also apply mirror mastic to the wall behind the mirror. We have customers come in all the time wanting to only use clips, so they can remove the mirror to make painting easier down the road. Bad idea – this is not safety glass! If the mirror should break for whatever reason (and there are times you don’t even see a crack that has formed), you could have enormous glass shards falling down on you. There are countless stories of people being killed or maimed this way. While I’m addressing it, as tempting as it might be when you have this other stuff lying around, don’t use silicone, double-face tape, construction glue, or anything else besides mirror mastic. So, don’t cut corners – use the proper adhesive. This stuff is specially formulated to safely hold the mirror in place and won’t eat the backing off the mirror, like other adhesives. On the flip side, don’t think you can only use mastic. It can take up to a week or more to fully set up, so you need the mechanic fasteners to keep it in place until it’s 100 percent cured and secure.

Transporting

Due to the size of most bathroom mirrors, transporting a custom cut mirror to your house is one of the biggest challenges for people who would consider doing their own install. If you have a truck or a trailer, you might be able to lay the mirror down flat. Mirrors purchased at a glass shop are typically wrapped to protect from scratching. To further protect from the mirror along the edges and corners (where it is most vulnerable to breakage), wrap a comforter from the bottom up around the sides. You may need to lean the mirror if there isn’t enough room for it to fit flat against the bed of your pickup. This is a risky way to transport it. If it’s your only option, make sure you have reinforced it from the bottom so there isn’t any give in the middle of the mirror. Also, and this is kind of a no-brainer, but so often not considered, make room in your vehicle for the mirror! You’d be amazed how often this is overlooked. Take out the stroller, the miter saw, the lawn chair, etc., and get your mirror home undamaged.

You’ve got your mirror home, your hardware and mastic are up, what’s next? When moving your mirror inside, look out for tricky corners, low door frames, and other potential impediments. Get your rubber gloves on with good grip. There’s nothing worse than feeling like a heavy mirror is slowly slipping out of your hands! If it’s a big mirror, I like to find a resting point to set it down before the final move into the bathroom. This gives you time to once more assess the bathroom for problem areas along the vanity – towel bars, outlet plates, etc. When you set it down momentarily, take care not to put it on a hard surface, like tile, that would likely damage the mirror. Put down cardboard or wood if there is no “mirror-friendly” surface to be found. Never try to set a large mirror by yourself. In fact, as a non-professional, you’re better off having someone take the other end of the mirror no matter the size.

Setting Your Mirror

Now comes the tricky part. You’ll have to maneuver the mirror around the impediments on the wall and remain aware of the faucet that is often sticking up higher than the back of the vanity and any lights that are mounted above the mirror or on the side walls. If it doesn’t fit tight between walls, this requires much less planning and effort. Often, you’ll have to tip the mirror back towards you to get it over the faucet, then raise the top towards the wall once the bottom is in place. When the mirror is tight between walls, have one person get their end in the corner and then swing the other side in. If you try to go in together at the same time, you’ll end up ping-ponging off the walls until they’re both completely scuffed up. Another area for concern is globes or light bars that extend down below where the top of the mirror will end up. In this case you’ll tip the mirror back towards you as before to get past the faucet, but instead of going down into the clips you’ll drop the mirror down behind the mirror while tipping the top back up, so you can raise the mirror up behind the lights then finally back down into the clips. Not an easy dance. Not to mention, you need to be super careful not to bump the edge of the mirror on the vanity or any other hard surface that could cause a crack in the mirror.

I hope this post gives you comprehensive understanding of what a DIY mirror install can take. If you’re project sounds relatively easy, I say go for it, but if it sounds like one of the more difficult installs I described, you might be better off paying the extra money to let a professional worry about it.