Mirrors in the Home and How to Hang Them

Thoughtful use of mirrors can add new dimensions to small spaces and lighten dull areas in the home. At one time, regarded largely as looking glasses, high-quality mirrors are now recognised as important in decorative schemes.

There are various types of conventional mirror, mirror tiles and light-weight mirrors with many home applications.

The best-quality mirror is made of float glass covered with silver coating to give a true reflection. Before coating, the glass is selected to make sure it is flawless.

The surface is washed to remove any contamination. To prevent tarnishing, it is coated with a layer of copper and several layers of water-resistant paint and resin, before silvering.

Reflective quality depends, to a certain extent, on the quality of the mirror. A mirror used to lighten or create a feeling of space need not have such highly reflective qualities as a mirror, for example, in a bathroom, where its use is functional as well as decorative.

Float glass gives the highest-quality reflection but, used in large areas, can be costly. The standard thickness of float glass used in mirrors is 6mm, though mirrors of 3mm and 4mm are available. Float glass is also fragile and should only be used where it can be fixed securely.

Fixing Mirrors

There are five ways of fixing mirrors:

• Hanging;

• With screws and plugs;

• With mirror clips or corner screws and wall plugs;

• On narrow ledges or aluminium angled brackets;

• With self-adhesive pads (used only for light-weight mirrors or mirror tiles).

The traditional hanging mirror is drilled to or fixed with clips to a timber backing, usually suspended by chains from a No. 8 chrome-headed screw (31mm/ 38mm). This is fixed into the wall or hung by a picture hook on a picture rail.

Though satisfactory when hung this way, mirrors look best when mounted flat to a surface, as this avoids the demarcation line between the mirror edge and the wall and gives a better reflection.

Heavier glass should be mounted directly on the wall. If the wall surface is smooth, direct fixing is quite easy. On a bumpy, irregular wall, mount the mirror on a piece of 19mm blockboard, which should be sealed on both sides and along the edges to prevent warping.

When fixing mirrors to walls it is important to leave a small gap, of around 3mm, to allow free circulation of air. This is important in areas of high condensation such as bathrooms and kitchens. The space can be achieved by using nylon washers on the fixing screws.

A laminated lead backing provides added protection, though a coat of varnish helps. Nylon sleeves, spacers and so on are desirable on all fixings, as rubber and some plastics may react chemically with the mirror finish, causing damage to the surface.

Mirror screws can be used to fix small and medium-sized mirrors. A mirror bigger than l.22mm x 910mm is too heavy for screws, as weight and stress may cause cracking at the corners.

Mirrors may be supplied with pre-drilled holes and suitable chrome-headed mirror screws and caps. The screw heads have counter-sunk screw holes. The mirror can be drilled with a spear-point drill.

With ordinary screws, use a screw with a slightly rounded top and a nylon mirror washer.

Plug the wall to take the fixing screw. If the hole is drilled slightly larger than the shank of the screw, but not its head, there is no need to countersink the hole.

When fixed, the screw head will partly sink into the hole and the chrome head will cover the rest of the projection.

Screw holes at each corner should not be less than 25mm from the edge of the mirror. On larger mirrors, screws are needed at 300mm intervals along each side. Small mirrors may only need two fixing points.

Small mirrors of 3mm or 4mm glass may be fixed on a flat, non-porous surface with self-adhesive pads. Large, heavy mirrors can be fixed by using plugs, screws, washers, clips or mirror corners.

Mirror corners, plated to match the mirror, are used to support the corners and are screwed through two eyelets into a wall plug.

To fit these, place one at each corner of the mirror and mark the position of the eyelet holes on the wall.

The corner is then screwed into position in the wall plug. In this system, the screw heads show.

Mirror clips have the advantage of fixings that are concealed behind the mirror. These clips hook round the edge of the mirror. A round clip is used at the bottom to hold the mirror rigidly and prevent it from slipping. The top clip has a long slot to allow for adjustment of the mirror.

To fix, offer the mirror to the wall.

Draw round it to mark the position it will occupy and plug and screw the non-sliding bottom clips. These should be set at 300mm intervals along the length of the mirror. The part that clips round the mirror should be level with the pencil mark. Fix the top clip so that, at its fullest extension, the hook at the front of the clip just touches the pencil line.

A mirror longer than 600mm should be secured with side clips of the type used at the top of the mirror. Rest the mirror in the bottom clips and then press it against the wall, hooking the top and side clips over the glass.

Clips or corners can be used for large mirrors. If the mirror is quite large and heavy, a system of mirror corners and fixing clips might be used along the bottom of the mirror. The disadvantage of this is that the arrangement may look ugly.

The weight of 6mm float glass is about 4.50kg/m2. A mirror of 300mm2 requires two fixing points; a l.5m2 mirror needs four fixing points.

A really heavy mirror is best fitted on a narrow ledge. The base can be supported by a j-shaped strip of aluminium fixed with plugs and ‘invisible’ fixing screws.

These fixing techniques are used on solid walls, brick, concrete, building blocks and so on. If the masonry is crumbly use a plastic plugging material. Similar techniques are used on solid doors and heavy wood partitions, but in this case, plugging is not necessary.

Fixing on hollow walls follows the same methods as for solid walls, except that toggle-bolts or other fixings are used. The mirror is still attached with screws, mirror corners or clips.

Mirrors are fixed on hollow doors and flush doors using techniques as for hollow walls.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Mirrors in the Home and How to Hang Them

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