Does your bathroom need a facelift? Ditch the outdated, builder-grade wall mirror for something new and modern. These mirrors are common in many homes, especially older ones, and are typically stuck on with adhesive. Fear not – you can easily and safely swap out the old mirror for a sleek new one. Get ready to add some stylish flair with a brand spankin’ new look for your bathroom.
When we moved into our home almost 13 years ago the bathroom mirrors were already installed. They were the original ones that came with the house and instead of being hung from the wall with clips they were permanently attached with some sort of adhesive.
I was completely rehauling this bathroom overs several months and I had the perfect new mirror picked out, but first one huge obstacle stood in my way – that massive glass sheet attached firmly to the wall. Let me tell you, taking something like this down is no easy feat. The thought of tackling it filled me with a mix of terror and excitement; thankfully all went smoothly once I knew the best way to handle it.
Safety tips for removing a wall mirror
Maintaining a safe environment while taking down your bathroom mirror is essential. Make sure you’re properly protected by wearing long sleeves and thick leather gloves, protecting those peepers with some safety goggles. Lay it on the line—literally–with a drop cloth to catch any pieces of glass that may go flying. Most importantly, don’t tackle this project alone – make sure you’ve recruited an able-bodied assistant for assistance. These mirrors are heavy and its nice to have an extra hand or two. With these precautions in place and exercising common sense (and caution!), removing mirrors will be just another check on your home improvement list.
- Heat gun/hair dryer
- Duct tape
- Piano or guitar wire
- Wood shims
- Drop cloth
If your mirror also has mirror clips you will have to unscrew them before you can remove the mirror from the wall.
Before you begin
Before you start prying, test the adhesive’s strength by giving it a tug. If that doesn’t do the trick, break out your heat gun or hair dryer and try to melt away any glue between the wall and glass. Just crank up those bad boys on their hottest setting for about 3-4 minutes before attempting to remove again.
Put duct tape on the mirror
Apply duct over the mirror in a cross-cross pattern. This will help keep the mirror together if it shatters. This is an important step that you don’t want to skip.
Next, use a guitar or piano string and grasp it in each hand. Slide it behind the mirror and move it back and forth in a sawing motion to try to cut through the adhesive. This worked to help loosen the mirror but I still had to pry the mirror off.
If the piano or guitar string doesn’t work use a crowbar and try to pry the mirror up by the sides. Use wood shims to stick behind the mirror to help pry it up. I just used the end of my hammer and it worked fine but a crow bar and shims would have been easier.
Pop the mirror off
While one person holds steady, pry away at different sections until the mirror pops free from its decades-long entrapment. Cover the mirror with a drop cloth then go smashing with safety goggles on for maximum protection against any rogue shards flying around. In mere moments that ancient relic will be gone forever and off to the landfill.
After all the big shards have been cleaned up, vacuum the entire area. Use a flashlight and shine it around to look for more little pieces you may have missed. The light will reflect on the tiny pieces of glass, making them easier to find.
Make sure you tackle the sticky hardware residue hiding behind it with a little heat. A hairdryer or a heat gun can help soften up adhesive and glue, then use a putty knife for an easy wall scrub-down.
Time needed: 1 hour.
- Prep the bathroom
Put on safety goggles, long thick sleeves and pants. Wear thick leather gloves and put down drop cloths to catch shards of glass.
- Heat the glass
Use a heat gun or hair dryer and blast the mirror to melt the adhesive that is holding the mirror to the wall.
- Put tape on the mirror
Put strips of duct tape all over the mirror like in the photos above. This will hold the glass together as it comes off the wall.
- Pry the mirror off the wall
Slide a guitar string behind the glass and use a “sawing” motion to cut through the adhesive and separate the mirror from the wall.
- Use force if needed
You may need a crow bar to help pull the mirror off. Careful not to cut yourself as pieces of the mirror come off.
- Clean up the mess
Collect the large shards of glass in the thick drop cloth to dispose of. Vacuum smaller pieces of glass and when you think you are done, vacuum again!
Now you’re ready to fix up any damage to the wall, paint and hang a new mirror.
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